to present belly dance classes
stretches are good for arthritis
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(March 2011) At the most recent belly dance
class presented at the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library, an eager
and slightly anxious group of students filed into the auditorium. Calls
of I dont know how to dance! and Ive never
done this before! echo throughout the room.
by Lela Bradshaw
Adler will teach belly dancing
classes at the public library on the
second Thursday of each month
from March through June.
Thats good! instructor Heather Adler
announces cheerfully. She quickly waves participants over to a bright
table and encourages students to sort through the different colors and
discover the different sounds of the heavily ornamented and be-jangled
scarves. Soon, laughter fills the room as young and old settle on favorites
and join the large circle, ready for the class to begin.
Adler stands in the center and goes through some of the dance moves,
before repeating them again more slowly for the class to see exactly
how the motions are performed. Belly dancing is more illusion
not what you think youre seeing, she explains.
The belly dance classes taught by Adler will continue to run the second
Thursday of each month from March through June. Each class meets at
6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the library and lasts about an hour.
Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and eat
light that evening. No prior dance experience is needed and students
should show up ready to have fun. This seasons classes were originally
scheduled to run January through March, but due to popular demand, they
have been extended. The class typically attracts between 20 and 50 people.
Kim Kreuzburg, library assistant and adult programmer, said, Every
time she teaches, people are absolutely devoted to her and the class.
After she took over as adult programmer at the library last year, patrons
began to ask if the class which had been taught a few times before would
be returning. People were dying to have it repeated, she
recalls. Kreuzberg believes part of the classs popularity is due
to the fact that Adler ties fun and education into one class. Not only
do participants get to enjoy an entertaining workout, but they also
learn how belly dance is related to other forms of dance around the
world and how dance is important to a variety of cultures.
Adler points out that part of the broad appeal of the course is the
fact that it provides wonderful camaraderie for all ages.
She explains that the gentle movements and stretches can be good for
arthritis suffers. Even pre-school aged children get in on the fun,
twirling happily to the music. The people who participate are
all ages, agrees Kreuzburg,
Adler stresses that the dance form is something new to almost everyone
in the class, and that people should not feel intimidated by their own
lack of training. Even those with a strong training in dance will find
themselves facing a new medium, this is not at all like ballet,
she says seriously. Adler herself has a background in Russian ballet
and even after spending years with the demanding en pointe style, dancing
on her toes, she found that belly dance presented her with exciting
new challenges. Belly dance is like learning another language,
Adler works hard to make sure all of her students find the class rewarding,
no matter what their fitness level. We start out slowly, get people
to feel happy with music, she says. The class begins with the
One of the first things you learn is to stand up straight,
Adler notes, explaining the importance of breathing correctly.
After the class works through a series of easy stretches, the students
being to pick up more challenging moves. Youll get a six-pack
I think its easier than sit ups, she says laughing
as the exercise portion of the lesson begins in earnest. You end
up using every muscle in your body.
Adler reflects on the benefits of belly dance saying, You listen
more to your body. I think its a very good holistic way of moving.
She encourages people to Do something thats good and healthy
For more information on upcoming programs
at the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library, visit www.mjcpl.org
or call (812) 265-2744.
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