Belly dance focuses on isolating the torso, much like how isolating genetic codes tends to inspire DNA double-helixes to undulate seductively. Unlock sultry sequencing with today's Groupon: for $15, you get four belly-dancing classes from Amaya Productions (a $35 value). Classes are taught on Thursdays at 6 p.m. at the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center.
Amaya uses her 30 years of dance instruction to lead aerobic stomach-shifting seminars that are accessible to all levels of fitness and dancing ability. Melodious tunes accompany 50-minute workouts that tone abdominal, arm, leg, and neck muscles with this centuries-old style of feminine expression. Though the sensuous belly rolls, hip drops, and shoulder shimmies appear effortless, dancers will isolate core muscles to perform each gesture with precision and hone bodies into lean, serpentine shapes perfect for catching field mice or navigating gutters. Participating performers are encouraged to wear comfortable attire that allows the body to stretch (hip scarves will be provided), and should wear soft shoes or dance in bare feet since tennis shoes are not allowed.
Internationally acclaimed dancer Amaya isn't regretful of her romantic impulse to run away and join the circus, a decision that sparked her notable and diverse career. The passionate performer was awarded Dancer of the Year by the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance in 1998, and her documentary _Gypsy Fire_—which explores Spanish gypsy dancing—earned Amaya a Giza Award. Now, she channels more than 30 years of teaching experience and knowledge of several international dances, including Mexican folk, African, and a rare form of hot potato, into her dance classes. During these sessions, she overhauls boring cardio routines with basic belly-dancing techniques and Danza Mora moves—a marriage of Arabic and Spanish gypsy dance—which she infuses with cultural insights, inspiring philosophies, and nutrition advice. She also hosts women-only dance retreats to distant locales, during which she grants participants one-on-one dance training, spiritual guidance, and other opportunities such as the chance to observe a private Native American ceremonial harvest dance.
Amaya also believes in empowering young girls and women to reach their full potential. A portion of her DVD sales benefit The Girl Effect, a charity dedicated to empowering women and fighting for equal rights across the globe.