Arts & Culture / Dance / Mosaic / November 2, 2011

Hipsters make classics modern in Hafla

Bursting onto the stage holding two silver wings, junior Kyla Tully’s electrifying performance opened the first of the Oriental Hipsters biannual Hafla.

The fall’s Hafla, the Arabic word for “party,” featured performances by Oriental Hipsters Bellydance Club classes and was choreographed by Tully.

Performing the “Iris Wings Dance,” Tully maneuvered with the wings as an extension of herself, twisting and twirling them while bellydancing. Choreographed to “River Energy Groove” by Clarence Joy, her dance to the techno/Arabic beats wowed the crowd by having full control of her body and wings while displaying a natural flourish.

During the performance of the Modern Egyptian class, who learned classical moves to contemporary/popular Arabic music, the large group of dancers shook their hips in time with the beats of the song. Junior Rana Tahir, teacher and vice president of Oriental Hipsters, said the dancers have been working on the performance all term.

“A few of them had some issues with getting on stage but by then on [at] the end of the term, I’m proud of them. Their self-esteem has gone up so incredibly and they mastered the choreography. I’m really proud. I really am so grateful for these girls,” Tahir said.

After one section of the piece in which Tahir led while the others followed her moves, the two lines broke and danced alongside each other in new lines, which was visually appealing. The dance ended with each member in a different position and pose.

Beginning as a bonding experience between a mother and her daughter, bellydancing is an old form of dance with which the Oriental Hipsters “focus on promoting healthy self-esteem and a positive image through dance,” according to the concert pamphlet.

“There’s no body type for belly dance. Some people like to joke that you need a belly to bellydance but it’s really any body type can do this type of dance. It helps you be comfortable with your body because when you look at yourself in the mirror and you see you’re doing these moves too, and nothing about you is inhibiting this — it’s freeing, liberating,” Tahir said.

The next two dances featured props with the “Veil Dance” and “Saidi Dance.” Dancing with a transparent red veil, Tully had a chance to show off her comical side as she used the veil to reveal her facial expressions slowly underneath. For the Saidi Dance, the only dance not choreographed by Tully, Tahir moved with a golden cane, letting it touch the ground with the beat and twirling it in circles.

“Because you’re practicing, you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and looking at your body and how you’re doing these moves, you come to accept it in life. I’ve had self-esteem issues in the past and I think belly dance really helped me with that,” Tahir said.

The class for Tribal Fusion, an American adaption of bellydance styles, moved perfectly synchronized to the beats of “Bounce” by Tarkan. For the finale, teachers joined the students in the performance.

“I’m really proud. I’m really happy about the turnout and I think we did a great job. Can’t wait for spring,” Tahir said.

Rana Tahir is a columnist for the Knox Student

Sheena Leano

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