Picture her now as an audience might see her with those same
strawberry waves of hair flying through the air, long skirts sparkling
and swirling as she glides fluidly across the stage, hips swiveling in
ways you didn't know a woman could move?all with a sword balanced on her
head. See the goddess dancing now?
During her years as a professional bellydancer, Hunt experienced a
little bit of everything. She has done more than 12,000 performances and
even won Bellydancer of the Year in 2000 at a contest in California. Her
story is rich in the memories of the music and the dance that she loves
that have been an integral part of her whole life.
"My professional career started at age 14," said Hunt. "My mother
hurt her knee and her boss said 'Let your daughter dance for you.' I was
By the time her mother, bellydancer Rhea, recovered, Hunt wasn't
interested in stepping off stage. She did as many as five shows a night,
seven days a week, working regularly with live bands. Hunt's career
started in Greece, where she and her family move so that her mother
could make a living as a bellydancer. Hunt had few formal lessons. She
grew up around the dance, so it came naturally to her.
Hunt started dancing professionally in tourist clubs in Athens. These
establishments had stages and live Greek music. Before long, she also
danced at Arabic clubs.
"The music pulls you in. The Middle Eastern, Arabic music- its so
complex. And the audience at Middle Eastern clubs, it's their dance,
they know this dance. At a Greek or American club people clap at the
showy parts. But when you're doing a show for Egyptians, they pay
attention, they clap at the hard parts," she said.
Nowadays Hunt spends more time in a white lab coat at Johns Hopkins
than she does in her hip belt. She is about to earn her degree in human
genetics and molecular biology. Her main area of study focuses on
trafficking in lyosomes, which has to do with how cells in the body get
nutrients from one place to another.
Still she finds time to teach two classes a week at Morton Street
Dance Center in Baltimore. "With my students, I really want them to
learn how to dance and how to carry themselves. I want them to be able
to project inner joy, which is the whole purpose of the dance," she
This interview first appeared in baltimorebellydance.com