Dancing is a big part of our Acadiana culture. People in Acadiana dance like nobody’s watching; specially when everybody’s watching.
But dance can be more than an expression of tradition or culture. It can be therapeutic. You can look at a couple dancing as a microcosm of their relationship or you can look at yourself dancing as a way of getting in tune with your body.
“Whatever the issues are in a relationship, they’re gonna come up through dance,” says Caroline Helm Huval.
Caroline Helm Huval is a social worker and she applies that philosophy in her practice both as a counselor and as a dance instructor at her business, Cajun Dance Therapy. She runs couples therapy sessions that explore relationship dynamics through dance. Couples learn to 2-step, waltz, jitterbug and zydeco. But what couples really learn is how to relate to each other.
Caroline grew up in Lafayette. So we know she’s a fabulous dancer!
As we observed earlier, dancing isn’t just therapy for you and your partner, it can be a way of getting in tune with yourself.
Carol Petijean discovered belly dancing 20 years ago and found it could be a powerful way to escape stress. For the last fifteen years, she’s taught belly dancing at Oasis Belly Dance in Lafayette. The school specializes in Polynesian and Middle Eastern styles, but she also teaches American Cabaret, Egyptian Raqs Sharki and improvisational tribal styles too.
Belly dancing is inclusive, Carol says. Anyone can do it and it offers everyone a chance to just let go. Oasis has about 90 dancers and they perform often at nonprofit events around town.
Carol was born in Rayne. And she also works as a bank fraud investigator.
Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. Photos by Astor Morgan .