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1. FUN – seriously, lots of fun!

2. jingles and fringe! –It’s really amazing how good they make you feel when you put on a hip-scarf with either jingly coins or silky fringe. And that's just the first level of costuming love.

3. Friends & community – meet supportive women in your local community and make friends.

4. Empowering - feel good about yourself after each class, and carry that into every day life. Learning these ancient movements makes you feel connected to your body and it's empowering.

5. For every age, shape and size – It’s one of the most accommodating form of dancing when it comes to shapes and sizes. Extra jiggles? Lucky you! A shortie? Me too! And it really doesn’t matter at all.

6. The music – Modern and traditional Middle Eastern music is so complex and exotic sounding to a Western ear. And they have funky rhythms, and time signatures like 9/8 and 10/8. It’s fun and interesting.

7. No need to show your tummy (unless you want to!) – Some have hesitation, some find it liberating.... there's room for both types in this art form.

8. Strengthen your body – Yes, you can! Belly dancing is based on isolating muscles, and learning to use them individually and together in specific ways - bet you find some you didn’t know you had! Seriously, it has positive impact on strength, stability, flexibility and hand-eye coordination.

9. Extra skills you just might pick up – sewing, beading, music editing, photo editing, video editing, stage makeup, time managing (squeezing in lessons, practice time, and rehearsals in already busy life!), budgeting (mainly for lessons and costumes), zagreet, a few Arabic words… etc.

10. Happier you – Regular exercise, especially rhythmical ones, produces endorphins in your brain, and endorphins are the happy chemical. Got a stressful job? Maybe regular dancing will help you de-stress and relax. Even if you don't as adults we wear many hats, and sometimes forget to take time for ourselves, regular classes are a block of time for you!

11. Help alleviate some prejudice - Belly dance comes from the Middle East. When learning this beautiful art form we also learn about and appreciate the people and culture from the region. Awareness and knowledge can go a long way to alleviating fear of the unknown, which is the most common reason for prejudices.

Start small. Take a few lessons and see if you like it!

Class Location: IM Gallery/Studio 233 Raritan Ave. (rear entrance) Highland Park, N.J. 08904 (908)406-6344

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