Belly dancing gyrates to library

The sways and seductive art of belly dancing start on Sept. 27 at Madison Public Library.

The past two years, the Teen Summer Reading program has included classes. However, numerous adults attended this summer’s session. “Everyone was so enthusiastic. It (was) a really great workout and fun,” youth services librarian Maggie Allen said.

“We’re lucky enough to have an amazing member of Friends of the Madison Library, Liz Butler, who’s willing to teach the classes,” Allen said. Through 2012, classes will meet on the last Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. Classes are free.

Except for the Madison class, Butler currently is on a teaching sabbatical. Previously, she taught belly dancing classes with Huntsville Studio Nomadic Tapestry. Butler also co-hosts the Garden Rangers program and is co-caretaker with husband Dave for Madison Children’s Garden – A Living Library.

“Liz is a true renaissance woman,” Allen said.

The dance form of belly dancing originated in the Middle East. The styles, especially costuming, vary greatly in Turkey, Egypt and other countries to satisfy social practices and even tourist expectations, Allen said.

Beginners are welcome to attend. “It’s not required to attend a class each month, but it would definitely help. It definitely takes practice,” Allen said.

The library plans to buy some DVD titles for a take-home-and-practice option.

In class, Butler focuses on different individual skills. “Each skill and technique really uses muscles that we don’t use on a daily basis,” Allen said. “Lots of brain work is going on to have your body do this unusual activity.”

To master the technique, a student’s body gets a true, physical workout. “By the end of the session, Liz brings everything together. You definitely feel like you’ve had a workout,” Allen said.

Clothing worn for yoga is suitable for class. “Liz has some accessories to get into the feel of belly dancing, like bells and sashes. Comfortable clothes and bare feet are key,” she said.

Teenagers and adults are welcome. Registration is not required.

For more information, call Allen at 256-461-0046 or send email to mallen@hmcpl.org.

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