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News stories tagged with "middle-eastern"

Juanita Babcock, bellydancing instructor. Photo: Kimberly Doerr
Juanita Babcock, bellydancing instructor. Photo: Kimberly Doerr

Profile of a Belly Dancing Troupe in the North Country: A feeling of freedom

For over 25 years Juanita Babcock has been teaching belly dancing to a group of women on Wednesday evenings, in the community room of the First Presbyterian Church in Potsdam. Some of the women have been with Juanita for almost a decade, others are just beginners.

They leave their jobs or school, and at 6 o'clock begin to wander into the wide, open room. Each woman grabs a coin-covered hip scarf from a basket Juanita has brought in, ties it around her waist, and they keep dancing until the church choir kicks them out for rehearsal. Juanita says belly dancing is for all ages--she's had a 78-year-old woman take lessons, and a current member of her group began when she was just eleven.

Juanita started belly dancing in 1973 when she was living in Ulster County. When she first started offering classes in the late eighties, the belly dancing landscape here in the North Country was pretty barren. But since then, belly dancing classes and groups have popped up all over. Producer Natasha Haverty came to one of Juanita's rehearsals and has this profile.  Go to full article

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