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Belly dancing offers health benefits, makes OKC comeback


Krista Nightengale March 8th, 2007

Though in her 60s, Soraya al Musri of Aalim Dance Academy Inc. in Oklahoma City hasn't stopped belly dancing.   "As long as a woman has got the dedication or desire to do this and put her heart and so...

Though in her 60s, Soraya al Musri of Aalim Dance Academy Inc. in Oklahoma City hasn't stopped belly dancing.
 
"As long as a woman has got the dedication or desire to do this and put her heart and soul into it, she can be beautiful in her own way, because it comes from the inside," she said. "The older woman who has seen life has more to give to the dance, because she's got more of herself to give."
 
She said it's not important for a woman to be 20 years old and weigh 100 pounds, because belly dancing is for everyone.
 
ANYONE CAN DO IT
Heide Brandes said she never thought she could be a belly dancer, but then she tried it and discovered she was wrong.
 
"It's a difficult skill," Brandes said. "But if you're a woman, you can belly dance. That's the flat-out truth about it. Every single woman can belly dance. It was a dance created by women for women."
 
HEALTH BENEFITS
Al Musri said she saw a decline of interest in the dance after the Eighties. But now, attendance is on the rise, mainly because women are realizing the activity's health benefits. Brandes said she lost 30 pounds from belly dancing.
 
"I think it's great exercise, because you forget it's exercise," Brandes said. "It's so much fun that you don't even look at it as exercise."
 
The body-friendly dance form also has another benefit: It increases women's self-esteem.
 
"It touches something in your soul," Brandes said. "It makes you feel beautiful when you move beautifully." "Krista Nightengale
 
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