Bellyfit Moves Women Through Music and Dance

Bellyfit's energy-filled, 60-minute sessions incorporate cardio, stretching and meditation with movement to music as their foundation

Credit: Bellyfit

Bellyfit got its start in Ontario, but now offers classes at more than 20 studios across BC

Bellyfit draws on inspiration from belly dancing, Indian and African dance, plus principles of yoga, Pilates and spiritual healing

When it comes to workouts, finding the right fit can be tough. Enter Bellyfit, which brands itself as the “world’s leading holistic fitness system for women.” Designed specifically for the female form and dedicated to serving mind, spirit and lifestyle, as well, could this be the perfect exercise routine for you?

With hundreds of classes offered across North America, Bellyfit is moving thousands of gals (sorry guys, you’ll have to find another way to shed the pounds) toward a more balanced, joyful and inspired life — and better bodies, to boot.

Bellyfit got its start in a small town in rural Ontario, where founder Alice Bracegirdle — a single mom on welfare battling depression — decided to make a change. Knowing that the key to better health lay within her, Bracegirdle, a former dancer, fitness instructor and yogi, turned to simple tools she had within her reach, slipping on a CD and dancing around her living room. After several days — then weeks — of getting her groove, her mood changed, her body changed and … Bellyfit was born.

Just Let the Rhythm Move You

With movement to music at its core, the system’s evolved to draw inspiration from belly, Indian and African dance, plus principles of yoga, Pilates and spiritual healing. Each 60-minute class improves your physical and mental strength with easy-to-learn cardio moves, core work, stretching and meditation.

“Bellyfit is fun, there’s nothing like it,” says Bracegirdle, who is now based in Victoria, BC. “Whenever you get a group of women together — dancing and celebrating and moving and breathing — there’s a really potent energy that’s created in the room.”

The music — an inspiring fusion of sound that includes ethno-infused techno, tribal rhythms and relaxing ambient tracks — adds another dimension to the total-body workout.

“These tracks bring an energetic component to each class that’s essential to the … Bellyfit experience,” she explains. “From the beginning of the class to the end … [the music] is designed to take you on a powerful journey of personal transformation.”

Anyone can Bellyfit, regardless of fitness level. Certified instructors show low- and high-intensity options so participants can choose the moves they’re most comfortable with. The idea, says Bracegirdle, is “to focus on the feet first. Then you can add in the layers, such as hips or arms, when you’re ready.”

Meet and Mingle at Bellyfit

Community, too, is an important part of the Bellyfit manifesto, which proudly proclaims it knows “no boundaries of age, size, ability, race or faith.”

“More and more women are supporting the movement and our network is expanding exponentially,” she says. “Whether you have two left feet, are a professional dancer, just getting into fitness, a seasoned athlete or somewhere in-between, you will be inspired by the beauty, diversity and power of the moves and mantras — and experience a fabulous workout, whether it’s your first class or your 100th.”

To that end, Bellyfit will hold its first convention on Thanksgiving weekend (October 5-7, 2012) in Victoria. With 30-plus experts in the field of women’s holistic fitness attending, the event is the first of its kind in Canada. Bellyfit instructors and participants who attend can expect a bevy of workshops, lectures and special events covering such topics as dance, Pilates and yoga, pelvic floor and hormone health, body image, spiritual development, business coaching, money management and more.

What You Need to Know about the Bellyfit System

  • Bellyfit offers classes at more than 20 studios across BC. Check online for a location near you.
  • Each hour-long Bellyfit session starts with a standing meditation and focused breathing, followed by a 35-minute cardio segment that incorporates dance movements, a cool-down, ab exercises, stretches and a final meditation.
  • Calorie burn depends on your personal level of intensity, but is estimated at 400 to 700 calories per class.
  • Runners are recommended for the cardio portion. Wear moisture-wicking clothes you can move in.