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Serena Studios: Affordable Belly Dance Classes

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I took a belly dance class in college, mainly because of my professor’s insistence and partially because of my love of shiny fabric. I was terrified at first, the only dance I’d taken was jazz in the seventh grade. My fears were assuaged after the first class. Contrary to the name, belly dancing is more about hip shaking, shimmying, circular motions and flowy arm movements than it is about bellies. And I challenge you to find a better dance accessory than scarves with jingly gold trim.

I hadn’t picked up belly dancing again since moving to NYC, mainly because I ended up with a night job. But this week, I decided it was the week to shimmy again. I went to a beginner class at Serena Studios. For lack of a better word, it was awesome. As I attempted figure eights, belly rolls, leg drops, and lotus hands, I felt tiny muscle groups I’d forgotten about stretching and flexing. The class is full of women of varying skill levels. When I told the teacher I was lost during one point, she jokingly told me that needed a GPS before showing me the proper hip pivot combination. The best part is the classes are $12, walk in, with no pre-registration required. So you don’t have to make an eight week commitment, just show up when you can. And get there early, the classes fill up quick.

Photo from

Belly Dancing by Serena Studios
939 8th Avenue #403, between 55th and 56th Streets

[Columbus Circle, Manhattan]
Check the class schedule here

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Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

After years of denial, Kiley has finally admitted to baring a striking resemblance to Velma from Scooby Doo. Instead of traveling in a van hunting ghosts, she prefers wandering on foot in search of tacos, cheap beer, and fake birds. Growing up in Portland, Kiley enjoyed the balance of urban and green spaces. Then she spent her four years at Ithaca College, and found herself craving more sprawling asphalt in her life. So she moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where most of the buildings look like they're about to collapse. Kiley's favorite activities include: getting lost, crafting, sewing, biking, and geeking out at museums. Her love of taxidermy probably makes her a terrible vegetarian, but she doesn't care.