Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can anyone learn to bellydance?
A: Yes, absolutely. Bellydance is all an inclusive art form regardless of age, size, bodyshape, background, fitness level and experience. All you need is enthusiasm to learn and to have functional good health and mobility.
Q: Am I too old to learn Bellydance?
A: No. Bellydance can be learnt and mastered at any age as it is low impact and not stressfull to joints. Some of the most well respected and talented teachers and performers of bellydance today range in age from their early 20's to 70's. Remember that there is no limit except that which you set for yourself!
Q: Do I need a particular body shape or appearance?
A: No. Bellydance celebrates the body in all its forms, curvy, slim, tall, short, dark, light. The wonderful thing about bellydance is that it does not discriminate. Both in class and on stage you will see dancers who do not fit the conventional mould that other mainstream dance styles adhere to. This is one of the most beautiful aspects of bellydance that makes it accessible and enjoyable to everyone. So come along and celebrate being yourself just the way you are!
Q: Do I need to be super fit to learn bellydance?
A: No. Though bellydance is also a form of exercise you do not need to be gym fit before starting to learn. You will of course need to be in relative good health with enough mobility to move your body and limbs. Bellydance is mostly low impact, relying more so on muscular control and stamina than cardiovascular activity. However, if you will increase your heart rate whilst improving your body tone and muscular conditioning, leading to improved health benefits!
Q: Will bellydance help me lose weight or change my body shape?
A: As with any form of movement or exercise bellydance will increase the amount of calories you burn. You will notice improvements in the strength, tone and silhouette of your body as you train your muscles and refine your posture. Areas that particularly benefit are: arms, shoulders, waist, lower & upper abdomen, back, hips, thighs and calves.
However, the emphasis is not on weight loss but on developing muscular strength and control through learning dance technique and artistry.
Q: I have never tried Bellydance, how long will it take me to learn ?
A: The speed of your progess will largely depend on how often you attend classes/workshops, how much you practice at home, and how quickly you learn new skills.
If you are used to movement, dance or physical training in any form then you will possibly progress quicker as you have already established a certain amount of mind-body connection, co-ordination and proprioception. However, these skills can be learnt and developed at any time in your life so its never too late to get started!
Q: Which level of class should I attend?
If you are completely new to Bellydance, have less than 6mths experience or have had a break and want to review your technique then the Beginner class is for you.
If you have 6mths-2yrs of bellydance experience or have plenty of other dance style training and are a quick learner then the Improver class is for you.
If you have 2yrs or more experience then the Intermediate level is for you.
If the class is listed as Open or Mixed level then everyone can attend as the material will be varied to suit differing levels and needs with progressions and adaptations.
Q: I want to take lessons or register for a course but I cannot attend every week, is that OK?
A: For both courses and drop-in classes we will review some previously learnt technique along with learning new technique, so its not a major problem if you miss a lesson. However, previously learnt technique may not be broken down in as much detail and you will need to catch up on choreography. Please note that all paid for classes/courses are non-refundable.
Q: What are the benefits of Bellydance
A: Bellydance has numerous benefits for both the mind & the body improving:
- Body Awareness
- Flexibility & Mobility
- Strength & tone
- Posture & grace
- Artistic expression
There are further benefits beyond these and your scope for personal development is unlimited as you explore the rich physical, artistic and cultural world that is Bellydance!
Q: What do I wear to class, do I need to show my belly?
A: Something comfortable that shows your body line, so that both you and your teacher can see what you are doing.
Baggy clothing is not recommended as it will conceal your movements, however long skirts are sometimes worn.
Stretch fabrics are usually best e.g. leggins, vest, dance top, T-shirt, tracksuit bottoms.
You can bring a hip scarf or regular scarf to tie around your hips but this is not compulsory.
Some dancers will wear cropped tops as it better shows the body line and muscles working, it is also the style worn for most performance costumes. This is of course optional.
We dance barefooted. However you can wear soft dance shoes/slippers or ballet style pumps- whatever allows your feet to move freely and flexibly.
Q: What style do you teach?
A: I teach a blend of Egyptian and Tribal fusion techniques as these are the main styles that I have dedicated my training to. The beauty of bellydance is that there now exists many strains that can be fused and blended to create a unique stylisation to suit the individual. My style and teachings allow you to explore 2 different, yet complimentary strains of bellydance alongside each other. If a move or technique is particular to a style then I will inform you of this when teaching it.
Q: Where can I learn more about bellydance?
A: There are many resources for increasing your ability and knowledge within bellydance. These include websites, books, DvD's, Music, Workshops, Teachers, Festivals etc.
I am an avid believer in self-directed learning and my passion is to share knowledge so my blog includes educational material and articles which you can subscribe to or browse through the archives.
My links page will also point you towards some external resources that I recommend. If you want to look up specific topics/performers or teachers then a Google search will always get you started in the right direction.