Indiana Daily Student

It's all in the hips

Belly dancers practice their art form locally

Belly dancers with colorful costumes, exotic jewelry, convulsing hip movements and bare midriffs will migrate to Bloomington this weekend. But even though there will be special performances and workshops dedicated to the ancient art form this weekend, students can participate in belly dancing events year-round.\nThe Bloomington Area Arts Council and Different Drummer Belly Dancers will host a Tribal: Pura, a tribal style belly dance workshop and "An Evening of Belly Dance" on Saturday.\nCarolena Nericcio and Megha Gavin, two internationally recognized belly dance artists, will lead the workshop, which will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Phi Delta Kappa Center.\nBAAC Education Director Roger Meridith said the workshop, limited to 75 participants, is sold out.\nNericcio created the concept of American Tribal Style belly dance, a performance art form based on Middle Eastern belly dance that has been stylized and adapted for a contemporary American audience said Meridith. Gavin is the only certified instructor of American Tribal Style. \n"Carolena is the mother of American Tribal Style," Meridith said. \nEven though the workshop is sold out, students still have the opportunity to experience belly dancing in Bloomington and on campus.\n"An Evening of Belly Dance" will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium.\n"The evening gala show will include nine individual performers and seven troupes," Meridith said. "There will be 39 performers altogether."\nMeridith said only 11 tickets were left for the performance as of Tuesday morning. Tickets are $15. \n"It's an exciting dance form that a lot of people are involved in across the country," Meridith said. "It's something that a lot of people do."\nBelly dancing is a combination of an art form, dance form, anatomy and physiology, Meridith said. He said many different types of belly dancing exist, such as Middle Eastern, Egyptian and American Tribal Style. \n"Our posters call it alchemy of art and science," Meridith said. "It uses anatomy to communicate."\nMargaret Lion is the director of the Different Drummer Belly Dancers and teaches "Belly Dance for Every Body" at the John Waldron Arts Center. \nShe said belly dance is the oldest recorded dance form on the planet.\n"Christ watched belly dancers," Lion said in an e-mail message. "It is a celebration of the body, regardless of size, shape, sex, color, or age."\nLion said belly dancing is also a good low-impact aerobic exercise. She said the classes she teaches have at least 25 students in each class. Information on classes is available at Bloomington Area Arts Council Web site, www.artlives.org.\n"I love the expression and earthiness of the dance," Lion said. "It is beautiful and can help anyone feel good about their body."\nLion calls belly dancing a dance form. The body must be conditioned and controlled to do the belly dance moves. \nAssistant Director of Fitness at IU Joellan Muyskens said the Middle Eastern belly dancing class offered by Recreational Sports usually has 10 to 30 students per session. Students interested in learning about belly dancing can take the free Middle Eastern Belly Dance sampler session from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Monday nights.\nStudents can also pay to take more in-depth belly dancing classes through Recreational Sports. The beginning Middle Eastern Belly Dance class takes place Thursday nights from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. The intermediate level class is Monday nights from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. All belly dancing classes through Recreational Sports are in the SRSC multi-sport gym three. Prices for these classes range from $35-$60 a session.\n"I think students enjoy having a variety of fitness options," Muyskens said. "Middle Eastern Belly Dancing is a terrific workout, and it's fun."\nMuysken said Belly Dancing is compelling to diverse audiences because of the rich cultural history from which it stems.

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