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Belly Dancing in Studio 4A
Secrets of the Shimmy, Shoulder Roll, Belly Roll and More

Listen Listen to Lisa Simeone's conversation with Artemis.

Video Watch a video of Artemis teaching Lisa Simeone and other NPR staffers how to belly dance.

Artemis

Artemis teaches NPR how to move.
Photo: David Banks, NPR

Video watch the video

Jan. 26, 2002 -- Artemis is about 5 feet tall, with long light brown hair. She wears a wine-colored velour body suit with a jingly coin-scarf around her hips. Her feet are bare.

A few intrepid NPR producers -- women all -- gather in Studio 4A in Washington, D.C., to learn the subtle art of belly dancing.

There are many separate belly-dancing moves -- hip circles, hip lifts, hip drops and shoulder rolls.

And there is also the ever-popular shimmy, where you gently shake your center of gravity by punching each knee slightly forward.

Artemis (whose real name is Elizabeth Mourat) calls the moves she teaches Generic Belly Dance 101, but there are specific styles, from Egyptian to Turkish. Artemis is well-known for the Turkish style, which has a heavy Romany -- or Gypsy -- influence.

Lisa Simeone

Perfecting the shimmy. From left: Artemis; Didi Schanche, NPR Foreign Desk Editor; and Weekend All Things Considered host Lisa Simeone.
Photo: David Banks, NPR

It's a very earthy and aggressive style, unlike the more delicate Egyptian style.

An essential move for all styles, and one of the most difficult for Americans to master, is the belly roll.

"It's a little disconcerting at first, because your flesh is quivering," Artemis tells her students. "And it's difficult for American women to get used to the idea that quivering flesh is attractive. But trust me, in the Middle East, they love it. They love it. And it's rather liberating."

Other Resources

• Visit Artemis' Web site at Serpentine.org for more information about classes and the art of Middle Eastern dancing.