For more than 10 years Portia Lange has been shimmying and swaying women into shape with her Belly Motions Dance Studio. The studio recently moved from Coral Gables to a new location in the Dixie Pointe Shopping Center, at 8235 S. Dixie Hwy.
“We wanted to be closer to our Pinecrest client base and it was time to expand,” said Lange. “With the additional space we have in the new location we can now offer multiple classes at different times.”
When the time came for her graduation from the University of Florida, Lange said she realized, after taking a dance class and getting hooked, that she would rather pursue a future in dance than psychology.
“I moved to Miami after graduation in 2003 because it is the Mecca of Belly dancing,” she said.
Today, she is operating a very successful business, has toured the world, managed to take a first place for solo dance in Egypt, graced the cover of ELLE International magazine four times and was named to the Top 20 Under 40 list by the Miami Herald. She has a dance troupe that performs regularly and the most recent public performance was their 10th anniversary show in February at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center School of Music at Florida International University.
Belly dance, Zumba and Bollywood style — complete with extravagant colorful costumes — are part of the offerings at the studio. Lange also offers one-on-one sessions for women to get them comfortable and she encourages all body shapes and sizes to try belly dancing.
The initial fundamentals include figure eights and circle formations and then, as you progress, your arms and upper body add to the motion; and finally the footwork joins in to complete the dance routine.
“Our goal is to inspire, motivate and empower women through world dance forms,” said Lange.
The celebration of the Middle Eastern and Latin-inspired culture behind the art is also highlighted.
Mommy and Me classes for special mother and daughter fun bonding time start in May, along with classes for beginning belly dancers. A four-day dance camp for girls will run from June 8-12.
“Every girl is born a dancer,” said Lange. “I always tell women you’re never too old, you’re never too fat and it’s never too late! I’ve seen women who have suffered depression, divorce and body image issues use belly dance as a healing therapy.
“The pressures of being an adult can overwhelm us — paying taxes, paying bills, cooking dinner. Where’s the fun? We are missing the laughter, joy and excitement in life, we forget how to play. An hour in dance class is a good way to express yourself, heal and enjoy life.”