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Now, while we dance

Come here to us

gentle Gaiety,

                Revelry, Radiance

 

and you, Muses

with lovely hair.

--Sappho

Oriental Dance Teaching Statement

by Melina/Melinda Marsh Heywood

 

I like students to enter the flow of dance right from the start.  While technique is a very important aspect of my class and I take time to carefully break down and explain new moves, I find it equally crucial to immerse even beginner students in the stream of those movements, letting their bodies interpret & feel the music & experience the dance in as organic and unselfconscious a way as possible – the way I learned it as a child from my mother.  Adjusted for the level of dancers,  my classes focus on combining moves and performing them to Middle Eastern, Turkish, North African, or Pop-style Techno-Belly Tunes.  Just as I draw on many dance forms and styles in my teaching – from jazz to funk to folk dance -- I also celebrate musical eclecticism.

 There is fast work, where shimmies, spins, rapid-fire hip work, flamenco-style stamping and even leaps come into play.  There is also the slow, more lyrical snake-like action of the body and its parts.  There is absolute stillness.  There are spinal undulations and chest and hip isolations which are challenging and require a student’s commitment to mastering dance technique, and there are also moments of letting go and allowing the body’s natural vitality and life-force come out in wild, untamed & self-expressive ways. 

How you dance all depends on your goals as a dancer, the music & context of your dance, or your mood.   It is my goal to share my enjoyment of this ancient dance form with you.  Oriental Dance is a dance that  uncovers your most authentic, ecstatic self and taps into your primal wisdom.  Carpe-bellyum!

 

More about Melina  and check her performance schedule.

Melina's Oriental Dance Mission Statement.  

Melina's profiles in Wellesley magazine and the Boston Globe.

Melina's personal essay Dancing From the Belly.