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      Belly dancing for Christmas

      Monday, friends and family were welcomed to the Bonifas Fine Arts Center in Escanaba. It served as the stage for this yearâ??s annual Belly Dancing Christmas Recital.

      The dance students were able to show off all they have learned over the past year. Viewers were able to watch many different styles from all around the world, including sword dancing, tribal dancing, and oriental silk fans.

      Belly dance Instructor, Jeana Harmon, explains the purpose behind the class.

      â??It's just mainly building confidence and feeling good and feeling beautiful no matter what age you are or what size you are,â?? said Harmon. â??I think that's important because there's such a stereotype, and you don't have to be a size two to be beautiful.â??

      Women of all ages are encouraged to join. Currently, the Goddess Belly Dance Troupe has women as young as 17 and as experienced as 83.

      "I had no prior dance experience, which you don't need with belly dancing because when we start off, we just start off with your basic moves and then we just layer them," said sword dancer, Gayle Paquin. "And before you know it, she'll have you dancing within an hour. And it's like, oh my goodness, we're belly dancing! And that's what's the fun of it.â??

      Women join the classes for many different reasons.

      "I like the allure of the belly dancing," explained belly dancer, Tammy Fix. "All the jingles, the jangles, the make up, the fun, plus the exercise. It takes a lot more work than you think it does."As well as belly dancing, Harmonâ??s classes also focus on toning, cardio, and building lifelong friendships.

      For more information regarding classes, call the Bonifas Fine Arts Center at (906) 786-3833.