Belly dancing into the new semester


Petr Kratochvil

The new belly dancing class, introduced by Maria Choochkeh, is another way to take advantage of NEIU’s diverse campus.

Michelle Bright, Writer

NEIU’s Maria Choochkeh is shaking things up this semester by introducing a beginner’s belly dancing class that takes place at the PE Complex.

Choochkeh has been dancing since she was little. Her focus was hip-hop, jazz and latin genres, noting that the moves came natural to her, as if it was in her blood. She’s never taken a belly dancing course, but she liked seeing it at weddings or parties. A few years ago she decided to invest in the necessary equipment, and now she feels suited to lead a class of future dancers.

This free class is open to all students, employees and community members with no prerequisites to participate. She will be providing the skirts and beads needed.

One of Choochkeh’s main objectives is to get students to learn basic belly dance moves and techniques, ultimately leading to a performance at the end of the semester.

“This is not like a Zumba class where you follow choreography and get a workout in,” Choochkeh stated. “It’s more like learning a routine. We choreograph the song together and memorize it and pretend we have an audience.”

Choochkeh believes that NEIU is diverse and that presenting this class to students, employees and community members will show the ethnicity of the school.

Bringing a belly dance course to the university was important to her. At the moment, she is only teaching classes here at NEIU and wants to get her Zumba kids certification.

The class meets on Monday from 4:30-5:15 p.m.