by Kirby Lindsay
Delilah doesn’t dwell on the many health benefits of belly dancing. Her popular Power Belly classes do harness the major elements of belly dancing into a great workout – and they use a weight belt that can increase the benefits. “Weights help with bone density,” Delilah pointed out, plus the belt increases core balance, and sweat.
Visionary Dance Productions (VDP) at 4128 Fremont Avenue North produces videos and CDs in the art of belly dance. The studio also hosts classes on every aspect of belly dancing, taught by several instructors, including the owner, Delilah. Classes can focus on influence – Egyptian, Turkish, Folkloric, etc – or elements – choreography, performance, classic, etc. A complete class schedule can be seen on-line along with information on upcoming performances.
Explore The Art
“It’s an art form,” Delilah stated, not a folk dance, not a religion, and not a strip tease. Belly dancing has been a part of Fremont for decades, and in the US since the 1970s. “When I started dancing, I was 18 and in California,” Delilah explained, of an adult education class she attended with her mom that gave her life direction.
“This is the key,” she explained, “belly dance is really celebrating the female body.” An art form once passed from mother to daughter, the dance demands a basic self-awareness and discipline. Men can and do belly dance, Delilah allowed, but it remains primarily a women’s activity. For males, “it becomes a war dance, a cane dance, a complement,” to female belly dancers.
“It’s an isolation dance,” Delilah explained, with power and control exerted over the whole body while a dancer performs a movement within a single area. “It’s about stillness,” she explained as she performed a hip movement and her head, shoulders, knees and feet remained perfectly still. “It’s really good for the back and knees,” she explained, “and for the spirit.”
“A lot of people come here to ‘go be with the girls’,” she admitted, and with their body. “They constantly say they are happier,” she described, about students who gain confidence, through dancing, and begin to exert it in other arenas of their lives. In class, Delilah teaches the steps and students learn to put them together, “so they learn expressing, not just copying.” They build their own style, and their dance. “To do dance,” she explained, “you have to have freedom.”
Gain Fitness, And Fun
Beginners must start with a class in basic movements. Everyone’s ability will be different so Delilah could not say how many classes would be needed to advance to an intermediate level. Private lessons or intensive three-hour workshops can speed up the process. Also, in beginners classes, do not expect a cardio workout, “but go home and dance to a record for hour, and you’ll get cardio,” she advised.
With experience and understanding of basic movements, VDP can offer a variety of classes and activities. The Power Belly class can be done in the studio, or on-line. Each Monday night class is taped for broadcast on-line for those who choose to workout at home.
In addition to classes, and performances, this spring Delilah invites all those with an understanding of belly dancing, to join her ensemble for the 2010 Fremont Arts Council Solstice Parade. The theme will be ‘Rich, green planet earth,’ and the dancers always provide a parade highlight – for artistry as well as sheer beauty. A workout for body, mind and soul – and an art form for all to enjoy.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.