Javani Kisten.
Javani Kisten.
Kimona Kisten
Kimona Kisten
Durban - Two Durban dancers, who happen to share the same surname but are unrelated, have serendipitously crossed paths in the art of dance - both on a successful journey in dance in a genre believed to be misunderstood as “erotic”, but one that is felt to be a “beautiful art”.

Durban’s Javani Kisten and Kimona Kisten will be featuring in Greatest Hits, a show presented by BellyFusion Dance Studios on October 20 and it’s a dance form they’ve worked hard at for years.

“My involvement with belly dancing began at the age of 5. My older cousin and my role model, Natasha Nagiah, was also a belly dancer and she taught me my first dance which we performed together at our cousins 21st birthday,” said Javani.

“I love the fact that people of all sizes and ages can belly dance. The thought of me still being able to belly dance even when I’m much older excites me. It’s an elegant and graceful dance style that you never have to retire from.

“I think the most challenging part of being a belly dancer is that there are still people out there who view belly dancing as an erotic form of entertainment and not the beautiful art form that it is.”

The young women put in between four to five hours a day of training and practice.

“Belly dancing teaches you how to isolate every part of your body which in turn helps improve other dance forms. From personal experience, the ability to isolate has helped me with Latin, ballroom, hip hop, salsa, bachata, kizomba and reggeton, just to name a few other dance forms. It’s relaxing, expressive, creative and not stressful,” explained Kimona.

She said: “The history of belly dance comes from the beautiful pages of the Middle East, Egypt and Turkey, originating from oriental dancing performed by travelling gypsies. With the use of the core muscles, it became evident that this art form would not only be an amazing form of entertainment but also a benefit to other dance styles. It was then that different countries around the world decided to learn the technique, not only to do it purely as belly dance but also fuse it to create a whole other world of art,” said Kimona.

The dancers will perform at the show at the Roy Couzens Theatre, Westville Boys High on October 20, at 7 pm.

BellyFusion Director Alison Oosthuizen said the show presents an array of choreographies danced to popular tunes spanning the decades - from hip-hop to classical, belly dance to Bollywood, Hula to Latin American dance, funky to ballroom dancing and more.

Showcasing 40 dancers, a portion of the proceeds will go the Kevin Richardson Foundation (the Lion Whisperer).

“The lion population in Southern Africa is dwindling rapidly and this is primarily due to loss of habitat. The Foundation’s aim is to secure land for these iconic animals,” said Oosthuizen.

* Tickets are R100 for adults and R60 for children under 12 and are available via 0828240908.