Monday, November 5, 2012

An Out-of-the Box Way to Exercise

     Beth Doyle’s day job involves working as a care manager on the intermediate care unit of Meritus Medical Center. At night and on the weekends, Beth’s free time is spent belly dancing. Widely misunderstood as a dance to entertain men, belly dancing joins women together in a celebration of music and self-expression.

     “People have a misconception of belly dancing until they come see it performed—then they view it as an art form.” Sometimes, to avoid the misleading impressions, Beth refers to herself as a “folkloric Middle Eastern dance performer.” The dance, according to Beth, lends itself to a woman's bone and muscle structure. “We’re built differently and we move differently.” Belly dancing involves all parts of the body including the torso, arms and legs.

     The moves—shimmies, hip snaps and undulations— initially didn’t come easy for Beth. But she likes moving her hips, abdominals and chest to create an excellent core workout, while improving her posture and range of motion. “Belly dancing creates self-confidence and embraces all body types,” Beth explains.

     Four years ago, Beth received a flyer that advertised belly dancing classes in Chambersburg, PA. She started taking classes and became hooked. When her instructor took time off to have a baby, a new instructor saw Beth’s talents and asked her to join a dance troupe in Chambersburg.

     Five to six nights a week, Beth takes belly dancing classes and practices for upcoming gigs. “I try to give myself one night a week off,” says Beth. Her troupe has performed in locations as far as Ocean City, MD and New Holland, PA. They provide entertainment for events ranging from corn and pumpkin festivals to breast cancer and cancer research causes.

     Beth uses veils, coin belts, and isis wings—even balances a sword on her head—to create a stunning visual dance. The drills and drum solos give Beth a great low impact workout. Whether it’s the music, choreography or body isolations, Beth is hooked on this form of Middle Eastern dancing. “It’s an artistic form of exercise and keeps me moving. Who knows, maybe I’ll teach a beginner’s class someday,” says Beth.

By: Anne Gill

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