Archive for August 29, 2013

Belly Dance and Fitness – Overview

“Belly Dance” is a broad term referring to various styles of Middle Eastern Dance, including Arabic, Egyptian Cabaret, American Tribal, and Turkish, just to name a few.  Each of these styles is characterized by isolations of muscle groups as well as the focus on movement from the core rather than from the limbs as in most European dance styles.

While belly dance in the East seems to have existed in some form or other since before recorded history it made its first appearance in America in 1893.  Audiences at the Chicago World’s Fair thrilled at Little Egypt’s unique and exotic dance performances.  The popularity of the art spread throughout the 20th century inspiring not only Hollywood and Vaudeville, but modern dance pioneers such as Ruth St. Denis and Isadora Duncan as well.

Popularity of belly dance for fitness soared in the 1970’s with the release of an album by Turkish dancer Ozel Turkbas, which included an instructional booklet.  Women across the United States sought classes at YWCAs and private studios alike, finding a low impact cardio workout with fun, sensual movements that celebrated camaraderie among classmates.

Today, men as well as women across the globe are learning to belly dance, enjoying benefits such as increased body confidence, better posture, toned muscles, and increased agility, just to name a few.

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Morgiana’s Notes – August 2013

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This past month, I have been working and learning quite a lot outside of my normal comfort zone.  A creative thinker by nature, the “logical” world of technology is frustrating, confusing, and yes, a little bit scary to me.  Despite this, I have taken it on, welcomed the new challenges, found some great resources, and not only redesigned this newsletter but started a new website, . While it is an ongoing work in progress, one of my favorite features is the calendar on the right hand side, which allows you to scroll over dates and find the next class or performance.

So how about you? Are you currently learning anything outside of your comfort zone?  Feel free to share it with me!  Whether trying out Belly dance or Zumba for the first time, getting back into a regular fitness routine, or adding a new move or prop work to your already developing abilities, it’s easy to get frustrated with yourself.  The best skills are rarely learned overnight, so cut yourself a little slack, use your resources (I am always happy to answer what I can, refer what I cannot), and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.  Because if I can face Technology, anyone can dance.

Here are some upcoming chances to dance or watch a performance:

Wonderaddo Launch
August 31, 2013 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh Public Market, FREE (tips gladly accepted)

A fun, world-culture oriented family event.  I will be performing with talented local dancers. Enjoy the dancing as you sample local delights from the market’s vendors, then get up and dance with us!  A mini lesson will start at 12:30.

Fall Classes in Shadyside (Wednesdays, 7pm)  and Fox Chapel (Thursdays, 6:30pm) will begin the second week of September.  I’ve looked forward to them all summer, and hope you have too.  I will send out information on how to register soon.  Meanwhile, if you have mornings free, join me in a Zumba Gold class at Alba Fitness in Monroeville (just down the road from CCAC Boyce) on Thursdays at 9:30am.  Classes are only $5, and support a wonderful locally owned new business that I hope will thrive.

Wishing you many reasons to dance!


aka Kristin Ward

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