Stepping into fitness

Do you watch Dancing with the Stars each week wishing you could move like that?

Well now you can with beginners Latin dancing with Linda Rayner on Monday nights. Ms Rayner offers a six-week course starting Monday, 14 January which covers the Merengue, Rumba, Cha Cha and Samba. Over the six weeks, participants learn the basic steps and some simple variations to allow them to hit the floor with style and grace.

Ms Rayner worked as a professional dancer for more than 12 years and is an international judge. She has even worked with Len Goodman from Dancing with the Stars. She has been teaching for over 35 years and loves teaching complete novices.

‘Two left feet are my speciality,’ Ms Rayner said in a press release. ‘It is so nice to watch people on the first night struggle with the steps then to see them gliding around the floor by week six. It gives me great satisfaction and pride to watch the transformation.’

For those looking for something a little more exotic, Ms Rayner is offering belly dancing classes, also staring 14 January.

Belly dancers are revered in the Middle East and dancers train under several teachers to accomplish the muscle control, body isolations and spinal flexibility, she said.

Chiropractors recommend belly dancing as it encourages spinal flexion and extension and promotes a healthy back, she said.

The heart benefits from an extensive aerobic workout with no impact as in other conventional aerobic activities, she noted.

‘The movements are soft, feminine and sensual which helps a woman’s sense of well-being and emotional balance. And to top it off, it is fun to do and the hour passes before you know it.’

Ms Rayner trained in belly dancing under Shakira, the top Arabic belly dancer of the 1970s whilst she was in Beirut, Lebanon.

She teaches the authentic Arabic style observing the traditions and laws of this age old art form.

Over the years there has developed a more western style of belly dance, which has disregarded the values and traditions of the dance, much to Ms Rayner’s chagrin. ‘I feel this beautiful dance should retain its authenticity, principals and values and I am keen to pass this on to my students.’

In the Middle East the dancers get weighed in each month as they are paid by the pound. Needless to say Ms Rayner laughs when someone suggests that they are too overweight to learn belly dancing. She tells them that they would be revered in the Middle East as well as earning a higher salary.

The belly dancing course runs Mondays for six weeks.


The dance courses are taught at Miss Jackie’s School of Dance in Pasadora Place. Each cost is $90 per person. The Latin classes are held Mondays at 6:30pm and the belly dancing classes take place Mondays at 7:30pm. Linda also teaches kid’s dance from ballet, jazz, tap and freestyle at Fitness Connection and Miss Jackie’s School of Dance as well as adult ballroom dance. For more information contact Ms Rayner on 917-3579 or email [email protected]