Lurainya in the press title graphic
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Bucks County Woman Magazine
Bucks County Woman Magazine: Real Women • Real Stories • Real Life
December ’08 – January ’09, Holiday Issue
Dancing for Fun and Fitness

Embarrassed giggling often accompanies any discussion of belly dancing. But the dance is not about baring your midriff and wriggling seductively, rather it is believed to be the oldest known type of dance, meant for everything from childbirth preparation to entertainment. Created by women for women, this dance tradition was often passed from mother to daughter.

Lurainya Koerber has been leading workshops and teaching belly dancing since 2000. Combining the ancient art with a contemporary approach to exercise, Koerer mentions that she focuses equal efforts on healing and empowerment of women. Classes are located in Willow Grove, Doylestown and New Britain, held in health and wellness centers, gyms, and studios. Koerber invites women to experience an excellent cardio workout while improving their posture, body image, self esteem, confidence, concentration and coordination.

Gift certificates, special classes and a line of performance and instructional belly dancing DVDs are available on her website www.moongypsy.net
 
PhillyFit March/April 2006
Lurainya on the PhillyFit Cover March April 2006


Lurainya's article "Why Every Woman Should Learn to Bellydance" PhillyFIT Magazine March/April 2006

out and about
Lurainya's article from Out and About - June 2006
 
The Trend
WOMEN'S EXPO OFFERS WELLNESS OF MIND, BODY, SOUL

By Gerry Dungan
THE TREND
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Greater Philadelphia Women's Wellness Expo encourages patrons to take time for free health screenings, healthy cooking demonstrations, a chat with a soap star----oh, and one more thing:"We encourage women to have fun," said Dale Blair, president of Lifetime Expos.

Blair, who founded Lifetime Expos three years ago, is delighted to see it's growth in both popularity and demographics, serving the mid-Atlantic region. Originally producing events that cater to the changing needs of baby boomers, Blair has since expanded her expos to the needs of family care givers(untrained individuals that attend to house bound relatives), healthy living lifestyles, and women's needs. Due in part, to the success of last year's expo, the second annual event has moved to the 10,000 square-foot main ballroom of the Hilton Hotel on City Line Avenue, which according to Blair, has easily attracted the area's top wellness exhibitors. "We want to arrange it so that women take the day out for themselves," said Blair, adding that there's "something for every woman." Over 50 vendors will offer everything from gourmet cooking tips to free health screenings, including blood pressure, heart and balance screenings. Keynote speaker, Gail Kasper, author of "Make a Decision to Win" and Emmy nominated "All My Children" soap star, Aiden Turner will also make appearances.

Alongside the health and entertainment aspects, the expo will offer a unique fitness demonstration. "It's very difficult...but they'll be laughing the whole way through," said Lurainya Koerber.  "It's very hard not to have a good time with it."  Koerber will be returning to the event to perform the ancient art of belly dancing.  "I enjoy creating and I enjoy sharing the beauty of this dance," said Koerber.  "More importantly, it's the message within my art that I want to share with people." According to her web site www.moongypsy.net , Koerber dismissed the stereotypes surrounding belly dancing, and instead focused on the more positive aspects. 

"The wonderful thing about belly dancing is that it started out as childbirth preparation,"  Koerber said.  "So, it's great for a woman's body." She teaches packed classes through her Moongypsy Productions studio in Willow Grove, where students learn the dance and get an "intense" work out, said Koerber, "but they're also learning to find themselves and feel good about themselves, no matter what their age, size, or shape."

According to Koerber, perhaps the most important lesson she teaches her students is that the dance is created for women by women, which then results in a higher level of communion among women.  "The spirituality  of the class is the sisterhood that forms when women get together," she said, "Especially with an activity so inherently feminine."

Also interwoven into the spirit of the expo is the sense of charity. "We like to bring in a charity partner to help out," said Blair, who added that the expo will be assisting many different charities in the years to come.  Last year, the expo sponsored the American Heart Association.  This year, Blair wants to focus on a different kind of internal wellness. The Wardrobe empowers low-income women by providing clothes and workshops that coach, not just to land the interview, but the job," said Blair.  She is referring to the Career Wardrobe, located in Center City.  According to Sheri Cole, executive Director of the Career Wardrobe, the charity is set up like a fashion boutique, showcasing donated women's business apparel.  Applicants are generally referred to the Wardrobe by a job training program, and are typically single mothers.  They are taken throughout the "boutique" via appointment, by their very own personal volunteer assistant, to pick out their clothing and are then provided interview training by top resource professionals.  The Wardrobe even teaches applicants how to set up bank and savings accounts.

"When I was talking with Dale about our two organizations, she was using the same language I use," said Cole, citing that Career Wardrobe is also about women taking the time for themselves to be informed, relaxed and generally well. Blair has invited the charity to release their latest campaign drive called "Beauty Basics," at the expo. According to Cole, she is looking to expand donations into cosmetics. A section of the expo will be dedicated as a collection site for the charity.

"They are very much part of the event," said Blair of the Career Wardrobe, asking patrons to bring unused makeup kits, such as the ones that are given away as promotions and forgotten at the bottom of purses," as well as toiletries like shampoo. "For a lot of women, we see this is the first time they've worn business attire." Cole said. "They look as good as the interviewer."

The Greater Philadelphia Women's Wellness Expo will take place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  For more information, visit www.lifetimeexpos.com .
 
bucks county herald
Bellydancing exercises the body, mind and spirit

By Chris Ochadlick
Bucks County Herald correspondent
4/6/06

Bellydancing is not about dancing for your husband or significant other.  It’s about taking pride in being a woman and learning to love your body for what it is – exercising not only the body but the mind as well.  

“A huge awareness is sweeping the nation about the benefits of this dance especially as an innovative form  of exercise,” says Lurainya Koerber, who has been a bellydance instructor for five years.

Raks Sharki, Arabic for Dance of the East, is the authentic term for bellydance.  Known as one of the oldest forms of documented dance it was created by women for women, as a form of childbirth preparation eventually becoming a form of entertainment and celebration.

An ardent devotee of bellydancing, the soft-spoken, personable, articulate Koerber, who lives in Willow Grove, is also a walking advertisement for the dance’s encompassing health benefits.

“I suffer greatly from ADD”, says Koerber.  Three years ago, after being on high doses of Ritalin for many years, she took herself off the medication.  “Every day I struggle with it and I firmly believe the dancing helps”, adds Koerber.

She attributes the intense concentration required to find, locate and control muscles, exercises and helps that part of her brain affected by ADD.  Some of her students who have ADD have also commented on how bellydancing has helped them focus better in their daily lives.

Mental benefits aside, because of the constant strengthening of the postural muscles, bellydancing improves posture, body image and self-esteem.  It also improves confidence, concentration, coordination, balance and grace.  Because the dance is a combination of gentle movements it offers a good cardio workout increasing the heart rate to burn fat.  It tones muscles with a strong focus on the “core-muscle groups” that everyone is concerned about these days.

Koerber has taught bellydancing to physical and occupational therapists who concur that the movements are an ideal form of rehab for many of their patients even those with arthritis.  They found the classes extremely helpful because they were able to feel the muscles that they’d only ever seen in their medical books.  This enabled them to explain and help their patients identify and find the injured muscles.

Koerber is quick to say that it depends on the injury.  “Certain neck and back patients because of the postural exercises benefit from bellydancing.  It’s so healthy for the spine.  It’s gentler for all the joints, which is why it’s good for any age level all the the way up to the elder years.  It’s gentle but intense and you get a good workout,” says Koerber.

She says all women can do this dance in their own time.  While patience is a huge part of the dance, concentration is 90 percent of the dance, especially in the beginning and you never stop learning.

“It’s one of the best things about this dance.  There’s no end to learning this dance because there’s always something new to layer on top of something else,” Koerber says.

For more information visit www.moongypsy.net
 
The Intelligencer
Excerpt from article
By Dorothy Cascerceri
Correspondent for The Intelligencer
11/24/03

Lurainya Koerber of Doylestown has been belly dancing for six years and teaches classes in her home studio, at Cloud Hands Healing Arts Center in Pipersville and at the FitCare Life Center in the Health and Wellness Center by Doylestown Hospital in Warrington.

Belly-dancing performers that she watched in a restaurant intrigued her and inspired her to try the sensual dance.

“I loved the fluidity of the movements,” she says.  “It was so earthy and feminine.”

She drove two hours to Cambden, N.J., for a class, which also was her first dance class ever.

And in the first five minutes, she realized that belly dancing could be a tool to overcome her shy, quiet personality. “I was determined to not live my life in a shell anymore,” she says, “and I knew this was what was going to help me.” Koerber says the dance is challenging, yet rewarding.

“It links you to who you are inside and gets you back in touch with the woman that you are,” she says.
 
the philadelphia inquirer
Excerpt from "Shake, wiggle and roll hooks a new generation"
By Leslie A. Pappas
Inquirer Staff Writer
2004

The benefits of Bellydance go beyond the physical, says Lurainya Koerber, a belly-dance instructor from Doylestown.

Belly dancing brought her out of her shell when she started studying it six years ago, said Koerber.  “It was everything I wanted to be.”

Although she’s thrilled that her classes are growing – she says she has gotten 50 new students in the last few weeks – she worries that media attention to the dace, particularly glitzy professional tours, could turn women off.

“They’ll see the stereotypically ‘perfect’ body up there on stage, and it will perpetuate their thinking that this dance is only for skinny people,” Koerber says.  The reality, she says, is that “real women” - any woman – can benefit.

 “It can change lives,” she said, “mind, body, and soul.”
 
philly edge
Excerpt from Breaking the routine Three trainers explain their sexy methods to help you get fit
By Brian Francis Smith
Philly EDGE Correspondent
4/19/06

Summer is almost here. How’s your beach body?

Shoddy?

Well, fear not, Philly EDGE has found several non-traditional training methods that are a lot sexier than mindlessly thumping away on a treadmill...

...We conclude our noveau-fitness routine tour with a walk through the sometimes mysterious world of belly dancing. 

Lurainya Koerber, 33, a belly dancer of eight years and instructor at studios in Doylestown, Furlong and Hatboro, attempts to explain common perceptions and misconceptions of the what she calls the “world’s oldest dance.”

“Belly dancing started as a birthing ritual. A lot of the movements aid in the tensing of muscles needed in labor and helping the mother through the labor itself. So it started as women dancing for women, and that’s the big part of the story that the general public knows nothing about,” Koerber said. “It’s not about men!”

Koerber cites many fitness benefits derived from belly dancing, including weight loss, muscle toning, improved posture and increased flexibility. But perhaps the greatest reward Koerber has garnered from the dance is self-esteem.

“As a child I was very shy and repressed. And one day I finally got brave and realized that I didn’t want to live my life in chains anymore, so I signed up for belly dancing lessons,” Koerber said. “And after the first two minutes of the first class, I realized that this would be a part of me for the rest of my life.”