Passionate about belly dancing | Winnipeg Sun

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Bellydance is more than just another pretty navel.

It may be the coin belt that comes to mind in North America, but belly dancing as an exotic exercise and as a cultural celebration is a “deliciously feminine form of dance.”

The magic is in the movement.

“When it’s done in its truest forms… in the Middle East, the women behind closed doors are much more subtle,” said Nicola, of Winnipeg-based Nicola Belly Dancing.

Nicola teaches specialized forms of dance called raks sharqi Egyptian, oriental and folk dance.

“It’s one of the only shapes accessible to women of all sizes, ages, shapes and abilities,” Nicola said.

It’s gentle on the joints, so it’s good for chronic pain, coordination, brain function, flexibility – even scar tissue.

“It’s not as dramatic as Pilates or weight training,” Nicola said. “You’re not focused on losing 10 pounds. It releases inhibitions on the body… so you feel good, strong, powerful and feminine.”

Nicola started oriental dance in 1997. At that time, her teacher was her mentor and she apprenticed with her.

“That was my New Years Eve resolution. My very first class, there was a blizzard. I walked… I took this whole intermediate dance class and no one said anything.”

She not only finished the class, she did very well. The instructor noticed that she was really passionate and started taking her to parties. They also created a dance troupe.

“There’s a lot more to do,” Nicola said, adding that belly dancing wasn’t all the rage when she first started.

A Solstice Spectacular concert is scheduled for Friday at the Gas Station Theater. Summer courses will also start soon.

By all means, be spellbound by the stage performance of belly dancing fused with Bollywood dance, modern dance and American tribal dance. But what is the reason for seeking joy in Egyptian belly dancing?

“More than half is the music and the emotional connection,” Nicola said.

To learn more about Nicola’s oriental dance, go online at nicola-bellydance.com.

Dawn Peter is a fitness and nutrition expert from Winnipeg.


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