Bellydance fitness

By Cristina Aguirre

Scarves embroidered with coins and beads clink together on women’s hips, their arms float gracefully and their bodies move in trance-like waves. These women are taking belly dance classes, and according to students, this is a way for them to express their sexuality, feel empowered, build confidence and improve their physical fitness.

Belly dance may seem like an unusual, foreign technique, but Chicago women with typical day jobs are discovering how the art of belly dance can teach them to love their bodies and discover their inner goddesses.

The Chronicle got an exclusive inside look at Arabesque Dance Studios, 3703 N Elston Avenue. For more information regarding classes, visit