The following is a post by Miss Yesenia, Director of the TEENS Program and the RAKettes Competitive Dance Company at Belly Motions.

As a teen, I was self-conscious about many things. My body was changing, my emotions were running wild and my skin was breaking out!

I recall walking the school halls with my head down, feeling so insecure and awkward; I would beg my mom to allow me to stay home from school, but that wasn’t happening!

I know now that puberty was the cause for all the commotion, but back then, I didn’t know how I would make it through… then I started Belly Dance classes!

The dance was so feminine and body accepting that it allowed me to feel beautiful, graceful and ultimately empowered despite my growing pains.

I began to walk the halls with my head held a little higher, my self-confidence a little stronger. Belly Dance brought me to a more comfortable and expressive place.

As a Belly Dance Instructor, I have had the opportunity to work with TEENS  for the last six years.  This is my favorite age group to teach as I can relate to the challenges these young women are facing.  It is a privilege to witness the benefits they receive studying Belly Dance, just as I did at their age! From self-doubting to confident, clumsy to poised, Belly Dance has the magical ability to lift spirits AND control hormones!

Here are 3 reasons why Belly Dance can be beneficial for teens:

 1. Belly Dance encourages teens to get moving!

According to The New York Times, teens spend over seven hours a day on their smart phones, playing on computers, and watching TV. That’s practically every waking minute outside of school! It’s no surprise that exercise for teens is at an all-time low.

Belly Dance is a great solution to this challenge! It’s a super-fun way to encourage teens to get active and get off of their iPhones and iPads!

 2. Belly Dance encourages communication skills!

In an age where social media has taken over traditional communication, young girls find themselves conversing through texting, tweeting and Facebook postings.  Keep in mind that communicating in person still remains one of the most important qualities to future employers; teens cannot afford to lose the ability to communicate in person!

With Belly Dance, girls get to relate in a non-virtual environment, encouraging them to become team players working together in a social group setting.  Belly Motions takes the TEENS program very seriously offering teens the opportunity to audition for the RAKettes, a competitive performance team; the ultimate form of dedication, commitment and teamwork!!!

 3. Belly Dance boosts self-esteem!

“Belly Dance was created by women, for women,” as one of the most influential Belly Dancers of our time, Tamalyn Dallal, once said. This still rings true today.

The dance naturally magnifies the beauty and strength of being a woman and celebrates the body in all shapes and sizes! This “all bodies welcome” approach is so vital for young women trying to find their own voice in an ever changing world.

Presentation of self is an ability that’s hard to come by these days. Over time teens will develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of their bodies, empowering them with skills they can use in other areas of their lives!

In conclusion, Belly Dance is a respectable hobby that offers an endless amount of positive benefits for teens.

In a professional environment and with a supportive Instructor, teens will transcend the awkwardness that adolescence brings as they learn new ways to HAVE FUN, MOVE, COMMUNICATE and FEEL GREAT!