Sep 17 2012 By Poppy Bradbury
My Trade - Dance teacher Ljiljana Grkinic.
BELLY dancing conjures the exotic image of beautiful women swaying in eastern lands which may seem thousands of miles away from west London.
But for Ljiljana Grkinic her classes allow regular women to ‘escape into a fantasy land’ and ‘ignite their inner fire’.
Born in Yugoslavia, her family moved to England in the 1960s and she has lived in Brentford nearly all her life. Her mother was a professional dancer and growing up Ljiljana was heavily exposed to and influenced by the cultural melting pot of her homeland.
After graduating from Middlesex University with a degree in film, drama and English literature, dance continued to play a large part in Ljiljana’s life.
However, it wasn’t until she was 28 that she decided to transform her love into a business.
Ljiljana runs classes at Watermans Art Centre in Brentford High Street every Saturday and Sunday for women of all shapes and all ages.
She says of her business: “It wasn’t just about the money, it was about reviving a beautiful tradition. If we let the diversity of this world die out, it’s going to get really boring.”
Preserving these traditions is extremely important to Ljiljana, and dance is a way to seamlessly merge together a variety of cultural strands.
She believes there is also ‘phenomenal material’ to support the supposed healing aspects of belly dancing, and at the end of the month, the tutor launches a five-week course focusing on holistic belly dancing.
For an hour every weekend, she provides a place where around 10 to 15 women can forget about the worries and stresses of their day to day life, and most classes end with a cup of tea and a chat. She says it is all about ‘creating community’.
To get involved, email Ljiljana at email@example.com.