Finding a Great Belly Dance Teacher
Belly dance is a wonderful way to get fit, have fun and meet wonderful people. The world of belly dance is very welcoming and you will find fabulous classes available in many cities across the world. Your first step in your belly dance journey is to find a teacher, who can introduce you to the key moves, musicians and dance styles. He or she should inspire you to practice hard,research the history of belly dance outside class time, and make every moment fun.
Step One: What are your Needs?
You have decided to start belly dance classes ! - Congratulations. Now we have to find you the perfect teacher. There are many things to consider such as your fitness level, your determination and your dreams. Some teachers run fitness classes where burning calories is the main aim, and there are never performance opportunities. Others nurture solo performers from the very first class. Some teachers use choreography to teach the basic moves (using moves in set patterns), others encourage improvisation (Using the moves as they suit the music). There are teachers who laugh and joke their way through every lesson, and teachers who expect focus and dedication.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you look for a teacher.
What Kind of Belly Dance Student are You?
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Step Two: Finding Belly Dance Teachers in your Area
Now you know what you want, its time to find your perfect teacher. Start by making a list of teachers in your area, exploring their web sites and finding out about their style of teaching. Here are a few ways to start your search:
- Use a good search engine. Enter your home town plus different spellings of Belly Dance (Bellydance, belly dance, Middle Eastern Dance, M.E.Dance...)
- Contact your local City Park and Recs or Adult Education officer.
- Ask at your local fitness center, sports center, yoga or dance studio.
- Search Facebook for belly dance groups in your city or state.
- Visit on line listings. Currently the largest available is on www.Shira.net
Step Three: Choosing your Belly Dance Teacher
When examining the belly dance teachers web sites look for the following info:
- When do they teach?
- What do they teach?
- What is their style of teaching?
- What performance opportunities do they provide?
- How much are the classes?
- Can you take just one, or do you commit to a semester?
While some teachers focus on the general theme of belly dance, others specialize from the very first class. Here are some common styles of belly dance:
Ethnographic : These are the belly dances of a particular country. You may find a teacher who focuses on Greek, Persian, Turkish or Egyptian dance.
Glam: These are the belly dance styles that are all about performance. The classes may be described as American Cabaret, Raks Sharki or modern Egyptian.
Fusion: These are modern belly dance styles that mix belly dance with other forms of dance. The most common are the Tribal dances, which may be ATS (American Tribal Style), ITS (Improvised Tribal Style) or Tribal Fusion.
Once you know what kind of dance your teacher prefers, you can find video clips to better understand their style.
Contact your favorite teachers and send them a brief message asking if you can join their class. Some classes have waiting lists, or particular start dates for new students.
Step Four: Attending your First Class!
Finally, its time to attend your first class! Here are a few ways to make it a stress free experience:
- Check out your venue ahead of time. You don't want to be lost or looking for parking as the class is starting.
- Arrive five minutes early. You may have to complete paperwork or pack your belongings into a locker.
- Wear comfortable clothing and layers.
- Bring a coin belt or some fabric to tie at your hips.
- Pack water in a no spill container.
- Ask for a list of class rules. While not all teachers have a printed list, many studios do prefer to clarify the rules at the first visit.
Belly Dance classes are fun, friendly and a great mood lifter. If you find the right class for you, you will grow as a dancer and discover many new ways of expressing yourself. If you find the wrong teacher, please try again! Just as their are good and bad hairdressers, so their are good and bad belly dance teachers. If you have the passion to dance, keep searching until you find the perfect teacher for you. Happy Belly Dancing !