Belly Dancing Sheds the Pounds

by Michelle Fourroux
Gusher Newspaper 2014

Lora Richmond has a group fitness certification and personal trainers certification from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Her business is Shake It! - Dance and Fitness Studio, 21 East 2nd Street, in Sand Springs. The classes involve body sculpting, yoga, fitness training, and belly dance. The classes promote wellness and movement for bodies of every size and shape.
Belly dancing and getting fit are a perfect match. The music and hip-swaying dance rhythms lead to a special movement that is fun with the end result of getting fit. The method is for a wide range of ages. "The youngest client I have had is 10 years old," said Lora. "The oldest I've had so far is age 76. Thus, I'd say the classes are for all ages, all levels and for men as well as women. Personally, I got started in 2005 as I was looking to get my body back in shape when my son was two-years old. That's when the light bulb went off, and I thought belly dance would be a great class to shed those extra pounds. Belly dancing is also a good cardio program. The dance is a beautiful and creative art form that aids in the low impact exercise category. The dance covers weight loss, stress relief, improvement in balance, endurance, flexibility, muscle tone and coordination. Starting in my thirties, I never ever thought I would be doing belly dancing. Health and fitness are a major focus in my life. I like helping my clients regain a zest for life."
Some have said that belly dancing began in Northern Africa with both men and women of all ages and sizes participating. Others have said the dance style comes from such countries as Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and the Arabian Gulf area. The dance can be a spiritual connection between the body and mind. There have been studies which indicate that dancing has helped some patients with Parkinson's disease to find some relief from their symptoms to maintain a better quality of life. Dancing can help those with a debilitating disease recognize themselves as a dancer rather than a patient. One study found that "exercise alters the way that people use dopamine, a neurotransmitter critical for movement," said Dr. Claire Henchcliffe, a neurologist and director of the Parkinson's Disease & Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Those with Parkinson's disease often do not produce adequate dopamine. So even if we don't make enough dopamine, exercise helps us make more of what we've got."
Besides belly dancing, Lora teaches other classes, too. Yoga classes are for stretching and fitness, and relaxation. This is a good class to put on the agenda for the New Year. There are also boot camp style classes that do not involve dancing. These classes are for Fab Abs and Booty focusing on core and glute muscles, the derriere, and Bunz and Gunz for the legs, glutes and arms. There are two classes that combine both dance and fitness. Zumba in the Circuit involves dancing along with circuit training using special equipment. The Flirty Fit Class which is a mix of flirty, fun dance moves combined with toning and strength training for the entire body.
"The classes are one-hour and ongoing," indicated Lora. "Come in and sign up to try a class. I have a special punch card for eight classes for $40. The card never expires. The card can be used for any class. There is a monthly calendar of the various classes on http://<a></a> and on the web at http://<a></a>. If you Like us on Facebook, the first class is free. The classes are Monday through Thursday and Saturday. You can also schedule private lessons with her or personal training sessions. $35/hour or 4/$100. Give me a call at 918-519-4347 for any questions about the classes or to schedule a session."
If you want to see Lora in action, she has been performing at belly dance festivals for eight years. Some of the festivals where she has performed includes Mayfest, Octoberfest, and at the Blue Dome Arts Festival. She has danced in many Summer Stage events at The Tulsa Performing Arts Center. She has been nominated for the Performance Artist of the Year at the RAW Artists competition in Tulsa. She was also selected, as a belly dancer, to perform at the 1st Annual Oklahoma City Burlesque Festival. During January, she will be performing in Ft. Worth, TX.
Lora said for fun and stress relief she works out; but, she also does gardening and enjoys spending time at home. Most important, she spends her free time with her son who is age 11 and her family. She grew up in Sand Springs and is a 1993 Charles Page High School graduate. Her son attends Garfield Elementary in Sand Springs. She gives back to the community by being a member of the Sand Springs Women's Chamber organization.




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