A lot of people go to the gym to lose some weight, but they don't enjoy the time they spend there, and it can be really frustrating. Let’s be honest here. It’s not fun to do something we don’t like just to stay fit, right? One of the best paths for a healthy life is to indulge in some activity that is pleasurable. For those of you who like to have fun while exercising, Beauty Buff recommends belly dancing your problems (and fat) away!
Belly dance is an art form with a rich cultural heritage. Originally from the Middle East, this dance incorporates undulations, vibrations, isolations, expressive facial gestures, smooth and crisp hip movements—all with fluid arms and hand movements. Belly dance is a great cardiovascular exercise, and if you practice it vigorously, you can burn between 250 and 300 calories per hour. Combine belly dancing with a good diet, and you'll be able to see some amazing results.
We had the pleasure of discussing the beauty benefits of belly dancing with multi-award-winning belly dancer, Thia Kapos.
She is the owner of the Egyptian Dance Center in SLC, which has approximately 100 students, ranging in age from four years old to their late sixties. Throughout the year, her students perform for fundraisers, church events, cultural events, stage events, Renaissance fairs, and art festivals.
Q. Thia, I’m a huge fan of yours. When did your passion for belly dance begin?
A. "My love affair with belly dancing started when I was child growing up in New York City. My parents would take me to the Middle-Eastern section (Atlantic Ave.), and we would enjoy a delicious meal while watching the beautiful dancers. Later on, when I moved to Utah, I had the pleasure of watching a local troupe under the directions of Kismet and I was hooked. I signed up immediately. I started teaching several years later and formed my own studio, BellyDancing by Thia. I also opened the Belly Dancer Boutique with dance goodies from around the world. To further my studies, I started traveling to Egypt and Turkey each year and spent a month in India as well. It helped tremulously, learning dance technique, musical and dance theory as well as a cultural understanding."
Q. Yeah, but it looks pretty hard… Is it?
A. "Belly dancing is not a competitive sport or dance; therefore, each individual moves at her own pace. Over time, you will develop your own unique style of expression through belly dancing. You will also learn to dance with beautiful veils, lively percussion finger cymbals (zils), breathtaking sword balancing, dramatic floor work, fans, canes, and in addition, tambourines for a gypsy style."
Q. Is it true that there are different styles of belly dance?
A. "Yes. There are many styles of belly dance such as Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese, Tribal, Tribal Fusion, Steam Punk and Folkloric just to name a few; each expressing it's own distinct style. It is never boring, always exciting!"
Q. What are the health benefits of belly dancing?
A. "Belly dancing relieves stress and increases flexibility and mobility. It thoroughly but gently works every part of your body. You will learn grace and poise, while putting yourself in touch with your feminine side. Belly dancing also allows students to dance to their own capacity, regardless of age or fitness level. You will enjoy making friends as you explore the creative process of dance. But the main reason to study belly dance is because it's fun."
Egyptian Dance Center is located at 3345 S. 300 West B2, SLC