Belly dancing entices students


While searching for a physical education credit during class registration last semester, students stumbled across a class they did not expect to find.

Belly dancing. Ceren Yarar, doctoral

student researching neuro-mechanics in the kinesiology department, teaches the class.

Yarar has a master's degree in physical therapy from Auburn.

She also teaches biomechanics classes and is researching vibration treatment in people with spinal cord injuries.

In addition to her academic accolades, Yarar knows how to belly dance.

Originally from Turkey, Yarar learned to belly dance as a child.

"As a Turkish person, we learn belly dancing while we are kids and then we practice it," Yarar said.

Yarar said belly dancing is different from anything else she has seen taught in America.

"Most Americans are more used to dancing hip-hop and other kinds of dances which you use the body as a whole, but belly dancing is just more isolating parts," Yarar said.

This is the second semester Auburn has offered belly dancing as an elective.

Madisen Bugbee, sophomore in communication, said she was looking for an elective and stumbled upon belly dancing.

"I actually ended up r working my entire schedule around this class so I could take it," Bugbee said.

Sarah Stutler, junior in exercise science, said her roommate took the class last semester and recommended it.

"I like learning about all the different cultures and I like the costumes they wear for belly dancing," Stutler said. "I've always found those intriguing."

The students in the class said learning to belly dance is fun and more challenging than they thought it would.

"I thought it would be a lot easier than it is," Bugbee said. "You have to isolate certain parts of your body and most people can't just pick up and do that right away."

Emily Copeland, freshman in business and po- litical science, said she has taken other dance classes, but belly dancing is much different.

"It is the only dance style I've ever done where I feel like it's made to flatter your body," Copeland said. "With other dances it's like you have to fit your body to the dance."

Belly dancing is different from other dances because each part of the

body is dancing separately. The first few days of class, Yarar brought hula-hoops to teach the students how to move the hips separately from the

rest of the body. "Every part of you is

dancing," Copeland said. "It makes you appreciate yourself individually as a woman better."

Copeland said the belly dancing class boosts confidence.

"You learn to laugh at yourself and you eventually learn confidence through that," Stutler said.

The students are evaluated based on a final dance project.

For the project, small groups of students are expected to put together a 5-minute dance lesson and instruct the class on how to do it.

The lesson must include a different style of belly dancing or more advanced moves not already taught in class.

Most of the students in the class encouraged anyone at Auburn to take the belly dancing class no matter how much experience they have in any kind of dance.

"Even if you've never had any experience, belly dancing is something fun to try because nobody really knows what they're doing at the beginning, so you're not going to be left out," Bugbee said.

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