Move over Shakira, Muddy tries belly dancing
I love a good dance class. Back in the day I took a few street dancing classes at Pineapple Studios (whether or not I was any good is a totally different matter, but I did enjoy them). So when the opportunity came to try belly dancing, I jumped at the chance plus I’ve heard it’s good for working out your core.
Run by the ever so personable, Katerina Wells, she’s been teaching belly dancing for 20 years and started off by going to classes before deciding to run her own classes. She’s been teaching for 13 years now so is a real master of the art. Dressed in a beautiful emerald green skirt and a belly dancing belt, she was pretty hard to miss as I walked into her class at Dixon Woods School of Dance, Oadby.
I went along to her beginners class and was surprised how large the room actually was. Being a dance school, the room had a wall of mirrors, perfect for us to see ourselves in and made it much easier to follow the moves.
The class was made up of 13 women, all different shapes, sizes and ages but all keen and up for a laugh. Katerina started off with a simple warm up to gentle Arabic music before teaching us some essential belly dance movements; a basic figure 8 hip movement, hip hits and a shimmy.
What I loved about Katerina’s class was that after she showed us the move, she took the time to go round to each of us to make sure we had got the move right. It took me quite some time to master the figure 8 movement, the hip hits were easy enough but doing them while walking proved a whole new challenge and to confuse matters more, where do you put your hands?
The shimmy was my favourite. With knees bent we literally ‘let everything move’ while pushing one knee forward and the other back slowly and then started speeding it up. I had leggings on and could feel everything wobbling like jelly which is why, I see now why most of the ladies turned up in skirts (!) but Katerina told us just to embrace it. We wore belly dancing scarves/belts and Katerina explained that if the coins jingle, then you know you’re doing it right. We then did the movements together for quite some time against Arabic music which made it easier because you learn to move to the beat.
Katerina’s classes are designed so that you learn a few movements every week and by the third class, you put them together to form a simple dance routine.
I loved every part of this class. It was fun, relaxed and I felt extremely comfortable around the other women. There were young girls there, mothers and even grannies (I’m tempted to bring my mum next time). Katerina also sells gorgeous made-to-measure skirts like the one she was wearing, tops, belly dancing belts and more. Some of her more advanced students have been coming to her classes for years which says a lot. By the time we were finished, her next class was raring to go.
Katerina teaches belly dancing six days a week in Oadby and Market Harborough so you’re bound to find one that fits in with you. Get in touch with her directly to see which class is best for you. Classes run in a block of 6. A word of warning, belly dancing is good for your health but can become seriously addictive.
4 belly dancing facts
It was originally taught to girls from an early age in order to strengthen their abdominal muscles in preparation for childbirth.
Belly dancing is a Middle Eastern type of dancing. In the Arabic language, it is called raqs sharqi and literally translates to mean ‘dance from the East’.
Regular belly dance will develop strong abs, don’t expect a six-pack but you will eventually notice a difference. It will also tone, strengthen and improve flexibility but won’t exactly burn calories.
Traditionally, belly dancing is done by women for women when they are together socially and just for the fun of it.