Belly dancers convene in Penticton for weekend festival

A belly dancing workshop at Get Bent Yoga and Dance in Penticton on Sunday. Bryon McLuckie

PENTICTON – About 100 belly dancing enthusiasts are honing their skills in Penticton this weekend as part of B.C. Belly Fest.

About 100 people from throughout the province and some from Alberta took part in the many workshops offered at Get Bent Yoga and Dance School during the festival.

Instructors travelled from as far away as India to teach at the two-and-a-half day event which kicked off Friday night.

“I’m teaching a mixture of Bollywood and belly dancing,” says belly dance teacher Bindu Bolar from Bangalore.

The participants range in age, fitness levels and experience.

“To have something here for everybody and really get them here together is the goal,” says Owner of Get Bent, Wendy Goudie.

Many say what hooked them on belly dancing in the first place was how inclusive the environment is, saying it’s a rare feeling in a society that can be so judgemental.

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“You can be in a wheelchair, you can have a leg missing, you can be blind, you can be morbidly obese, you can be severely under-weight, it doesn’t matter,” says Belly Fest participant, Corina Hemming.

Many of the participants and instructors say they tried out the dance form never realizing how much they’d love it.

“I think people try it generally for fitness or for something social to do with their friends and they fall in love with it,” says belly dance instructor Christy Greene.

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