Belly dancing more than workout at this class: 'We can bring peace'

That's one goal of Shimmy, Shake & Socialize.

Andrew Kramer
May 10, 2018 - 10:43 pm

WYNNEWOOD, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — An event in Wynnewood Thursday night aimed to teach the public about belly dancing. But not just the health benefits. 

Bringing peace through belly dance was a theme of Shimmy, Shake & Socialize at the Kaiserman JCC. 

Oreet Jehassi Schwartz was one of three instructors, each with a Middle Eastern heritage.

"One from Lebanon, myself from Israel and the other from Palestine," she said. "We have been in war for many, many years, we still are, but our common denominator is the dance and we can definitely bring peace through dance. There's no hate."

They taught a handful of belly dance formats to those in attendance, who also got to learn about its history.

"[Belly dance> is about the culture and it's not about the religion," said Jehassi Schwartz. "A lot of people feel that belly dancing is an Islamic art form, and it's not. Actually, three major religions have belly dance as part of their culture."

Debunking belly dance myths was another goal of the event, as was empowering women. In fact, part of the proceeds went to Soroptimist — a volunteer organization that aims to do just that. 

You can learn more here.​