85-year-old belly dancer

Angie Rounis of Catonsville, who won a talent contest earlier this year at the Catonsville Senior Center, competes in "Baltimore County Seniors Got Talent" at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium Oct. 6. Rounis, 85, teaches a belly dancing class on Friday morning at the Catonsville Senior Center. (Staff photo by Sarah Pastrana / October 5, 2011)

When Angie Rounis bellies up to the competition, she does so literally.

Under the stage name Samara, the 85-year-old took to the stage not once, but twice, during the Oct. 6 Baltimore County Seniors Got Talent competition at the Maryland Fairgrounds in Timonium.

"It went well," said Rounis the day after the event after she returned home from teaching a class.

"Everybody said, everybody said, I should have won," said Rounis after the three judges awarded the $500 travel gift certificate first prize to the husband and wife singing duo of Tom Kowalski and Paula Rehr.


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"One of the judges told me, 'It was absolutely beautiful,' " Rounis said.

"And my girls danced beautifully," said the 40-year-Catonsville resident on the performance by Patricia Bach, Dorothy Binder, Mary Breland, Janet Butts, Maxine Howard and Mary McLaughlin. "I was so thrilled."

The seven performed a 20-minute piece prior to the start of the Baltimore County Seniors Got Talent show at 2 p.m.

For the previous six years, the show that concludes the Baby Boomer/Senior Expo was purely a singing competition, said Marion Oser, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore County Department of Aging.

"It ran its course. People lost enthusiasm for it," said Oser, who noted the change to a talent show was to reinvigorate the friendly competition. "We decided to base it very loosely on (the television show) 'America's Got Talent.' "

Thirty people, including Rounis, auditioned for the competition and 10 were selected, Oser said.

Most of the contestants sang. Rounis was the only dancer.

She said she wasn't nervous, having performed in venues such as Martin's West and Martin's Eastwind.

"THEY were big crowds," she said.

Rounis entered the competition as champion of the Catonsville Senior Center's Seniors Got Talent competition that took place on July 20.

She said she fell in love with the Middle Eastern dance, after seeing a performance at a night club in New York City as a 15-year-old.

"I love it," she said. "First of all, it inspires you. It's therapy. If you have any troubles, you put that music on and dance."

Instead of pursuing the dance, Rounis chose a more traditional route and got married and started a family.

Rounis wouldn't start pursuing the dance until 1974, and it was only as a means to lose some weight and get healthier.

"I really only took (classes) for exercise, but of course I fell in love with it," Rounis said. "It gives you a thrill.

"We've got 640 muscles in our body. We use them all."