Shake it with Krystal [video by Rod J. Eckrich]


Krystal brings contemporary belly dancing to The Region

People who have the ability to dance amaze me because it is something I’m so terrible at. I can't even slow dance. One of my moves was dubbed the Twirp, and another is reminiscent of the Frankenstein monster’s flight from angry villagers.

Krystal Kadar is one of those blessed people who have a strong grasp of various dance styles. And she teaches belly dancing to boot.

As a girl, Krystal loved to run around the house in different costumes and put on a show for whoever was around. She started dancing in tiny tot classes when she was 3 in a case of sibling envy. (Her older sister was taking classes.) She also participated in the dance team at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond.

She picked up much of her ability at the Broad Street Dance Studio in Griffith. She became versed in ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop and turned her love of dancing into a business.

Krystal became interested in belly dancing about six or seven years ago while teaching fitness classes like cardio and kickboxing at local gyms and municipal centers.

People would approach her and ask her if she knew how to belly dance. It came up so often that she realized that there was an incredible demand for it to be taught in The Region. She stepped out on her own and researched it for a year and a half before teaching it.

She trained with videos and through self-directed instruction and incorporated what she already knew of dance into the art of belly dancing.

Krystal refers to her style as belly dance fusion. She realized she was on the right track when she found out other instructors were doing the same thing.

"In my classes, we'll learn a lot of ballet technique,” Krystal said. “We'll learn a lot of basic steps that will help you put the building blocks together to actually be a dancer, not just go through the motions."

Krystal’s first belly dance class as a teacher happened through the Munster parks department about five years ago. More than 40 women signed up. She was accustomed to teaching children various forms of dance and adults kickboxing, but she was nervous about her first belly dance class.

"I was nervous about it, but I kept thinking to myself, these women are here for a good time, and I don't think there are any experts in the room,” she said. “They are going to trust me to lead them through this and have a good time.”

What should a newcomer expect from an initial session?

“We'll do a very basic lesson, some of the fundamentals of belly dance. For instance, just simply moving your hips from side to side, learning a basic shoulder shimmy, stepping right and left,” she said.

More advanced dancers are able to flow with the movements better, but that shouldn't discourage beginners from pursuing classes.

“A lot of women sign up because they want to get in shape, work on their stomach, something fun to lose weight,” Krystal said. “They want to get their mind off the exercise part of it while they are having fun."

While I may never learn to dance properly—even in the simplest sense—Krystal and her fellow belly dancers make it look easy. I may not take a class, but men have shown up for classes before. Well, normally as a goof.

Currently, Krystal teaches two belly dance classes: one at the YMCA in Hammond and the other at Susan's School of Dance in Munster.

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