How long does it take to learn?
I find that you never stop learning when it comes to belly dancing. There are so many styles and variations. However, once you have the foundational moves you can begin exploring and layering to add dimensions to your dancing. Every individual is different, but, as a generalization, I find 8-10 weeks is typically the amount of time it takes a dedicated student to get learn the basic control, technique, and movement.
What if I can't move my hips?
Many of the movements in belly dance come from controlling your abdominal muscles and movement in your knees. The misconception is that you'll be directing your hips the whole time. An open mind, relaxed body, soft knees, and controlled state is what will allow the hip and arm movements to flow.
Belly Dancing is meant to follow the natural movements and shapes of the female form. Relaxing and allowing the movements to flow out gracefully comes from allowing your self freedom to move without judgment and understanding the mechanics of the dance so you know where the movements come from and this adds the level of control.
In short, the control comes from letting go! (if that makes sense)
I've never danced before and I need a beginner/beginner class:
I don't really believe in Beginner, Intermediate, Advance Level classes. I structure my classes around the concept of Open Level teaching and provide modifications during class for Intro to Advanced dancers.
Once you start to move your body in class, you decide when to incorporate layers into your practice. As your instructor I provide guidance and offer modifications to start trying and adding as you go but you can always go back to basic within the class until you are ready. Likewise an advanced dancer can choose to focus on arm placement and movement while practicing a more basic move or choose to do it in releve or demi plie to add other levels of difficulty to the practice.
A great place to start is with footwork as a basic level. Starting with the feet/footwork and working your way up to Footwork, Control/Balance/Technique, Arm positions, Gaze, Emotional Connection, into a beautiful dancer is the way I look at the different levels.
What does Open level mean?
Open Level means all students, no matter the dance background or experience, are welcome in class. Not only are all welcome, but class is structured to fit the needs of intro/beginner to advanced dancers- From no dance experience to experienced belly dancers/performers. All the steps and movements taught in class are broken down and options for layering levels of difficulty are provided for those students with advanced dance experience and/or those who want to start layering.
You should feel comfortable no matter what your level is.
I'm going to look crazy!!!
If you've never taken my class, this may be something you say to yourself before signing up or dropping in. The reality is, it's a very open and non-judgmental environment. A safe zone to explore this beautiful, feminine, sensual dance. Each one of my students is encouraged to engage within herself to explore her own movement and body. You will see, once you're in the class, everyone is focusing on their own movements and sometimes, the awareness, control, and focus is so intense, you do forget there are others in the class! Come and check it out!!!
- You don't have to bare your belly to do the class. In fact 95% of my students wear a fitted t-shirt or tank top to class and don't bare their belly at all
2) I'll come when I lose some weight
-Belly dancing is about connecting with yourself, increasing circulation, flexibility, finding your own body's movement. The class will allow you to feel comfortable no matter your size, shape, level of experience. It's an amazing and complete body workout, we start with a warm up from head to toe, if you are looking for an exercise plan to add to your lifestyle or a fun and exciting workout, this is perfect, during technique you will tone and during the layering you will sweat and challenge your body in ways you never imagined. My students are different ages, sizes, body types, you will definitely feel comfortable with the wonderful lovelies that come to class!
3) I'm not coordinated and can't dance, I have NEVER belly danced
- Perfect! Then the class is ideal for you. We start slow, step by step, and build on each step within the class. For those students who have taken the class for a long time, I always include new moves and sequences so it's never boring, keeping it new for everyone... beginners and seasoned dancers. If you've never danced before it will be great because we do very few traveling steps, most of the focus will be in your own space focusing on strengthening your core and posture... no tripping of the feet involved.
4) I'm so busy, it's hard to make it each Tuesday.
- This is my favorite... with 3 boys (a 16 year old in high school and every sport imaginable, an active 10 year old, and a 2 month olf baby), a successful photography career, and a full time art teaching job, I found the only way to keep it together was taking out from my "busy" schedule, time just for me! I find you can make the time if you try! It's challenging but isn't everything? Make the time! It will be worth it. You deserve to carve out at least one hour per week for something new and fun! Give it a try!!! Plus, I find there is nothing more refreshing than a room full of amazing, strong women belly dancing!!