Anne Laing embraces diversity with belly dancing


Students participate in Belly Dancing on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.

Shelbie Goulding

Kent State belly dancing instructor Anne Laing is embracing the diverse culture in the art of belly dancing for Kent State students this semester. The class reaches out to students who want a fun and interesting workout with a sense of style.

“Twelve years ago I took belly dancing at Kent State,” Laing said. “I’m glad the school decided to bring back a workout that educates people in the diversity of belly dancing.”

For the past three years, Laing instructed yoga sessions at One Love Yoga.

“Belly dancing is separate from yoga, but they correlate to one another,” Laing said. “Yoga helps me stay limber for belly dance.” She likes to bring yoga exercises into the class in order to keep her students limber for the movements. The majority of belly dancing involves hip movements, which can be difficult if the body is not flexible enough.

Program officer Elizabeth Michel sought out new, trendy programs to bring to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center this semester. Michel found belly dancing as a unique workout style.  

Belly dancing consists of cardio, respiratory and abdominal workouts.

“It’s a fun and educating experience,” Laing said. “People don’t realize how many cultures actually practice this type of dance, and I love educating my students about the variety of music and cultures during our sessions.”

To Laing, the class focuses on dance style over a basic workout. Laing takes her time teaching students the accurate movements rather than fast-paced movements.

“I try to educate my students rather than instruct a good workout,” Laing said.

About half a dozen people are taking the first session offered this semester.

“I’ve been looking for a class like this for a long time,” Amy Brunty, a class participant, said. “It’s a fun class to take part in, and it’s different than the other programs.”

Meme Almohojri, a class participant, enjoys the culture aspect of the class.

“I’m from the Middle East,” Almohojri said, “so the atmosphere is familiar to me.” Almohojri didn’t know the art of belly dance came from different places around the world. “I thought the dance style only came from Egypt, so it’s interesting learning about all the cultures.”

Laing brings the dance style’s culture to her students by having them dance barefoot. She also provides belly dance skirts for her students to wear at each session. She believes this makes the class more intriguing and fun.

“I’ve danced almost all my life,” Laing said. “I love being able to teach such diverse styles of dance and yoga to students willing to learn something new.”

A belly dance class is once a week and lasts six weeks for only $25 a session. Classes are taken at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Register online or stop by the Pro Shop at the Rec Center to apply.

Shelbie Goulding is the recreation reporter. Contact her at [email protected].