Group: Egyptian Sun Productions
Category: Peforming Arts Organizations
Name: Becca Love
One of the most unusual and most surprising things that happened to me when I came to JHU was that I became a belly dancer. At the end of my first semester, I saw an announcement for free belly-dancing classes, and I went to one on a whim. The rest, as they say, was history. I went from being unable to do the most basic moves or even shake my hips, to being able to perform complicated layers of choreography while balancing multiple objects on my head or shoulders.
Egyptian Sun Productions was founded in 2001 by Dori Witt, a grad student, and Nikki Traylor-Knowles, an undergrad. Our mission is to promote cultural awareness, creativity, individuality, and positive body image, all while having a good time! As a group, we specialize in Turkish and Egyptian cabaret, but our members specialize in a wide variety of styles, and fusions of different styles are also popular. One thing that makes Egyptian Sun unique among most campus groups is that we are open to Hopkins students, affiliates, employees, and community members, and our membership is a diverse mix of each group. We have three levels of classes: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Another thing that’s great about ESP is that beginner classes are always free to JHU undergrads, and intermediate and advanced classes are offered at a reduced rate.
I walked in as a freshman, and freshman are definitely welcome. Each class meets for two hours a week, either on Saturday or Sunday evening. All dancers have the chance to participate in our annual spring show, usually held in May in Shriver Auditorium. While we participate in other performances, the show is the highlight of the year for ESP. Each class performs one or two group dances, choreographed by their respective teachers, and dancers at the intermediate level and above may also have the opportunity to perform a solo that they choreograph themselves. The show always includes a wide range of styles, props, and musical choices, from sci-fi soundtracks to Michael Jackson to Arabic pop.
I’ve loved my time with Egyptian Sun. When I first joined, my body image was not that great, and I frequently compared myself negatively to the people around me. After three and a half years of dancing, I have a lot more self-confidence, and I am proud of all the things I can do. I’ve also had a blast and made good friends. In retrospect, deciding to show up to the Mattin Studio that Saturday night in December on ’07 was one of the better decisions of my time at Hopkins.