May 3, 2012
There was a bustle rarely found on campus as the crowd walked into Shriver Hall for the Egyptian Sun Hipocalypse belly dance show this Saturday.
There were children running around wearing coined hip scarves, parents taking out cameras, and excited spouses getting ready to see their loved ones dance. Throughout the show, a bazaar of sorts was set up, offering jewelry, hip scarves, henna tattoos.
A portion of the proceeds from the performance as well as individual audience contributions were donated to the Kennedy Krieger Institute. According to the Institute's web site, their aim is to help "children and adolescents with disorders of the brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal system achieve their potential" and participate as fully and safely as possible.
Egyptian Sun is a unique group at Hopkins, as participation is encouraged from the Baltimore community. Ouranitsa, who teaches and choreographs beginner and intermediate belly dancers, describes Egyptian Sun as "unique in that we are based at Johns Hopkins but do not restrict participation in the troupe to only Johns Hopkins students. In the past the troupe has included students ages 11 to 50 plus, women and men of different sizes, colors, walks of life, etc."
The dancers have been rehearsing and learning the dances since late January and early February. The dancers meet once a week for a one to two hour period, but as all performers know, the closer it gets to the show, the longer and more frequent the practices get.
The show was well worth all the practice; it was interactive from the start. In the beginning, a speaker came out to tell the audience that at belly dancing shows, one can show their appreciation by either hissing, a high trilling "la-la-la" or letting out a high-pitched yip. The audience then practiced and periodically during the show hissing, "la-la-la"ing and yipping would break out, making everyone smile.
The dancers were not shy and would walk right through the audience. The show started out with the dancers sashaying through the crowd and up onto the stage. The dancers would come out on stage in costumes ranging from hula skirts to fanned wing to long flowy skirts to a jeweled top with a sword on their heads.
One of the most entertaining parts of the show was their dance with swords. The dancers came out and started belly dancing, all the while keeping a sword balanced on their heads.
The show included a special guest performance by Bagoas, an award-winning male belly dancer.
His precision was notable; his stomach moved with the beat of the music and was something that many in the audience had never seen before. He was extremely friendly and interactive with the audience, winking and smiling and being altogether modest of his talent.
Senior Sarah Capponi commented that "the unique choreography and talent of all the performers, including the beginning and intermediate students, made the Hipocalypse such a fun show to watch."
At the end of the show, the entire audience was invited to go up onto the stage and dance. The dancers weaved through the crowd, coaxing some to get up and dance. It was obvious that for some of the little girls in hip scarves it had been their dream to dance alongside Egyptian Sun all night long.
The whole show had a very comfortable, homey feel, because the dancers' families were in attendance.
During intermission, the dancers were allowed to come out to say "hi" to their families and friends, and at the end of the show, there was a reception with dessert, drinks and Middle Eastern snacks.
Flowers were given, hugs received and hard work was rewarded. It was a fun show to watch, and the first belly dance show that many in the audience had ever seen.
It was definitely one to remember to go see next year.