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December

2023

Tap & Belly Dancing Classes at MHCC

By MHCC

Tap & Belly Dancing Classes at MHCC

Dance, as an art form, has the power to connect people from different backgrounds through movement. At Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), students have the opportunity to bond with community members while learning tap and belly dancing.

The heart of these community education dance classes is instructor Kim Miller.

Miller, MHCC’s community education dance instructor, started her journey into the world of dance in an offbeat way.

“I got into dance because I was terrible at sports, always the last one picked on the team, the one that ‘ruined the game for everybody,’” said Miller.

She found her love for dance at the University of Iowa when she took classes to fulfill her physical education requirements. That’s when the magic happened.

“When I was tap dancing, I can remember very, very clearly, it dawned on me: I am making music with my feet, and I can control it,” she shares.

It was this moment that sparked Miller’s passion for tap dance. She went on to study its history and attend tap dance festivals to learn from the best.

For belly dancing, Miller’s inspiration came from watching dancer Marie Wilkes, whose stage name is Maleeha.

“I was totally mesmerized by her, and I wanted to learn how to move the way she was moving because it was just beautiful and mysterious,” Miller said.

When teaching, Miller follows a structured approach, with warm-ups, drills, and choreography. For tap dance, the focus on technique helps students build a deep understanding of timing and musicality. In contrast, belly dance classes include core workouts and full-body movements.

Miller’s classes cater to a range of students, from beginners to advanced dancers. In tap dance, there are separate classes for beginners and continuing students, allowing students to progress at their own pace. Belly dance classes also adjust for students with varying levels of experience. Miller strives to meet her students where they’re at so that everyone can learn and grow.

Miller has witnessed many success stories among her students including one older woman who struggled with balance issues at first. Through Miller’s teaching, the student’s balance improved greatly over the course of three terms.

In another instance, a student who had never belly danced before fell so in love with it that she joined the Portland Bellydance Guild and ended up losing weight and having more energy as a result of the classes.
Many students have had very positive remarks for Miller’s classes:

“Kim is amazing. She’s so supportive and kind, as well as an amazing dancer. I really enjoy her classes and her as a person. She’s so patient.”

“Kim is an excellent teacher. She is so upbeat and makes learning fun.”

For those thinking about joining one of these dance classes, Miller’s advice is simple yet powerful: “Try it. You might discover something that enriches your life on multiple levels.”

Check out all of MHCC’s community education classes online at https://learn.mhcc.edu/modules/.

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