Belly dancing with Habiba

By Jessica Pasko

Habiba 1.jpgAs an introverted teenager, Donna Marie Tritico spent a lot of time in libraries. Which, naturally, led to become a belly dancer named Habiba.

Wait, what?

Actually, the trip isn't as far as it seems.


Donna had always been interested in the music of other cultures, but when she borrowed an album of Middle Eastern music from the Albany Public Library, she found her true passion--belly dancing. She picked up a local class and got hooked. Habiba was born. After dancing with a troupe for about 10 years, Donna/Habiba began teaching and today she performs throughout the region with Habiba's Belly Dance Divas.

Actually, belly dancing is sort of a controversial term. The Arabic name for the style of dancing is "Raks el Sharki", which translates to "Dance of the East" or ''Oriental Dance". Habiba/Donna says the dance contains elements of folk dances from North Africa and the Middle East, and can be seen from Turkey to Morocco, and Lebanon. But, she says, the dance itself really developed artistically in Egypt, where such dancers can become big celebrities.

It's not necessarily a dance of seduction, as many people assume. It's certainly sensual, but Habiba says it's not just about that. Part of what she likes about belly dancing is that the basics of the dance can be learned by just about anyone. Some modern belly dancing also incorporates elements of hip-hop, tribal music and pop.

"It is a dance form that really celebrates the body. It embraces all shapes and sizes and you can start at any age, " she says. "The basic movements are gentle to the body yet provide a good, low-impact workout for the entire body;. increases stamina, flexibility, grace and self-esteem."

You can catch Habiba in action this weekend when she performs with her troupe at the Arts Center of the Capital Region's Fat Saturday for the Arts. Local zydeco rockers Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers will also perform, and there will be an auction, Cajun food and other events. It takes place at Revolution Hall starting at 7 p.m.

If you're interested in taking classes with Habiba, check out her Web site at: bellydancealbany.weebly.com. She's currently teaching classes at eba and Zuzu's Wonderful Life.


Comments

As one of the Belly Dance Divas and a student of Habiba's for 5+ years, I have to urge everyone to take at least one class. Your muscles will burn, sweat will run into your eyes and you'll feel like a freaking goddess the whole time. Habiba's a gem, and everyone should have the chance to experience her class!

I am also one of the the Belly Dance Divas and Habiba is such an amazing teacher! The classes are so much fun and she teaches in a way that makes it so easy to pick up the different moves. I echo Sahar's words and would urge everyone to give it a try!

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of summer

Ducky. Just ducky.... (more)

Eminent domain possibility in downtown Albany parcels

Mike DeMasi reports that the Albany IDA and Capitalize Albany are looking at the possibility of using eminent domain to acquire a bunch of parcels... (more)

CapSci workshop on talking about science with the public

The local org CapSci has a workshop August 25 at Siena that's focused on helping people become better communicators of science. Blurbage: As scientists, how... (more)

Old-school cooking and ice cream at Crailo

The Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer is hosting two food/cooking-themed events over the next two months: July 21: Summer Seasonals: Dutch hearth cooking and... (more)

What's up in the Neighborhood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: tipping, brunch on the farm, DMB weekend, local ice cream history,... (more)

Recent Comments

... Locally, I'd recommend, Truly Rhe in Troy, Ten Thousand Villages, and Sweater Venturer. TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Target also have a good selection.

Morning Blend for Jul 18

...has 2 comments, most recently from EMB

Gawking at the renovation of the long-vacant buildings on Broadway in Albany near the railroad overpass

...has 3 comments, most recently from EMB

Unicorn bikes for the bike share, a few ridership numbers for this season so far

...has 3 comments, most recently from Cait

What's up in the Neighborhood

...has 1 comment, most recently from Chuck Miller

Ghosts on a street that no longer exists

...has 6 comments, most recently from Paula