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Free belly dance classes at community center

On Wednesdays, Sept. 29, and Oct. 6, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., dance instructor and choreographer Carla Roberts continues an ongoing free beginners class in Oriental Dance (or belly dance) for adults at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

Following the adult class is a teen class at 3:30 to 5. Teens interested in learning performance dance styling and choreography are encouraged to enroll. Teen classes have an emphasis is on solo, duet, and troupe performance, costume development, and a solid knowledge of basic dance moves.

Using her signature gentle and supportive teaching method, Roberts brings decades of performing and teaching experience to this exciting new class . She welcomes newcomers who have missed the first few lessons to join in as soon as possible. She can be reached at 731-3117.

American belly dance is unique in that its present form has been shaped by so many different cultural influences and traditions. It is constantly evolving, as new dances are introduced to the community, and for this reason it has a remarkable variety. Today, across borders and cultures, “belly dance” is recognized as a dance style of its own.

Wendy Buonaventura traces the history of this ancient dance in her book “The History of Belly Dance.” She writes, “From the blend of tribal styles emerged a newer form of dance, the women’s dance. Whilst folk styles may be danced exclusively by men, or women, or may be danced by both sexes together, the women’s dance was danced by women for women. This concept still survives today, women dancing for women at afternoon tea parties and other happy gatherings”.

Oriental dance is uniquely designed for the female body, with an emphasis on abdominal muscles, hip moves, and chest moves. It is firm and earthy, traditionally with bare feet connected to the ground. It is a dance characterized by smooth, flowing, complex, and sensual movements of the torso, alternated with shaking and shimmy type moves.

Ladies interested in trying out this exciting dance style can come to the Ross Aragon Community Center on Wednesday, Sept. 29, and Oct 6 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. for an introductory class with Carla Roberts. Teen classes are on the same day at 3:30.

The Ross Aragon Community Center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For further information, call the center at 264-4152 or Carla Roberts at 731-3117.