Natalie Bibi has been teaching belly dance for about seven years but has been studying and learning this since 1999. Natalie taught English in several countries and did part of her degree in Holland. She loves to travel and during this time studied many different dance styles however belly dancing is Natalie’s main passion. “I just absolutely love it. Not just the music, the rhythms, the vibrancy and the colours that I feel and see in the music but also the movements, they just feel so very good as a woman. Just moving your hips being very elegant and the fact that you can layer them up and be a visual representation of the music as well.”
There are three variations of belly dancing with Egyptian, Turkish and Persian versions but having started a belly dancing class in Shirehampton which style is she teaching and how easy is it for everyone that attends?. “I use the Egyptian style. We can use upbeat pop music or the more traditional styles of music. We start with the very basics and it makes you aware of how your body moves naturally as a woman with a very gentle warm up. It may well incorporate some of the moves that we are going to put together in a little routine. We then learn some moves, get into the flow and practice a little bit over and over again. We put the moves together to some music and some magic happens. There are different things you can do to make it harder for yourself or easier for yourself. You’re in control of what you’re doing really and how far you want to go with it.” said Natalie
I ask about people who may have a disability, mobility or movement issue or some sort of health issue can they join in too? “I would suggest for example if you had a mobility problem from the waist down I would give you some upper body movements to do or some hand or head movements maybe. I would definitely accommodate and be accessible as possible for all abilities. It’s just whatever fits that individual so I would definitely not have anyone left out.”
If you think these belly dancing means exposing your stomach it does not and there is no need for costume either. “Wear clothes you feel comfortable in and feel warm enough in. If you have different layers then as you warm up you can take off the top layers. I can provide the hip scarves with the coins or you can bring your own favourite scarf to tie round your hips. It’s lovely because the hip scarf helps you to see, hear and feel the movement in your hips. And you can wear lots of sequins and glitter if you want and jewellery”. said Natalie
Belly Dancing classes take place on Friday’s 7th November and 5th December from 2:15 – 3:15pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Penpole Avenue, Shirehampton. Cost is £3.00.
Just turn up on the day or for further information please contact Laura Burchett on: 07930 559 293
Article & Photographs by Kathryn Courtney