Middle Eastern dance
A spiritual connection
MIDDLE EASTERN DANCE – Eva Williams is a Middle Eastern dance instructor at Meridian Community College. Her class is open to the public and is for all ages. Williams says the class offers students exercise as well as a chance to learn about a different culture. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Oct. 6, 2002
Eva Williams loves her job.
The Middle Eastern dance instructor at Meridian Community College believes her class offers people a chance to experience a different culture. She said it also is good exercise.
Williams took her first dance lesson at the age of 3. She has experienced all the traditional dances of ballet, tap and jazz, and she has taught ballet to middle school students.
Her parents, Johnny and Dr. Kathy Baxter of Meridian, encouraged her interest in different cultures.
Desire to learn
Williams always wanted to learn different dances, but never had the chance until she moved to Huntsville, Ala., in 1998.
A chance encounter in a dance store with another dance instructor sparked her interest. Williams was complaining about the cost of ballet equipment when another instructor agreed.
The instructor taught belly dancing and invited Williams to attend her class. Williams was thrilled and immediately began taking the course.
Middle Eastern dance has influenced other well-know dances like the flamenco.
Back in Meridian
When Williams moved back to Meridian a year ago, she wanted to share her experience with others and began teaching a class at Meridian Community College.
Her class at the college meets once a week every Tuesday and is about to start a new semester. All ages are invited to participate.
Students in Williams' class range from 16 to 60.
Williams said her students are from all backgrounds and are taking the class for a mixture of reasons.
Williams also believes the dance helps people create a better self-image.
Now in her late 20s, Williams has learned that that having a job she loves is the most important thing.