In the Ottoman Empire, belly dancers acted as spies, shimmying past oblivious guards and rappelling down palace walls with long, flowing scarves. Today's Groupon lets you embody the intrigue and danger of the discipline while getting a great full-body workout. For $24, you get four consecutive weekly classes of introductory tribal-fusion belly dance from Memphis Raqs, a $48 value. Intro to Belly Dance classes are offered Sunday afternoons and Monday and Thursday evenings at the airy, comfortable Memphis Dance Oasis, a studio built specifically for belly dance just outside Bartlett. Check out the class schedule for start times. This Groupon must be redeemed within three months.
American Tribal Style belly dance shirks strict choreography and instead emphasizes smooth improvisation and spontaneous group collaboration. Memphis Raqs blends elements from traditional American Tribal with moves and costuming from other Asian, African, and even modern American dances. The outcome is a unique, glittery harmony between individual and group expression.
In four weeks, you'll learn the basics of muscle isolation, dance posture, and basic hip and shoulder shimmies. You'll come to feel the whole of your body as never before, rippling and flowing from fingertip to hip. Most importantly, you'll get a taste of the supportive community bond that tribal dancers forge with one another. Weekly classes are capped at 10 to ensure you'll get plenty of individual attention. Memphis Raqs' passionate instructors welcome dancers and non-dancers from all levels of experience and ability, from those who leap, loft, or spin themselves to work, to those with three lead feet.
The notion of tribe also extends into Memphis Raqs' performances. Its periodic Dance from the Heart benefit show has raised money for victims of the 2004 South Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina survivors, and, on March 20, will do so again for the people of Haiti. You can learn more about it and the company on its Facebook page.
Though there aren't any reviews of its classes, Facebook fanatics sing the praises of Memphis Raqs' performances:
2964 Stage Plaza North
Bartlett, Tennessee 38134Get Directions