Chicken soup isn’t all that’s good for the soul. Dubai has a new hotspot in the heart of Downtown that promises to make you feel happy and fulfilled. Soul Art Centre in The Residences is keeping the child in everyone alive with a wide range of art, calligraphy and dance programmes, such as abstract art, painting parties, Arabic calligraphy, African dance, samba, flamenco, hatha yoga and Zumba. And 37-year-old Lama Mardini, a Dubai-based Syrian and former marketing professional, is the brains behind it. “If you ask my parents, they’ll tell you I learnt to walk and dance around the same time – no kidding,” she says.
“Art and dance allow you to express yourself and add joy to your life. When I made more time to embrace my passion and realised its positive impact on my life, I decided to convert it into a business and share it with others like me. Soul Art Centre is a sanctuary in which to unwind; it’s an escape from everyday stress.”
Don’t walk in expecting traditional classrooms, though. At the core of the concept is the freedom to be who and what you want to be, so you can sign up for workshops such as Dance into Trance, Creative Alchemy and Transformative Spontaneous Painting to channel everyday challenges of life into a positive experience.
“Our instructors act as mentors and believe in Soul’s philosophy to inspire, not teach,” says Mardini, who has basic training in salsa, bachata and tango, and has been painting since she was a child. “They encourage members to reconnect with their inner artist.”
From Dhs150 per session (art workshops), from Dh95 per session (dance classes). Soul Art Centre, The Residences 1, Downtown Dubai, www.soulartcenter.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (04 551 7440).
Three Dance Styles to Try
Reggaeton This dance has Latin and Caribbean roots and is a great abs workout. Aim Dance Academy, Executive Towers, Business Bay, www.aim-danceacademy.com.
Kizomba Taking Dubai by storm, kizomba is an Angolan dance characterised by slow movements. Café de la Danse, Vila 1130, Al Wasl Road, www.lecafedeladanse.com.
Irish Dance This genre is distinguished by rapid foot movements and a rigid upper body. Cello Music & Ballet Centre, Oasis Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.cellodubai.com. Soul Art Center