International Dance Company offers more than just belly dancing

By 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


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


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


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!