The sound of jingling starts as women of all ages pile into Z Studio on Wednesday night and grab different brightly colored and loud belly dancing skirts for class.
The women of Winona are looking for a new fun way to exercise.
And Teri Tenseth Market — or Teri Shakes, as she goes by on stage — is ready to teach them.
She shakes and spins in front of the mirrored classroom in her colorful, jangling Middle Eastern costume as she fires off analogies to her students.
“Pretend there’s a pencil sticking out of your belly button and you’re trying to draw a circle on the wall,” she says.
The women in the class all giggle in reply as live percussionist Lior Shragg performs.
Teri, 32, has been belly dancing for more than a year and already has progressed to teaching, a demonstration of her energetic personality. She’s has been involved with music and the arts for most of her life, and incorporates that passion into her day job at KQAL Radio at Winona State University.
Teri grew up in Winona, though she hasn’t always lived here — she moved to New York City in 2004, where she worked on her film-editing career, including as an assistant editor for the History Channel and A&E, among others. She also worked at Apple stores in both New Jersey and New York City, where she occasionally met some local color.
“I had this one guy who would come in and ask me to beef up my accent,” she recalled. “He just got such a kick out of it.”
In 2010, after tiring of the East Coast lifestyle, Teri returned to Winona and found a job as program director at KQAL, where she produces five shows a week on Minnesota arts, history and culture. The shows include “Art Beat,” on local artists, and “Don’t Cha Know,” a calendar of what’s going on locally.
Teri’s work demands that she understand the Winona community — a task she takes seriously.
“I believe it is your job in life to serve your community and that’s what I love about this job,” she said. “I get to know the people of Winona.”
As if that isn’t enough to keep a person busy, Teri also leads an active lifestyle as a triathlete. Last year she completed triathlons and several 5Ks. This year, she plans to do the international distance of Trinona and is also signed up for the Tough Mudder, an endurance event described as “Iron Man meets Burning Man.”
“My husband tries to tell me to take time out once in a while, and it’s hard for me to do that,” she said. “I like moving, I like being active.
“He’ll be the first one to tell you that I am kind of a workaholic.”
By day, by night and by weekend, Teri shows just how unwilling she is to miss out on something.
“I really like living in the moment and I love serving our community,” she said. “I think you need to take advantage of every moment in order to really appreciate life.”