Students shimmy for education

By Jodie Roush
Staff Writer

November 8, 2012

Photo courtesy of Maggie Oliver

Students and guests let their body move to the rhythm during a belly dancing event on Monday, as part of the university’s International Education week. The program was open to the public.

The event was led by Maia Alexandra, who is an award winning dancer from New York.

Guests watched as Alexandra performed two of her own dances that highlighted different aspects of the form, which sometimes have a negative stereotype among older generations because it focuses attention on ‘improper’ areas like the chest and butt.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that, in the Middle Eastern and African cultures, belly dancing is a community practice – it’s what they dance to at parties and events,” Alexandra said. “Over there, the dances we do are more scandalous.”

“It was superb, something that I’d only seen Shakira do before,” Laila Longer, a sophomore majoring in international studies, said. “She [Alexandra] was great.”

After her performance, Alexandra led the audience in a class on how to do the simpler moves of belly dancing and a few other facts about the traditional dance form. By the end of the event, participants had learned the basic stance and moves such as hip lifts, shimmies and chest slides.

“It was fun. My body moved in more ways than I ever thought it could,” said Samantha Witkowski, who is a freshman majoring in Communication.

Though Alexandra focuses on belly dancing, she is also trained in jazz, ballet and modern dance. Currently, Alexandra is expanding her list of talents by learning the Cha-Cha and Salsa, which are both dances that originated in Spanish cultures.

Jodie is a sophomore majoring in communication and can be contacted at


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