Whatcom Fitness now offering belly dancing classes
By Joyce Khoury
Joyce Khoury is a senior at Blaine high school and comes from the oldest city in the world, Byblos, Lebanon. She was born in Lynden and moved to Lebanon at the age of two but returned to Whatcom County with her family in 2003. She currently works at her parent’s business, Crazy Dazy Texaco on D Street and enjoys reading and practicing her French and Arabic language skills.
The upbeat drums and sensual rhythm of the oud, a Middle Eastern guitar, spark up the room with the surroundings of Middle-Eastern music, while Annyse Rayne rapidly and gently moves one shoulder forward and backward and the other moves inversely in a move called the shoulder shimmy. She then effortlessly glides into the same motion, only this time using her hips instead of shoulders, in a move called the hip shimmy.
Rayne is a belly dance instructure who recently began teaching a belly dancing fitness class at Whatcom Fitness and Physical Therapy center in Blaine.
For Rayne, belly dancing is a celebration of femininity, because the form of the dance is specialized for a woman’s body. She began teaching her “Belly Dancing To Fitness” class at Whatcom Fitness about five months ago for women of all ages.
The class is designed to teach some basic movements of belly dancing while concentrating on the fitness level, and offers a wide range of moves and styles, she said.
“One of them is the snake arms which consists of moving the arms in a snake wave,” Rayne said. “Another is the hip circle which consists of moving the hips in a horizontal fashion.”
Belly dancing includes a wide variety of different oriental dances originating from all over the Middle-East, each having different sensual and beautiful aspects. Persian, Lebanese, Turkish, and Egyptian are a few of many styles of belly dancing that Rayne’s students explore during her class.
Rayne said she first discovered her passion for belly dancing while she was in college in Canada. She had been attending a fair, and says that she was fascinated by the dancers and the way the women were able to move their bodies.
She took several belly dancing classes in White Rock and other Canadian cities. Once she enrolled in the classes, she said she eventually noticed an increase of self-esteem and self-confidence, which lead to her giving classes and performing in front of live audiences. Rayne still continues her education, concentrating on a more advanced level.
Rayne said with enough people interested in the art of belly dance, she hopes to start another class that will focus on more traditional dancing, and concentrate on a wider variety of movements.
Rayne is also planning to teach students the philosophy of dance, which to Rayne is celebrating the feminine spirit. Another goal is to perform more often, at different venues, in hopes that more people will understand belly dancing as a form of art.
Rayne’s class is offered 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays at Whatcom Physical Therapy and Fitness Center in Blaine. She can be reached at 360 778-3319. Her website is www.goldengoddess.ca.
Whatcom Physical Therapy and Fitness Center is located at 250 G St. in Blaine and can be reached at 360/332-8167.