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Moving people

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By David Landau

Published Jul 3, 2007 5:05 PM


art

Photo courtesy of Fowler Museum

Jaynie Ali Aydin, M.A. '04 Ph.D. '07 wants you to move — but don't worry, it won't cost you a cent.

She's offering four free hour-long belly dance workshops throughout July on the terrace of Fowler Museum.

Aydin, an avid educator in a variety of Middle Eastern Folk Dances, from the Egyptian Country style to Zeybek, is coming to give back to UCLA as part of the exhibition "Architecture of the Veil: An Installation by Samta Benyahia," and will teach everyone who wishes to learn this unique cabaret form of movement, known as raqs al sharqi.

Why dance? Says Aydin: "By dancing we can gain experiential knowledge about the variety of cultures and traditions that exist — and learn more about the individuals who perform them."

And if you're looking to learn about other cultures, Aydin is the one to talk to. Besides her doctorate in World Arts and Cultures, she studies in Istanbul with belly dancing great Sema Yildiz and in L.A. with the renowned ethnochoreologist and dancer Aisha Ali. She's also filmed dance rituals in places as diverse as Cornwall, England; Oaxaca, Mexico; Izmir, Turkey; Transylvania, Romania; and Auckland, New Zealand.

"I hope to promote appreciation for numerous forms of Middle Eastern art and culture. I think it’s important for us to investigate what is beautiful and positive about the perspectives of others. Dance is a great place to start."

The classes, which take place at 7 p.m. every Thursday in July on Fowler Museum’s Terrace, are free and require no reservation; however, wearing comfortable shoes is recommended. If you want to participate, Jaynie has these words for you: "Plan to be challenged while still having fun. Dancers and 'non' dancers [alike are] welcome."

For more information, call (310) 825-8655 or visit Fowler Museum's website.

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