By Nami Nagaoka
DNA Studios not only offers tattoos, piercings and showcases an art gallery on YSU’s campus, but now there is an opportunity to attend a belly dancing class in their new belly dancing studio.
Introduction to the Dance of the Core: Bellidance, is hosted by Jennifer Neal and the Tribe of Eos.
Through the class, participants should expect to learn muscular isolations, travel patterns, rhythms and the fun that belly dancing is all about, according to the Bellidance flyer.
Neal said she has been teaching belly dancing for about 10 years.
“With belly dancing, it doesn’t matter how old you are [or] what shape you are,” she said. “Everyone can fit in and find a spot.”
She said belly dancing is a loose term and her class style is very inclusive.
“Do not be intimidated especially our style of belly dance,” Neal said. “My philosophy is no judgment.”
She said her classes are open for mainly women, but she is willing to work with men who are interested in the class.
Neal said the classes are always fun and people have built friendships and connections through belly dancing. She said she is excited to be able to teach YSU students.
“It’s almost like a support group,” she said. “They are open-minded and trying to learn.”
Brigitte Flick, a YSU alumni, said she has been belly dancing for a year and a half with Neal. She said she had never participated in sports until she started belly dancing.
“There is a lot of layering and different movement at one time,” she said.
She said it was hard for her to put herself out and move in front of other people at first, but Flick said she feels much more comfortable now and it is a good workout.
“Everybody is very open and accepting of who you are,” she said. “The class itself is fun. You are definitely learning a lot of new things you would not be doing anywhere else.”
Flick said belly dancing has helped her open up as a person and Neal is like her mentor.
“[Neal] changed my life,” she said.
Emily Stran, a YSU freshman, said she has been belly dancing for almost three years and it helps her relieve stress.
She said she had never danced before she started belly dancing because she was struggling with self-consciousness.
Stran said she became comfortable dancing in front of people quickly and the members are like family.
She said belly dancing is fun, but it is challenging and she is always learning.
Neal said her belly dancing class incorporates a lot of various songs from pop to cultural and traditional songs.
The classes are held every Tuesday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. and Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and are run in four-week sessions based on interest and participation.
There is a $12 drop-in fee for community members and a $10 drop-in fee for YSU students with a student ID.