CLEARFIELD — Mikalyn Anderson remembers arguing with her grandmother when she wanted her to wear a white veil with her yellow belly dancing costume.
Anderson, who was 5 years old at the time, was already three years into her exploits as a dancer.
“I thought it didn’t match,” she explained. “But I know now that it was meant for contrast.”
Anderson, whose stage name is Aja, has been immersed in belly dancing now for 32 years. As a child, she and her grandmother danced together. Her grandma danced until she was 65 years old.
“I’ve been doing it so long, it’s just part of me now,” she said. “It is such an interactive art form. It changes so rapidly. I just love the morphing energies.
“It is such an interesting art form,” she said.
Although her day job as a quality auditor at City Bank is a far cry from the artistic realm of belly dancing, Anderson remains dancing as often as she can.
In addition to dancing in street festivals and showcases, she has been teaching workshops for others to learn and enjoy the craft. Currently, she is sharing her gift with people in Clearfield.
The city is offering a belly dancing class for those 12 and older. It focuses on the low-impact techniques that help participants improve muscle control and stamina. It runs for six weeks through June 8.
There is a “basics” class from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a “beyond basics” course from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.
A longtime belly dancing teacher, Anderson has taught several sessions in conjunction with the Clearfield City Recreation Department.
“It’s just plain fun,” Anderson said. “It’s good to get around people and not have to worry too much about anything. You just move because you can.”
She said there is a sense of identity exploration and good camaraderie.
Cindy Dennis, a Layton resident who participates in the advance class, agrees.
“You meet tons of new people,” she said. “There is just such a camaraderie between all the people who participate.”
Recreation Supervisor Pat Bergseng agreed, and said the class provides an excellent experience for participants. This is the sixth year of the class.
“It has physical and psychological components,” Bergseng said. “It’s a lot about self-confidence and women finding their inner self.”
She explained that people can improve their muscle control and cardio stamina through the classes.
“You can just discover how our bodies can move,” Anderson said. “It’s an avenue to explore.”
While she said the basic class is about the beginning skills, Bergseng said the more advanced class allows participants to get full exposure to the costuming and performing side of it. The group showcases skills at various festivals.
“There is a lot of fun to be had for students in both classes,” Bergseng said. “It’s a class for everybody.”
Cost is $35 per resident and $40 per nonresident. Call 801-525-2741 for more information.