Lifting spirits – Belly dancing a wellbeing boost

Anita Zacchigna clearly recalls seeing belly dancing performed for the first time.
“I was about 15 when I first saw belly dancing and I just thought ‘wow, the women in my family don’t dance like that!'” she says.
The powerful impression that the Arabic expressive dance form had on Anita as a teenager remained with her and a little later in life she would go on to learn – and then teach – the dance form herself.
“It wasn’t until after I had children that a naturopath actually suggested it for health reasons,” she says.
So Anita took lessons at a neighbourhood centre in metropolitan Melbourne where she was living at the time and enjoyed it so much she ultimately went on to teach belly dancing over many years, and to perform at venues and events ranging from cruise ships to weddings and festivals.
She also travelled to the middle east including Egypt – where belly dancing is understood to have originated – Dubai, Turkey and Morocco to deepen her knowledge and practice of the dance form.
Following a recent move from Melbourne to Trentham, Anita is now keen to share the benefits belly dancing offers with local women and this month started leading a new weekly class in Castlemaine, through Castlemaine Community House.
The classes are currently offered on Wednesdays running through to September 18 as part of the community house Semester 2 program and Anita says new participants are still welcome to attend – even if they missed the first couple of classes held so far.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says Anita who also does tarot reading in Daylesford.
Anita says belly dancing is extremely good for health and fitness, lifting the spirits and energy levels, and she loves seeing her students empowered by what it has to offer.
“I do love it. Teaching is very rewarding, just watching women come out of their shell. It really does transform and it is very powerful.”
The new Semester 2 programs offered though Maldon Neighbourhood Centre and Castlemaine Community House are diverse with short courses ranging from investing in the Australian share market to sourdough bread making, learning French language, and digital publishing just a few of the options available.

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