Discovering 'hips don't lie'

Shake Baby....

Anusha Nutoh (centre) teaching Belly dance to her students at Shimmy Belly Dance Studio, in Mysore. DH Photo by Prashanth H G

Health freaks, who have been hopping in and out of gyms to shed their extra kilos to get a dream figure like Shakira, now have the right place to lose their calories. Think no further and head straight to Shimmy Belly Dance studio in Jayalakshmipuram.

Belly dancing, which was once considered to be performed only by the beauties of Middle  Eastern countries during their traditional get togethers, was popularised by pop singer Shakira, through her various albums and concerts.

Though bollywood beauties like Helen were seen gyrating to the peppy Hindi numbers, belly dancing is being seen in a different perspective by the women now, for its various health benefits.

Anusha Nutoh, one such artiste who mesmerises the onlookers with her shakes and twirls to the perfect rhythm of the Arabian music has taken the art to another level, making belly dance ‘attractive’ for learners. She has set up the first belly dancing centre in the city in Jayalakshmipuram three weeks ago, which is receiving good response.

Speaking to City Herald, Anusha, who has completed her degree in Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics said that she was completely fascinated after watching Shakira shake her hips in the video for the song ‘Hips don’t lie’.

She decided to learn the dance and found an Iranian teacher in Bangalore, who taught her the movements.

After five years of rigorous practice under her guidance, Anusha has now opened a centre for those who love to master the movements. There are three levels in the dancing which includes beginners, intermediate and advance courses.

Explaining the dance she said it takes many different forms depending on country and religion, both in costume and dance style, which has also added new styles that has spread globally.

Belly dance which is called as ‘Raqs Sharqi’ in Arabic is more commonly performed by women where every part of the body is involved, especially the hips.

Apart from the dance the costumes used by the artistes too are very attractive and people dealing with supplying costumes and accessories for the artistes flourish in the trade.

The other form is Raqs baladi, danced socially by men and women of all ages, usually at festive occasions such as weddings.

Health benefits

Explaining the health benefits, she adds the graceful hip movements utilise the muscles in abdomen, pelvis, trunk, spine and neck, working with the body instead of against it.

Belly dancing can also burn up to 300 calories per hour depending on the intensity of your dancing. Combined with a healthy diet that involves sensible eating, Raqs Sharqi can without a doubt be part of a sound weight loss programme. For better results it can be combined with aerobic routine, on the days you don’t have class.

Your entire body will feel the benefits as the aerobic exercise works large muscle groups, and the dance enhances strength and coordination of small muscle groups in the trunk, hips, and arms.

Pregnant mothers

This form of exercise with dance play a major role during childbirth. It not only facilitates natural childbirth, but also an excellent post-natal exercise that helps encourage abdominal tone, if done gradually.

Earlier, Anusha has performed in many shows in Bangalore and Mysore, but now her total focus is on the training centre, which is receiving a fabulous response.

She has performed in the International Salsa Congress festival in 2008 and was also featured in September 2010 issue of Femina.

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