Editor's Note: Teri Lightning Jr. is involved in Unified Media organizations, but is also a member of the Ball State Belly Dance Club.
For one show dedicated to women’s month, women of different natures and talents came together with one common goal: female empowerment.
Ball State Belly Dance Club, Indy Tribal and The Parallels performed at the Women's Week Hafla 5:30-7 p.m. March 24 in Pruis Hall.
Members of the Ball State Belly Dance Club started the event with graceful movements and colorful costumes, which accentuated their intricate dance.
“I think belly dancing plays a large role in [Women’s Week] because it is a style [of dance] that essentially celebrates women’s bodies and women of different cultures,” said Jeana Jorgensen, leader of Indy Tribal.
Following the belly dancers, a cappella group The Parallels sang and Indy Tribal performed, capturing the audience’s attention with costumes of outlandish designs.
“[We perform a] collective improvisation style, so we don’t memorize choreography,” Jorgensen said. “[But] you can visually see us connecting with one another.”
Jorgensen also said that through collaborative dance, women are able to emphasize community and supporting one another, instead of creating deep-rooted competition between opposing women.
Many organizations like the Ball State Belly Dance Club and Indy Tribal focus on empowering women all throughout the year, but see deep value in celebrating progress both made and yet to be.
“I think women’s rights are still a work in progress and it is important to have a time to draw attention to that,” Jorgensen said. “To focus on the challenges that we still have to face as well as celebrate the progress that we’ve made.”
Along with the group acts, individuals also performed. Cory Gialamas, a drag queen performer going by the name of Anastasia, said seeing the reflective nature of his audience and the difference he is making motivated him and boosts his confidence.
“If I can be confident as a persona, not even just as a woman, there is no reason I shouldn’t be confident as Cory,” Gialamas said.
With the great reactions Anastasia received after her performance, Gialamas said he believes beauty comes in different styles and senses, all of which can be validated despite what society considers beautiful.
“It shouldn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, nonbinary, or transgender, the person you are at your core is what matters, not the exterior because that is simply a part of you,” Gialamas said. “It shouldn’t be something that is minoritized, tokenized, attacked or criticized just because of something you can’t change.”
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