We know Ayelet Waldman is a fan — she even mentioned the place in a column she wrote for Harper’s Bazaar. And Berkeleyside reader Britt Bravo also has good things to say about Berkeley belly-dancing studio Hipline which opened last year at 3167 College Avenue.

Bravo writes: “It’s a special place with an amazing vibe. I go to their ShimmyPop class.  The music is fun and super cheezy. What makes it so great is their emphasis on fun, embracing your femininity and appreciating your body’s beauty (no matter the size).  It’s a little bit difficult to explain… I took a bunch of friends there for my 40th birthday and almost all of them have continued to go — one even started teaching there recently.”

Hipline is owned by sister Gabriela, Samar and Alexandra Nassar, three first-generation Lebanese-Peruvians who were born and raised in the Bay Area. Samar has performed belly dance professionally for eleven years.

And anyone worried about baring their midriffs — so that excludes 80% of teenage girls — should banish their concerns. As Waldman says: “Who wants to see a skinny belly dancer? In this class, [a] bouncing behind and round belly are assets.”

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...