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Shimmy your way to fitness

Published:Monday | May 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM
The workshop is a great workout and also allows women to feel sexy.
In addition to belly dancing, participants will also learn a few Bhangra moves.
In addition to belly dancing, participants will also learn a few Bhangra moves.
Shari-Lee Perrin (front) and Gabrielle Beckford of Raks Sharki Jamaica. - Photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

Nashauna Drummond, Lifestyle Coordinator

How many of you would love to learn how to move like Colombian singer Shakira, and show that your hips don't lie?

Well, here is your opportunity to shimmy your way to a sexier and healthier you. From May 3 to 26, Gabrielle Beckford and Shari-Lee Perrin of Raks Sharki Jamaica, will be conducting their second 'shimmy workshop' at Body Pro Gym in Baron's plaza, along Constant Spring Road.

"I have always been interested in Eastern culture - Indian dance styles and Middle Eastern dance, Japanese fan dancing and, of course, belly dancing, because to me that's most fun," Beckford told Flair as the duo demonstrated some of what participants will learn at the workshop.

Falling in love

While on vacation in Atlanta in 2008, Beckford attended a belly dancing class and fell in love with the art. After taking classes in a fusion of belly dancing and Bhangra (an Indian form of dance), she found that she couldn't get enough.

After consistent practise and fine-tuning what she learned, she taught her friend, Shari-Lee Perrin what she knew.

Beckford has now brought her knowledge of these dances to Jamaica hoping that others will also be bitten by the dancing bug.

"We don't think a dance genre should only be confined to one particular region because sometimes people want to see and experience something different in the comfort of their own 'yaad'; and we know there are persons in Jamaica that think like us and like to be different. So we decided to be innovative and bring something different to the list of dance genres available in Jamaica."

The workshop will be focused on belly dancing with a few Bhangra moves, and it is for everyone. Beckford sees it as a great, fun way to exercise utilising what for most women is a problem area, their abs.

"In our past workshops, persons told us that they felt like they had a full workout. Belly dance enables a woman to feel sexy, and who doesn't want to feel good about their body? These dance styles create intrigue and mystery, helping a woman to understand the power of her body."

Beckford's hope is that these dance forms will become more popular in Jamaica as they offer so many benefits.