Columbia County residents looking for some new dance moves can try belly dancing.
"It's fun," said Jezibell Anat, who teaches belly dancing classes in Evans. "It's great for fitness, and it works for different body types."
Anat started teaching the classes this year at Ballroom Dance Center at 525 Grand Slam Drive. She also has taught at the Augusta Jewish Community Center, where she plans to resume classes in the fall.
In 2007, Anat moved to the area from New York, where she studied cabaret belly dancing and began teaching in 1996.
She said the hourlong classes are open to teens and adults with any skill level. The courses are not designed as a series, so anyone is free to join at any time, she said.
Dancers will learn basic belly dancing steps, including hip motions and proper posture techniques, Anat said.
"We always start with warm-up, breakdown of the steps and usually do a combo of upper body and some lower body," she said.
The classes are offered on Mondays at noon and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Each class costs $10.
The Monday classes focus on technique, movements and combinations of classic cabaret belly dance, while the Saturday classes lean more toward exploring the movements of belly dance with mindfulness and creative interpretation, according to Anat's Web site.
"It's very integrated in the sense that it does work the entire body and probably gets the muscles that you don't normally work, especially in the core," she said.
There are no dress requirements, and participants are free to wear T-shirts and shorts to class, she said.
They dance to a mixture of Middle Eastern and Western-style music.
Anat formed a belly dance company, called Eastern Star Dance Theatre, in November.
"This area just does not have that same kind of belly dance scene (as New York), so I'm still working on finding places to perform and also to establish belly dancing as an art," she said.
The six-member dance company performs during every First Friday in downtown Augusta and has put on shows in Columbia County during Art in the Park, Augusta Preparatory Day School's ArtsFest and at the Augusta Jewish Community Center.
For more information about the classes or the dance company, e-mail Anat at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.myspace.com/easternstardancetheatre .
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.