Gina Bruno brings Suhaila format workshop to Moon Belly Dance Studio

The two-day workshop will be hosted by Moon Belly Dance Studio.

The art of belly dancing is composed of a variety of forms, and Moon Belly Dance Studio will be bringing one of its most difficult, technique-based forms to Columbia in a two-day workshop Friday and Saturday.

Gina Bruno, level five Suhaila Salimpour certified dancer, will be leading the workshop. There will also be a "Notions of Femininity" belly dance performance featuring Bruno and other performers at 7 p.m. Saturday at The Vault.

Kandice Grossman, owner of Moon Belly Dance Studio and level three certified Suhaila dancer, said she wanted to bring in someone of expertise.

“I’m just excited to have her here,” Grossman said. “She’s such a talented dancer, and she also has such a great personality.”

Bruno said she is excited to see what kind of dancers are in Columbia.

“Belly dance has a following no matter where you are…sort of a culture with pretty dedicated dancers,” Bruno said. “It’s cool because anywhere you travel you can find kind of like a family – a family of dancers who are committed to it.”

Grossman said the workshop will entail intensive dance instruction, learning the basics of the Suhaila Salimpour technique and choreography from Bruno.

“We’ll be really working on strength building, stamina building and technique, technique, technique,” Grossman said. “That’s one of the reasons I love the Suhaila format so much is that it is very, very technique focused, which is much more similar to some dance classes like a ballet class or a jazz class that you might take.”

Bruno said participants can expect to work very hard.

“They can pretty much expect to start from scratch and re-learn the format from a new perspective,” Bruno said.

She described the workshop as a teaser, 101 introductory overview of the Suhaila format.

“We offer a certification program in the dance form and format (Suhaila) and the certification will officially be delivered in the area in 2012,” Bruno said.

Nicole Beasley, level two certified Moon Belly Dance Studio instructor, said Bruno as a dancer and woman inspires her.

“I am looking forward to getting more nitty gritty into the technique and learn more of her personal style and spin on the art from, as well as tips to help myself grow as an artist and instructor,” Beasley said. “I look forward to breaking a sweat, honing in on technique and challenging myself with different choreographies.”

Grossman said she didn’t even know where to begin describing what participants will gain from the workshop.

“They’re going to gain so much from this workshop,” Grossman said. “First, just the technique itself. If they come in as beginners, they’ll probably leave as intermediates, because there’s just 10 hours of dance-intensive instruction that is so good for students.”

She said students are also going to have a better understanding about Moon Belly and the Suhaila format by the end of the workshop.

“Students are going to maybe have more respect for what (Suhaila) means and what it offers students as you go higher in the format,” Grossman said. “I also think it will help them understand what Moon Belly is about, which is celebrating the art form and really respecting the art form.”

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