dateline: February 2002
Brantford, Ontario -- Many an eyebrow has been raised in and around the “quiet” city of Brantford. With immense popularity, women everywhere are shaking down the town with the ancient art of belly dance, more officially known as Middle Eastern dance.

“This is one of the most natural forms of exercise that is uniquely designed for the female body,” says Teacher, Dancer, Choreographer Karima Helou. “Absolutely it offers fitness aspects in terms of building greater inner-strength and flexibility...women can also expect decreased tension and stress, with a fantastic experience in learning an ancient art form.”

In a well-planned belly dance session, a participant can expect to be guided through slow and easy warm-up movements while soft theme music plays in the background. This is followed by an understandable explanation of several belly dance movements which is then put into practice. As the movements gradually intensify, so does the tac-a-tac of a drum and jingle of coin belts as students enjoy activating each part of their body in every direction physically possible; in lofty, flowing movements alternated with shaking and shimmy type motion that appear to defy natural ability. This is followed by cool down stretches and deep breathing exercises.

Although opinions many vary as to the ease of this dance, Karima maintains a teaching method which balances both fun and challenge. Her successful experience in high school up to senior's centre environments prove that women from all generations can enjoy the benefits of this dance.

Karima offers ten week sessions with a fully trained and qualified instructor, for all levels from beginner to specialization. Her studios also arranges private lessons for specially choreographed solos, which are uniquely designed to compliment each individual student.

See lesson schedule for more information (SCHEDULE).
Want to know more? There is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, so google some of these titles to get your own copy:

Karima's Recommended Readings for Belly Dancers:

The Secret Language of Belly Dancing by Maria Strova.
edition: 2005

Grandmother's Secret: The Ancient Rituals and Healing Power of Belly Dancing by Rasina-Fawzia Al-Rawi
edition 2003

A Woman's Book of Power: Using Dance to Cultivate Energy and Health in Mind, Body and Spirit by
Karen Andes
edition 1998

The Compleat (sp: Complete) Belly Dancer by Julie Russo Mishkin and Marta Schill. The title of this book has a spelling error but it is still a good book and has often been copied or elaborated upon by other authors. From what I understand, the lady who put together this book put everything she had into it and is one of the first innovators for our art.
First edition: 1973

Serpent of the Nile: Women and Dance in the Arab World by Wendy Buonaventura
edition 1989, 1994, 1998

The Belly Dance Book: Rediscovering the Oldest Dance. Edited by Tazz Richards
edition 2000

When The Drummers Were Women: A spiritual history of rhythm by Layne Redmond
edition 1997

The Tribal Bible: Exploring the Phenomenon that is American Tribal Style Bellydance by Kajira Djoumahna.
edition 2003

Others to Explore:
Sand Dance by Bruce Kirkby
Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Beauty and the East by Wendy Buonaventura
Dance as a Healing Art by Anna Halprin: