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"Love Dance"
International Belly Dancers Perform in Seoul's Hongdae
Photos by Adrie Erasmus
By Benedict Pather
Staff Reporter
Photo by Adrie Erasmus, Columnist & Photo Journalist

Members of The Seoul Times recently got invited to attend a belly dancing evening enitled "Love Dance" at club Bowie situated around the vibrant Hongdae University. An intimate mood was set with candles glowing and multi-coloured Middle Eastern paintings positioned all over the venue.

Dancers from Canada, Japan and the Well-Being belly dancing studio paraded their sensual, sometimes fast energetic movements to a collection of recorded and live music sets. Hypnotic rotating hips and vivid garmets were swug around as the graceful dancers kept the audience captivated and entertained all the way through.

Canadian born dance instructor "Eshe" has been dancing for over six years. "I saw an advertisement in Metropolis Magazine in Tokyo, and thought I'd give it a try," she said. "Since, then I have danced in Egypt, Canada, Korea, Japan and I've recently did an interview with a magazine in Russia, I also hope to do a workshop in China later this year."

A full time dance instructor at Well Being Studio in Itaewon, "Eshe" said that "belly dancing utlises most of the body muscles that don't get used too often in everyday life, my interpretation is, that it is more a kind of moving yoga."

Photo by Adrie Erasmus, Columnist & Photo Journalist

A kind of free spirituality in the movement was reinforced by this month's visiting dancer "Wakako," from Tokyo, Japan.

"It is not so much a case of just 'dancing,' to the music for me, but more important that I 'feel' the music." She said. "I love Middle Eastern music, and aspects of its culture, belly dancing is a great release for me, I feel very happy and free when I'm dancing, I hope to express and transmit that to my audience through movement."

Among the evening's performance were local dancers from the "Bellya Dance Studio" in Gangnam, Seoul. The highlight of the evening, and final performance was from Juyeon Lee, an instructor at the Bellya Studio, whose colourful flair and free-flowing style, responded with an amazing sense of timing on the finger symbols, in unison to the incredible sound of the live solo hand drum accompaniment.

The set was totally improvised, and more a stream of consciousness, than a choreographed piece, with both the dancer and percussionist, playing and responding to each other. This made the evening not only a delight to watch or merely a subject of the male gaze, but also to hear these astonishing rhythmic patterns being delivered in such a way, was truly fantastic.

The success of the monthly Love Dance evening at Hongdae's Bowie, has culminated through many years of hard work by the dancers and their studios. Instructor Eshe, commented, " the belly dancing scene in Korea is still very young and continuing to develop." She added," I hope things continue to grow and that "Love Dance" can help bring more belly dancers together."

Fellow dancers and instructors, "Shakti" and "Guzelle" aka Su-Jin Han and Kyung-Eun Kim, from the Bellya studio, have been belly dancing for four and three years respectively.

They said that they became belly dancers not only because "it expresses the beauty and femininity of the female form", but, also "it is, very good for the health and well being of the body."

The two dancers say they practice at least six hours a day, which helps them maintain their shapely figures, keeping them in excellent condition, as well as experimenting with new moves and techniques.

Love Dance is held on the 1st Saturday of every month at club Bowie. For more information on the monthly event or on how to sign up for belly dancing classes visit http://wellbeingstudio.com/ or visit instructor Eshe's website at http://eshebellydancer.com



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Mr. Benedict Pather is a South African Journalist and reporter for the Seoul Times. He mostly writes about events relating to Seoul's foreign communities. His hobbies include listening to music and travelling.

 

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