Belly dance is a form of dance that is completely natural to a women’s body, it’s very much about moving your hips and being free and allowing the belly to expand and contract just like it does in normal life,” said Raksanna, President and CEO of Raksanna Productions.
This group of women practices belly dance or oriental dance, through Raksanna Productions, a belly dancing group that teaches the fundamentals of Egyptian-style belly dance from beginners to experts through a three tier approach.
“We focus on the musicality, we focus on choreography or the movement, and then there’s that spiritual component, mind body, soul. How do you become comfortable with who you are as a person and artist?” said Raksanna.
For these women the answer to those questions are by working hard and letting their body do the talking.
Using movements like undulations and shimmies these dancers get more out of belly dancing than just a workout.
“Exercise and brain food. It really takes a lot of mental fortitude to learn all the new choreographies. For our shows, we had at least five or six choreographies in our head,” said Susan Wanger, a belly dancer with Raksanna Productions.
“It’s an opportunity especially as a dancer to touch people, to convey your emotions and show your femininity in a way that western dance doesn’t allow,” said Ruth McEachnie, another belly dancer.
But when practice is over and the costumes go on, what truly comes across the stage is the confidence the women now possess.
“When you’re up there, and with this particular form of dance, you’re up there as yourself, you can’t hide,” said Kim Cassidy, a belly dancer.
“Belly dance allows us to embrace our bodies, love our imperfections and actually celebrate them. We come into who we are, we become stronger and we become more confident in our approach, not just in general but to ourselves,” said Raksanna.
Raksanna’s touring troupe, the Desert Flames, recently won first place in an international belly dance competition in Kansas City.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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