Belly dance may be “a gift uniquely suitable to you”

You have heard the call of the wild, something beyond your usual horizons is calling you. Belly dance doesn’t call every woman, so if it knocks on your door I believe it is trying to give you a gift uniquely suitable to you. ~ Shemiran Ibrahim, belly dancer


Belly dance came into my life, inadvertently, during my childhood through a filtered and westernized version created by Hollywood via the t.v. in my family’s living room. I was mesmerized by the fluid, serpentine like movements the women displayed. It was a mystical dance in my young mind and I liked it! But it wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I actually started considering learning the dance. Unfortunately, within the rural setting with which I was blessed to be brought up in, there were no middle eastern dance teachers within a two hour radius, so I set out on my own and bought my first set of instructional DVDs.

Now, I am 41 years old and I am dancing. It is my goal to grow a belly dance community where women can be with other women, have fun and learn to love their bodies as they are. What started out as a tiny club among friends, with me being loosely referred to as the “instructor,” has turned into Hafla Shimmy, where a group of women, some who know each other, while others may be newcomers, get together to study and dance  one to two times a week.

We meet downtown in the basement of the Henderson Building on Monday and Thursday nights at 6 p.m. The class costs $5 and usually lasts for an hour and a half.

Understand that belly dance is not a dance you will find lurking in a smoky men’s club, with scantily clad dancers getting $1 bills stuck into their belts. In fact, belly dance is a celebratory dance correctly referred to as middle eastern dance or raqs sharqi. The term “belly dance” is coined by the western world and has nothing to do with the origin. In the east, the dance is danced by all, from the upper crust to the farmer. It is done at birthdays, weddings and in most other life celebration get-togethers. Costume changes accordingly for the dance as well. It can range from a full length dress to the most common Americanized image of the bra and skirt set.


Hafla Shimmy class.

Hafla Shimmy class, led by Melissa Coleman

Join us if you are looking for something unique and fun. Belly dance will change the way you feel about your body. It will give you acceptance of yourself and boost your self esteem. It is a dance that is exotic and feminine. And there is something very liberating about dancing bare feet and connecting directly to the earth.

Melissa Coleman



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