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Arts & Entertainment

Dance Community Continues to Expand

by Claire Toal, staff writer

Belly dancers practice in Bryson Gym. Photo by Wyatt Pace

As I walked into Devon Kelley-Mott’s room it was as if I were stepping into a scene from the Arabian Nights. Her walls are covered in dancing goddess imagery, the figures frequently naked. We sit cross-legged on her floor in a pile of patchworked sequin pillows and before our conversation even begins I am fully convinced that Devon is a modern-day gypsy.

The amount of passion Devon exudes for belly dancing is commendable.

“Dance is a joyous and beautiful thing for me; so much so that it has actually outweighed the other, not-so-beautiful aspects of my life.”

Devon is eager to share her passion for belly dancing with others in the community.

“With performance opportunities, such as the Circus and the Talent Show, I am dying to reach more people through this art form so that we can collaborate together,” she said.

Belly dance requires constant use of your abdominals, glutes, deltoids, biceps and triceps, and quadriceps, just to name a few.

According to Devon, belly dancing is “good for your body, thus good for your mind.”

“To me, belly dancing is not about being sexy and wearing cute costumes,” she said. “It is so much more than that. I honor and respect all dancers, but others like me, who use this art form as a panacea for something personal, must also be given respect. Belly dancing literally saved my life—in more ways than one. We have the power to utilize this dance in order to help others feel wonderful about themselves. I use this dance to work miracles.”

Devon sees belly dancing as therapeutic, a recuperative process and exercise.

“Those of us in recovery are not pathetic or gloomy when we dance, most of us are full of joy and laughter,” she said.

“Anyone can belly dance once they get over their own mental hurdles. Some don’t think they can perform the movements. Some don’t think they could wear the revealing clothing. Some don’t think they can do it in front of anybody. But, when they realize they can perform the movements, they don’t mind the revealing clothing so much. And when they see themselves in the mirror moving and looking like a goddess, they actually want to show off to an audience. This is called confidence, and it’s something that many of us could use more of.”

Devon and others take advantage of the free, on-campus belly dancing lessons “from one of the most knowledgeable belly dancers in our area.”

Devon’s main goal as part of the wellness crew this semester is to make dance more readily available to our community. She encourages everyone to be aware of the upcoming belly dance workshops with local instructor Michelle Dionne from Yellow Sun Farm: Sacred & Healing Dance. If you are interested in being a part of a belly dance troupe contact Devon at dkelley-mott@warren-wilson.edu.

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