It’s Friday night and you don’t have any exciting weekend plans. You’re surfing TV channels and can’t find anything quite engaging enough. Come September 17, you might have a fitness challenge on your hands, courtesy TLC. The channel is kicking off a new dance fitness show called
, which will give you a step-by-step introduction to the world of belly dance.
According to Rahul Johri, senior vice president and general manager of Discovery Networks, Asia Pacific, “
is a fitness show but with a more interesting take on everything.” So don’t expect Jane Fonda-esque videos with women in leotards jumping up and down to ’80s pop.
Instead, the 26-episode series will take you through the intricate movements of belly dance in a methodical yet fun manner. The 30-minute episodes will be divided into two segments: in the first, a team of three or four professionals will teach you a particular move. In the second, they will perform the move. The professionals have been trained by Canadian belly dance instructor, Kim Pechet, but she won’t feature in any of the episodes.
City belly dance instructors say that when compared to other dance forms like salsa or Bollywood dance, belly dance requires a mastery of technique. “Belly dance looks easy but is not at all easy to learn,” says Piya Bhurke, belly dance instructor at Pulse studio. “You need to go through at least 16 sessions to understand it.”
But if you are expecting to drop a size overnight, belly dance isn’t the place to start. “It will help you tone your lower body really well because most of the moves involve bending your knees and staying on your toes,” says Bhurke. “But it’s a myth that it will help you lose weight. In the Middle East, the technique is passed down from mother to daughter to help her prepare her womb for child birth.”
Can a show that teaches you how to master a difficult dance style succeed on prime time? Johri says
, the channel’s earlier fitness shows, were very popular. Besides, he adds, “It’s not like you will switch on the television and immediately start exercising. The show is like reading a magazine — it will slowly grow on you.”