Meet Sylvia LimDuke University - Durham,NC,USA, Sunday, 26 August 2007
Her belly dancing is impressive – considering at one time, Lim couldn't walk. When she was a teenager, Lim was hit by a car. She spent a year
in a wheelchair and on crutches. Now at 39, Lim is an experienced dancer and a visiting scholar in the Department of Cultural Anthropology.
While learning to walk again, Lim became fascinated with how the body moves – an interest that's helped her as a dancer. Being able to isolate body parts and fine-tune movements was beneficial in ballet, flamenco, salsa and now, belly dancing.
Lim, who earned her doctorate degree at Duke, discovered belly dancing three years ago when a friend introduced her to Middle Eastern and Indian films that included belly dancing. She was puzzled by the moves, even with 15 years of dance experience.
Her fascination for movement drove her to take a belly dancing class. Lim learned that most hip shimmies are spurned by knee movements. Unlike other dances, belly dancing has a free-form style.
"I got hooked on it," Lim said. "I used to be very uptight about my dance form and was always checking myself in a mirror; with belly dance, the movements are more organic and come from within."
She feels a burst of energy through her whole body when she belly dances. It makes her feel alive and reminds her of how wonderful it is to be able to move her limbs. "Even after all these years, I'm just so happy and energized every time I dance," she said.
To help others experience that energy, Lim began teaching women about a year-and-a-half ago. Her next campus session begins Aug. 28.
"She's a natural teacher and dancer," said Lisa Giragosian, assistant director of programs at the International House. She's taken Lim's belly dance classes for about a year. "Her face radiates as she's teaching."
Lim breaks down movements for her students, so they understand the mechanics. She enjoys helping women express themselves through dance.
"It's my job to cull out their grace," Lim said. "To draw it out of them and see that spark in their eye is the greatest thing."
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