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Cambridge Council funds Turkish dancer Melisa Yavaş and arts foundation Balık Arts to run women's workshops

 The council is funding the five-week Kush course created by top Turkish dancer Melisa Yavaş and which will be run locally in Cambridge by arts foundation Balik Arts. The weekly sessions will start on Wednesday 5th March and are open to women of all ages and backgrounds who want to have some fun and keep fit, while enjoying new cultural experiences with other women in the local community. 

Kush (adapted from the Turkish word for “bird”) was launched by Melisa Yavaş at Sadler’s Wells (Britain’s most prestigious dance venue) last year as a way to help women to seek their own freedom and inner peace through dance and complementary activities such as yoga and sound therapy. Melisa will lead each of the Kush workshops in Cambridge, accompanied by renowned drummer Sallam Al-Sheikh who will provide live rhythms. Local teacher Rosanna Gordon will run the meditation and yoga part of the workshops. Each session starts with a group circle and introductions, followed by a warm-up, then high-energy Oriental dancing, and concludes with a cool down through meditation and related therapies. 

Every Kush workshop involves a different theme. The Cambridge series start and end with Relationship, with Acceptance, Womb and Naturally Balanced Female in between. They each home in on a different aspect of the feminine being; women leave sessions feeling more enlightened, invigorated and empowered through their improved understanding of, and relationship with, their minds, bodies and each other. 

Melisa Yavas said: “It’s great the council is supporting this innovative project. Bellydancing is no longer the preserve of those living in Turkey and the Middle East. Its popularity is growing worldwide. It celebrates womanhood: we dance, laugh, and live in the ‘here and now. Any women wanting to make new friends and enjoy new cultural experiences should definitely come along – you will leave on a natural high.” 

London-based Balik Arts has a strong track record working with the Britain’s Turkish and Kurdish communities through a range of arts projects, especially film. Director Yesim Guzelpinar said: “We’ve been expanding our activities into Cambridge over the last year, and felt that Kush is a fantastic project to reach women of different backgrounds.” 


The workshops all take place at the Mill Road Baptist Church and start at 5pm. Each session lasts for 1.5 hours and there is a maximum of fifteen people in any one workshop. There is a £3 charge per workshop or £10 for all five. Advance booking is highly recommended. No previous experience of bellydancing, yoga or meditation is required, but attendees should be in relatively good health. For more information, visit or email 


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