Thursday, 19 March 2009

Belly Dancing With More Belly

Reported by: Lauren Gress
Published: March 2, 2008

COLUMBIA - The ancient art of belly dancing is making a comeback in Mid-Missouri and perhaps via an unlikely group with more belly than some would expect.

Women practice belly dancing in dance studios all across the country, not just in Columbia. However, the participants in belly dance classes here are expectant or new mothers.

"I like the fact that I am getting back into shape after my pregnancy," dancer Jaime Farris said.

After having her first child, Dee Dee Farris-Folkerts began taking belly dancing lessons.

"I saw a tremendous difference in what birth was like after taking belly dance classes and building that mind-body connection," Farris-Folkerts said. "And thats where a real light bulb went off for me."

So a few years ago she began to teach belly dancing classes to pregnant women and the classes grew to include new mothers as well. Motherhip Belly dance was born and Farris-Folkerts had combined her love of belly dance and midwifery to help new moms and moms-to-be stay strong.

But Farris-Folkerts is not the first to use belly dance to help ease labor pains. Some historians say belly dance originated not as the sensual dance it has become in modern culture, but as a way for women to connect with other women and prepare their bodies for childbirth.

"As I became more involved in belly dance, parallels began to grow and grow," Farris-Folkerts said.

But learning how to move their bodies isn't the only reason women enjoy the Motherhip classes. It is practical for pregnant women to get a little bit of exercise and the dancing helps with balance.

"I'm excited to be able to take the class so that I can help my body be able to turn and move," dancer Anita Lee said.

Despite all the physical benefits of the class, the best part for women may just be getting time to prepare for their babies or spending time with their newborns.

The Motherhip classes take place every Friday evening and new women are always welcome.

Source: KOMU

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