Working a part-time job scooping ice at Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and majoring in nursing here at UCF, Danielle Boots seems like the average college student trying to survive. Working with her at Jeremiah’s, we always talked about things normal girls talk about: food and boys. Then one day a Shakira song came on the radio and Danielle broke out in a little dance that caused us all to stop in our tracks. The secret Danielle kept for so long: She is a belly dancer. When I found this out, I immediately asked a million questions.
Q: When did you get into belly dancing?
A: I first became interested in belly dancing in middle school. As cliché as it sounds, I was inspired by Shakira and her body isolations.
Q: Do you see belly dancing as a potential career path?
A: I have been told by many people that I should pursue it as a job. I’m not exactly sure if I want to make it into a career, but definitely a part-time job such as performing at restaurants shows, etc.
Q: Have you met any professional belly dancers?
A: I have met five professionals and about five or six semi-professionals.
Q: What advice or inspiration did they give you?
A: All of them will pretty much tell you the same thing – belly dance allows one’s creativity to flourish, so just have fun with it.
Q: How is belly dancing different than other types of dance?
A: Anyone and everyone can do it. It does not matter your weight, height, or if you are male or female. It is one of the only dances that has been around since ancient times that can be blended in with any other dance known to man. For example, a lot of times I do belly dance and hip hop fusion. Also, there are professionals who can do a blending of ballet and belly dance. Not to mention it gives one self-awareness of one’s body, which for me ultimately gives me confidence by allowing me to be comfortable in my own skin.
Q: Where do you perform?
A: I am part of a performance troupe at UCF called the Shimmy Knights. We perform locally at events at school and around the community. Just recently, we got to perform at a small-scale professional belly dance show, which was very exciting.
Q: Besides belly dance and working at Jeremiah’s, what do you do with your free time?
A: I am also a part of a salsa-dancing club here at UCF called Latin Rhythm and play a lot of beach volleyball in my spare time.