Trial week: Exploring SFU Recreation’s dance offerings

Dance your way to fitness with Bollywood, Latin Fusion, and Belly Dancing.

Dancing nurtures the mind, body, and spirit. — Photo: SFU Recreation

By: Lubaba Mahmud, Staff Writer

SFU Recreation’s Trial Week allows students to try any program offered by SFU Recreation free of charge. This allows students, staff, and community members to try new ways to get active, meet new friends, and have fun. As someone who struggles with exercising everyday, Trial Week seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out new forms of dance and get a fun workout in. 

The first class I tried was the Bollywood/Latin Fusion dance class. The instructor, Hasini, started the class by giving us a brief overview of the history and style of Latin and Bollywood dance. Hasini emphasized that this class would mostly focus on simple, fun, and vibrant Bollywood dance routines. Since she made sure that the choreography was easy to follow for everyone, we all caught on and got in the groove quite quickly. Even though the class was essentially an hour-long dance party, it was not vigorously exhausting because Hasini included a lot of simple yet up-beat dance moves. This was great for beginners still building up their stamina. 

For those that are interested, the Bollywood/Latin Fusion class takes place in the Fitness Studio on Burnaby campus on Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The semesterly registration fee for this class is approximately $60.

Belly Dance was the other class I tried. Sofia, our instructor, introduced us to a class that would focus on a modern fusion version of this Middle Eastern style of dance. Throughout the class, Sofia explained to students which of the rhythms were Turkish, Egyptian, Lebanse, and so on. Sofia also expressed to us that she strives to create a welcoming atmosphere in the class and that there is no single proper way of belly dancing. Instead, participants are encouraged to find their own style within the genre. The strength of Sofia’s teaching style was her ability to provide very clear instructions while introducing us to such a wide range of unique dance moves. 

On the day I attended, participants were also given pieces of colourful fabric to use as part of one of the dance routines. The description of Belly Dance on the SFU Recreation website notes that participants will experience a class that “emphasizes rhythmic expression, while strengthening the core and improving flexibility” by having students perform “basic shimmies, undulations and figure eights.” So, while belly dancing is definitely a fun way to get some exercise and learn about Middle Eastern culture, it also requires more energy than the other forms of dance I tried during Trial Week. Having said that, Sofia is a very helpful instructor that is able to adjust the intensity of the class according to the stamina level of the students that are present on a given day.  

If you want to give it a shot, the Belly Dance class takes place in the Fitness Studio at Burnaby campus on Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The semesterly registration fee for this class is, like the Bollywood/Latin Fusion class, approximately $60.