Arts & Culture

Serpentine Studios: Halifax’s new home for belly-dancing

Serpentine Studios: Halifax’s new home for belly-dancing
Serpentine studios. Photo supplied by Stoo Metz
written by Hilary Stamper
October 21, 2011 1:00 pm

Everything from circus arts to massage therapy

Serpentine studios. Photo supplied by Stoo Metz

Serpentine studios. Photo supplied by Stoo Metz

After six years of working towards the opening of Serpentine Studios, Monique Ryan and Laura Selenzi of Cabaret Serpentine are extremely excited to see their plans and ideas become a reality. Located in the heart of downtown Halifax, Serpentine Studios offers a fun but professional environment for all its students, new and experienced alike.

Visitors are welcomed by a waiting area decorated with a Harem-inspired canopy of colourful silk fabric, hanging from the ceiling and framing the antique-style light fixtures. Inside, the vibrant purple walls of the studio run alongside the rustic brick detailing behind a line of professionally installed flat mirrors. Decorative pictures and ornaments are arranged around the studio, further enhancing its already aesthetic appeal. Many dance studios would hesitate to exceed their budgets by paying for professionally installed floors and mirrors, but both Ryan and Selenzi are adamant about paying the extra money to enhance their studio with beautiful detailing. “We want to create a really inspirational space,” says Selenzi, “we want people to come here and feel really good…and have it be a really refreshing, nourishing part of their day or week.”

Ryan has been teaching and performing belly-dancing and hula hooping in Halifax for a number of years, and already has a large group of loyal followers. However, Ryan and Selenzi both recognize that having and running their own studio will give them more freedom with their teaching careers and show potential students that they are a serious company.

Serpentine Studio’s beginner belly-dance classes have already created a buzz around Halifax. With class offerings that range from Egyptian, and Tribal Fusion to American Tribal, students have the rare opportunity to form their own style preferences after mastering the basics. “We think all the styles are beautiful,” says Selenzi, “that’s why we brought in Elinor [Crosby of Uberwench to teach the American Tribal classes]. We think she’s amazing and a great teacher, and we’d rather work with her than against her, obviously.”

Serpentine Studios also offers students a variety of other classes. There is, for example, a Hula Hoop class where students have the opportunity to learn circus tricks and burn up to 300 calories in an hour. The studio also has classes focusing on acrobatics, flexibility and circus arts, as well as yoga and relaxation classes. In November, Serpentine Studios will begin offering Burlesque dance basics (taught by Miss C of Pink Velvet Burlesque) and Go-Go dance fitness taught by Ryan. In addition to these wonderful and affordable classes, Selenzi is a registered massage therapist, and provides treatments in a private room within the studio, which is also equipped with an Infrared Sauna. “[Serpentine Studios] isn’t going to just be for teaching classes” says Selenzi, “we wanted a space to hold private lessons, workshops, bachelorette and birthday parties, also for renting the space to other dancers and performers and for the retail items that we sell.” The excitement of finally having a studio is not likely to wear off anytime soon for Ryan and Selenzi, or for the belly-dancers of Halifax, who are likely thinking, “it’s about time!”

Ryan and Selenzi have both been involved in belly-dancing for almost 15 years, bringing their vast knowledge and experience with them to Serpentine Studios. Students can expect to be taught by trained professionals and become a part of Halifax’s strongest and most talented belly-dance community. For more information on Cabaret Serpentine and Serpentine Studios classes, visit: www.cabaretserpentine.com.

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