Global celebration of the belly dance

A group of experienced Illawarra dancers - and a few fresh faces - joined thousands of performers across the globe on Saturday to mark World Belly Dance Day.

Women from Wollongong's Cinnamon Twist, the Illawarra's largest school of Middle Eastern dance culture, celebrated the date with free workshops and demonstrations at their Kenny St studio.

In its sixth year, World Belly Dance Day aims to unite dancers from around the world to spread the word - and the passion - of belly dance as an art form.

Cinnamon Twist artistic director Virginia Keft-Kennedy said this style of dance was one for women of all ages, size, cultural background and physical ability.

"One of the most important roles belly dancing plays in our community is to encourage a sense of community participation and family entertainment," said Mrs Keft-Kennedy, who holds a PhD from the University of Wollongong on the history of belly dancing.

"The women who come to my classes at Cinnamon Twist are diverse, but all of them are connected by a desire to have fun, get together with other like-minded women and enjoy the music and movement of an ancient dance form."

As part of the day, Cinnamon Twist raised money for the Smith Family's sponsor a child program, which helps disadvantaged children across Australia.

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