The last time I did a bellydance class was with a group of friends as a “stretch” challenge. It was a private group class, so we all knew each other, and it was just the one class that we did. However, it made an impression on me – I remember how much fun we had, I remember how impressed I was by the instructor’s ability to control her body, and I remember thinking afterwards that I would love to try that again.
I was thrilled when I originally met Kelly Enston, because she was not just a talented personal trainer, she also taught classes such as Bellydancing. Dance classes are – in my humble opinion – a really great way of getting a workout while also having a great time.
Kelly recently told me that she was planning on organizing her next session of Bellydance classes. Like many fitness professionals, Kelly offers a free trial class, which I attended. It was in a great private space on College Street called Training Spaces. (For anyone wanting to check it out – make sure to go around to the side door on the Eastern front of the building.)
Colour, Sound and Movement
One of the most fun parts about bellydancing are the props: we had hip scarves with jingling coins attached, and we also got to use veils for extra dramatic effect. As you can imagine, much discussion went into which colours everyone should use…part of the dance is to look colourful doing it!
Bellydancing is a feast for many senses – movement is sinuous and has you moving in time with them; sound generated by shaking hips punctuates the music that’s playing; your eyes are captured with the swirls of colour from flying veils and spinning scarves.
Gentle but tough
At first you start following along dancing, and you think to yourself, “this isn’t all that difficult!” But after a few minutes go by, you realize that those muscles aren’t one of the usual few you use to sit at your desk, walk to the subway, or pick up your case of beer.
I kept finding new muscles as Kelly taught us how to raise and lower our arms in time to our hips, and as we coordinated our steps with our shimmying. By the end, I was beaded in sweat, and felt like I’d done a decent core workout.
Better than the Bands
However, I didn’t hate the core workout in the same way as – oh, let’s just randomly say – a banded workout. It was so fun! It was easy to chat with the others in the class, we traded Instagram accounts and pictures. Truth is, we all wanted to try to capture the experience with photos – posing with our veils, doing boomerangs of shaking hips, wide grins on our faces from the joy.
It’s such a great feeling to enjoy moving as it’s happening, and have it – so directly! – impact the flow of my day. That hour with Kelly bellydancing lifted my mood beautifully and I felt like I was additionally productive that afternoon because of it. It was freeing to be able to enjoy dancing in the middle of the day, then going back to my responsibilities with that experience.
What I loved about Bellydancing
There’s a lot to love, to be honest.
For people who are looking to work up a bit of a sweat but not “grind”, this is perfect.
If you want something you can participate in while also controlling how hard you work, bellydancing allows you to look amazing whether you’re shaking hard or shimmying gently.
If you love to learn a skill while you get in your exercise, bellydance is a very fun skill to be able to showcase!
How to get started
Luckily, Kelly will be running a 6-week bellydancing course covering all the basic moves, techniques and flows. She’s really good at helping you find your comfort zone and correcting the little things that turn you from no to pro easily.
You can sign up through FitIn – it’s free to set up your account – and easily reserve your spot by clicking HERE.
Bring a friend to share the fun with, and enjoy shopping for your jingly hip scarves!
Catherine Chan is the Founder & CEO of FitIn.io, a new fitness platform connecting Canadians with personal trainers/instructors, fitness, exercise or movement classes near them in mere minutes. A mental health advocate, she has dedicated a part of her platform to mental health and wellness classes, promoting movement + mindfulness in order to find profound, sustainable health.