The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students exercise with belly dancing

Belly dancing originated in the Middle East as an exercise to prepare women for childbirth. While most of the attendees in the Oct. 8 night’s belly dancing short course weren’t preparing for childbirth, they certainly did get some exercise.

The University Student Union organized the hour-long Belly Dancing for Beginners class as part of their ongoing series of Life Skills and Leadership Short Courses.

The class, taught by belly dancer and strength trainer Ossana Terterian, was from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Grand Salon at the University Student Union. About 27 people showed up, mostly female, and spent an hour learning various steps and movement from traditional belly dancing routines.

The class participants formed two lines, took off their shoes and warmed up by shaking their arms. The teacher introduced a shoulder shimmy, hip lift, snake arms and a move called “the camel.”

Middle Eastern fusion music played softly in the background, and as the participants became more confident with their new moves, they felt the effects of belly dancing as a fitness routine.

“Belly dancing tones your whole mid-section, especially the core, and it helps digestion,” Terterian said. “A small percentage (of women) use certain exercises more as stress relief. It’s a great thing because you have to concentrate a lot on the moves.”

Belly dancing moves require many muscles to work in coordination with each other. While a dancer shimmies her hips, she might also be lifting and swiveling her arms, flattening and raising her hands, and lifting her pelvis.

“It’s better than a workout. It was fantastic,” said Mayra Alvarado, a junior pre-med student. “I just love world culture and belly dancing is a great form of communication.”

“With practice, you get it,” Terterian said. “But some of the moves you do have to practice and not give up.”

As a thank-you incentive for participants, the USU purchased five hip scarves to raffle to the participants. A hip scarf is a beaded or jeweled type of wrap worn around the dancer’s hips, which often has bells or coins sewed on to it that make an enticing jingle when shaken.

As part of a larger incentive for participants in all of the USU’s short course programs, participants of every short course will be entered into a raffle to win either semester passes to the CSUN Fitness Center or a $50 gift card to the Matador bookstore.

“We did a lot of research to see what type of classes people want us to bring on to campus,” said Hamid Jahangard, Program Coordinator for Training and Development at the USU.

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