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Want To Learn to Belly Dance?

Classes Going On Now Through Essexville/Hampton Community Education Dept

November 29, 2007       Leave a Comment
By: Julie McCallum, Entertainment Editor

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Interested in taking Belly Dance classes? Classes are being held at Garber High School in Bay City by instructor and troupe director, Megan Rodriguez, who is also the creator of "The Belly Dance Divas." Rodriguez says it's an opportunity for women to dance and get fit, while learning a new technique, in a fun and stress-free environment.

Mrs. Rodriguez is a Saginaw native of Greek descent, had been dancing from early childhood, performed statewide for many years with a local Greek dance troupe, and has been around belly dancers since a young age. She began belly dancing in 1985 and danced with the Habibi Dancers of Lansing, MI.

After moving back to Saginaw in 1996, and the birth of her son, she explored the possibility of taking classes from experienced local instructors or joining a troupe. The lack of opportunities prompted her to create Hip Hop Belly Dance in 2002.

Hip Hop Belly Dance incorporates traditional belly dance moves with more non-traditional and modern American, Arabic and Greek music. The music is all up-beat and hip. It is an excellent form of low-impact exercise.

All that is required is a positive attitude and the desire to learn, you must be at least 13 years old. Rodriguez said, "I have had ladies up to 70 years old and as young as 13."

Rodriguez said, "This dance form is a great cardio work-out, it strengthens and tones your whole body and makes you work muscles you never thought you had." The DIVAS promote belly dance as an art form which showcases the beauty of being a woman.

Friendships are made, bonds are created, and a sister-hood is formed. Most of all - it empowers a woman. It builds an even greater self confidence, makes them aware that their body is beautiful no matter what age, shape, or size they are! Plus, it's just a whole lot of fun!

(Left) Belly Dancers, Marci Cotter and Jolie Ekkens both of Bay City.

According to Rodriguez, the response has been overwhelming, from one small class Hip Hop Belly Dancing has evolved to offering four levels, from beginning to advanced, with over 175 women taking classes weekly, and the formation of a troupe called the 'Belly Dance Divas', Michigan's largest belly dance troupe.

The Belly Dance Divas are a professional dance company and have a unique style all their own. Their performances are fun, exciting and an excellent form of family entertainment. This makes the Belly Dance Divas very venue specific. They perform in such venue types as stage productions, corporate and charitable events, art fairs, and other Troupe events.

On June 28 the dancers will perform at Garber High School auditorium. "There is also a ladies cruise on the Princess Wenona on the day of the recital from 1 to 4pm. It's a lot of fun and the public is welcome", said Rodriguez.

Hip Hop Belly Dance has become the hottest trend and is one of most fun fitness classes to take in the Tri-City area.

Classes are also offered through the Saginaw Township Community Education Department and other Tri-City area locations.

Bay City classes are held at Garber High School. For more information call Essexville Hampton Community Education Dept. at 989-894-9718 or register on-line at

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