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The sprung floor of the International Dance Company studio is gentle on the joints. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

The sprung floor of the International Dance Company studio is gentle on the joints. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

International Dance Company offers more than just belly dancing

Last Modified: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 11:05 AM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

When Sarah Ford dances, she always has fun because it doesn’t feel like exercise.

“Like a lot of women, I hate to exercise, but I love to eat,” Ford said. “I have always been totally unathletic and dislike playing any game involving a ball larger than a pingpong ball. However, I have always loved to dance.”

Ford enjoys ballroom dancing, but one must have a partner for this.

“Although my husband likes to dance, he does not have a lot of time for it,” she said. “That’s why I started taking belly dance about five years ago at Belly Dance by LaDonna. Belly dance can be done as a solo, or with other women. When LaDonna started working as a chemical engineer, she no longer had time to teach. That is the reason I opened my studio, International Dance Company, two years ago in September 2011. She said she wanted a place for she and her girlfriends to continue belly dancing.”

What classes do you offer?

We offer three different types of belly dancing, and this is the only studio in Lake Charles that offers belly dancing. We have classes for basic belly dance, which incorporates the basic belly dance moves as well as a fusion from other cultures. This class is taught by Jennifer McHaffee, who trained under LaDonna. We offer Egyptian belly dance, which is very fun and flirty and mostly done solo. Marcela Jones is the Egyptian instructor. She is originally from Brazil and trained in San Francisco under an Egyptian dancer. Marcela also danced and competed professionally while in California. And finally we offer American Tribal Style belly dance which is based on very specific moves done by groups of women following the cues of the leader. This dance was originated by Carolena Nericcio, owner of Fat Chance Belly Dance in San Francisco. The ATS teacher, Jerikaye Brown, as well as I are certified Fat Chance Belly Dance instructors.

But we are more than a belly dance studio! We also offer yoga, taught by Marissa Guzman who is from Colombia and trained in Houston, and Rosie Pryor who trained in India. We offer Zumba, taught by Becky Ford who is certified in Zumba Basic and Zumba Gold. Becky is my sister-in-law and also a SPARK teacher at Prien Lake Elementary. Her classes include her co-teachers and they love the stress-release she provides. She and Jennifer were

instrumental in helping me start the studio. Daniel Gonzalez also rents space at my studio to teach Zumba. He is originally from Venezuela and is certified in Zumba Basic.

My studio also has ballroom classes taught by the renowned Tommy Kerr who has been teaching in Lake Charles for well over 20 years.

And finally, I am proud to include American Karate do-shotokai at the studio, taught by Dr. Kyle Brunner, a First Dan black belt and a research engineer at SASOL. This type of karate is phenomenal because it immediately incorporates practicing with partners to perfect the timing and technique. Most martial arts classes only involve partners in actual sparring. The motto of this art form is “Discipline. Integrity. Respect.”

What sets your dance classes apart?

There are two things that really set my studio apart from others. First, it is a dance/fitness studio for adults only. We only take ages 18 and up. Second, we have a wonderful sprung floor that is gentle on the joints. The studio is very bright and inviting and can be rented for parties as well.

What types of students does your services gear toward?

Our students are for the most part in two different groups – ones who are interested only in keeping fit in a fun way and ones who are more interested in learning dance technique and performing. That is why we have our pricing structured into Fitness Packages and Dancing Packages. The dancing classes are a great workout, but they also involve learning technique, choreography, costuming and performing. We have two separate performing troupes, Les Lumieres and Ladies of the Lake. We love to perform at various functions in Lake Charles in order to share the beauty of this art form with our community. We have also performed at the Texas Renaissance Festival and 3rd Coast Tribal Festival in Fort Worth, Texas. Our dance instructors are also available to hire for private performances at parties and events.

What have you learned since opening your business?

I have discovered since I started the studio that all the classes we offer interconnect. Each class helps in some way with the other classes. They all help develop strength, balance, flexibility and health of the mind, body and spirit. And they all accomplish this while having fun. We have the very best teachers who are all knowledgeable, passionate, inviting and caring. It is never too late to learn something new.

Business Snapshot

• Location: 530 W. McNeese – right next door to Cypi’s Cake Box

• Owner: Sarah Ford, Certified Zumba Basic, Zumba Gold and American Tribal Style Belly Dance instructor

• Services Provided: Dance classes, fitness classes, performances, workshops, rental space

• Hours: Monday through Saturday

• Years in Business: Two

• Number of Instructors: Seven

• Phone: My Cell: 499-6933 Studio: 240-8475

• Email:

• Website:

• Company Motto: Making Fitness Fun!

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