The Yale Affiliates Belly Dance Society is dedicated to bringing the Middle Eastern dance and culture to Yale’s campus and the outside community. YABDS was founded in 2003 with the goal of promoting this exciting and challenging art form while dispelling negative myths of belly dance. The group primarily focuses on Egyptian cabaret style dance (raqs sharqi), but also includes elements of folkloric Egyptian dance, Turkish traditional and cabaret, and American Tribal Style. These dance styles are taught to beginners through classes organized by Payne Whitney Gymnasium and seen performed throughout the year at many events by the YABDS Performance Troupe, which consists of members of different experience levels.
Classes are open to the general community, whereas admission to the performance troupe is by audition in early September. The audition serves simply to demonstrate a basic level of technique and ability to perform choreography. All are welcome to audition! Members of the society enjoy access to YABDS’s collection of Middle Eastern music CDs, technique DVDs, costumes and performance props, as well as information on workshops and belly dance events in the community and nearby.