Feminine Art of Belly Dancing: Get Fit to Beautiful Music at Local Mom’s New Studio

Tired of trying to get fit with endless hours on a treadmill or lifting weights in a sweaty gym?

What if you could get fit while dancing to beautiful, exotic music and socializing with like-minded women.

That’s exactly the environment that Tina Sophia Farrell, a Lexington mother of three, is creating at her new dance studio, Arabesque World Dance.

The studio, which mainly teaches belly dancing, is focused on providing women with a workout that combines fitness with fun and femininity.

“We provide women with ‘me time,’ a chance to socialize with other women and a fun way to tone their bodies,” said Farrell, a professional belly dancer whose stage name is Safiya Nawaar.

“The beautiful music and sensuality of the dance helps women get in touch with their femininity. Belly dancing changed the way I felt about myself. I felt more sensual, more feminine and more womanly.”

It even helped with child birth. When her third child, Brody, was born 4 years ago, Safiya, then 36, taught belly dancing right up until her due date.

“I was calling to cancel classes from the hospital,” Safiya said. “My labor and recovery went so smoothly. Belly dancing really made a difference.”

Safiya was first introduced to belly dancing by her mother-in-law in 2000. “I instantly fell in love,” she remembers.

As a lifelong dancer, Safiya had studied ballet, jazz and tap, but felt an immed-iate connect-ion to this new form of dance. She took more classes and soon performed with a troupe of dancers in her home-town of Ocala, Fla.

By 2007, Safiya started teaching on her own – from teenagers to moms to older women.

She especially enjoys working with young women after watching her own daughter Paris Marie, 22, become more self-assured and confident after belly dance training.

“I get to mentor these young women and teach them how to be performers, develop their theatrical and artistic side,” Safiya said.

When the family moved to Lexington in 2009, Safiya began performing, teaching classes and training performers in a rented space.

As her business grew, she realized it was time to find a dedicated space and embrace her passion full-time.

In October, Safiya opened Arabesque World Dance where group and private classes are offered throughout the day for women of all ages.

She also offers Mommy & Me classes and creative movement classes for toddlers and preschoolers.

Arabesque World Dance will be hosting a Grand Opening on Saturday, Jan. 19, beginning at 9 a.m. The event will feature free classes, live performances, raffles and music all day. Thestudio also features refreshments, a costume and supply store and an on-site masseuse.

Said Safiya: “We want the studio to be a place where people can come and hang out and enjoy themselves.”

Info: Arabesque, 451-B Chair Ave., just off South Broadway. 455-8991, (352) 816-1219 or www.dancesafiya.com