LIMA — Lori Naseelah turned to belly dancing after a car wreck when she was younger.
“By the time I was 24-25, I was having a lot of mobility issues from soft tissue damage. My chiropractor said you have to start doing things to increase your mobility or you’re not going to have your mobility anymore,” said Naseelah.
She looked over the list the chiropractor gave her and on that list was belly dancing.
She first learned belly dancing through watching VHS tapes but about the time she wore those tapes out, she decided to take a Middle Eastern folk dance class at a local YMCA.
“You perform a couple of times with shiny stuff and you’re hooked,” she said.
Naseelah and her friend Mandy started Troupe Zephyr and they and other belly dancing enthusiasts perform all over the area including, Fort Wayne, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Naseelah, who is now a grandmother, performed Sunday at Vino Bellissimo in Lima with other belly dancing students.
“It’s kind of an informal sort of show,” said Carissa Reinicke, co-owner of Vino Bellissimo. “These women get together and they learn belly dance together and they want to have spaces to perform and we have kind of the perfect venue for that. So we’re one of the spaces where they come and perform. They sort of are dancing for each other as much as they are for our guests. One of the interesting things about belly dance is that it originally was created by women for women as a way to celebrate womanhood and femininity.”
Naseelah said the general public often doesn’t understand the art of belly dancing.
“I think it’s a common misconception that people think ‘oh belly dancers’ and they equate it with stripping or pole dancing and it’s not it. Belly dance, what we know it as in the West, is an amalgamation of different folk dances and regional dances that are done all throughout the Mediterranean, Middle East, Northern Africa,” said Naseelah.
She also said there’s nothing wrong with pole dancing.
“You know what? Props to those ladies. I can’t hold myself on that pole to save myself. I tried once — fell on my head — never doing it again,” she said.
Naseelah teaches belly dance at The Yoga Tree on Allentown Road. A new class will start March 4. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.