After a successful return from the University of Warwick’s annual belly dance competition, with the Advanced group placing 2nd and Sarah Lowe’s solo also placing 2nd, Imperial College’s Belly Dancing Society presented their 10th annual showcase in Metric on 11th March.

The showcase presents both the traditional belly dance and tribal fusion. Classical belly dance is a traditional Middle Eastern dance form, where the dancer moves parts of the body, notably the hips and chest, independently in an elegant dance. Tribal fusion, on the other hand, is a mix of belly dance, hip hop, flamenco and Indian classical dance.

The showcase promised the chance for any of its members to perform in front of a live audience. Meaning for some, it was their first ever performance having only started learning the style from October! Alongside this there was the chance to see some fantastic professional guest bellydancers: Sureya, Curious Verses and Roxane Grant.

The show split in three acts, showcased the society members during the first two. As an audience member the joy and happiness of all the performers was infectious. Which meant, despite the odd mistake here and there, you found yourself beaming throughout.

Another real delight was seeing so much body positivity. No matter the shape or size everyone was out there performing for the love of the dance, oozing with confidence. The phrase “Shake what your mama gave ya” really springs to mind!

The beginners put on wonderful performances, showing that it is a style for anyone to learn. The more intricate advanced routines were also impressive.

A highlight of Act 2 was from Vellichor Fusion, a tribal group formed separately from the society. The choice of music, sharp movements and brilliantly choreographed group work (Charlotte Elizabeth); really blended the belly dance style with more modern hip hop styles. Another marvel was Andrea’s solo, which combined both traditional belly dance and hula hooping!

The student acts were closed with a rainbow of colour in the All Society Dance. Choreographed by Rani Mehta, this inclusive piece has sections for all while showcasing the mesmerising combinations of the more advanced dancers.

The professional guests were, as anticipated, outstanding. Sureya impressed with her double scimitar swords. How she managed to balance the swords on her head and still perform many isolations and move I will never know. Curious Verses marvelled with their somewhat ethereal tribal piece. Melding together some many impressive isolations. Grant was just simply the perfect end to the whole show. Her infectious smile lit up the audience as she wowed with her stunning intricate traditional belly performance.

The whole evening ran smoothly, thanks to the hard work from the committee and was overall a delight.

If you want to be involved in this friendly and welcoming society, beginners are always welcome. They run regular classes in Traditional Belly Dance and Tribal Fusion from October to March every year. During the summer term they also run some great one-off workshops. Contact them at bellydancing@imperial.ac.uk for more information!

-4.5 stars