What is the difference between Middle Eastern Dance and Bellydance ?
Belly dance is a name that many M.E.D. teachers try to distance themselves from.
It gives the wrong impression of what we do, and conjures up images of the Harem,
wiggling our bellies and exploitation. Unfortunately many people have no idea of
what Middle Eastern dance involves and so use the term Bellydance instead. I have
no problem with either term-
Where can I find a local class ?
If you can't come to my classes then take a look at the links page under teachers listing. Each of the web sites listed contains contact details for teachers in other regions. You could look out for posters and flyers at local events, such as dance festivals or fetes. The listing of MED teachers is a country wide problem, so please help me help others. If you know of another web site with listings, or a teacher not listed please ask them to contact me.
Could I do bellydance ?
Yes ! Anyone can do this dance, I have students of an age where it would be impolite
to ask, right down to 14 year olds. You don't need a belly, but equally it can't
be too big ! We have dancers for whom this is a first step on route to better fitness,
to those who have added our dance to their weekly fitness routine-
Why can’t I telephone you to chat about the classes ?
There are a number of reasons I ask that you don’t telephone me. Firstly its a very
expensive way to chat and I try to keep the class cost as low as possible. Also
we all live busy lives and sometimes it takes longer to organise when we are both
free than to actually talk. Added to this I live in an area with limited telephone
reception so often get messages hours or even days late ! Email is better because
you know the person you are talking to can pick the message up when they have time.
I also find that mostly people ask questions that are already answered here on the
web site or that can only really be answered by coming along to class and trying
it out. Using email I have time to check that the information I’m providing is right,
add in links, or documents and you have confirmation in writing that answers your
Can my child come to class ?
I can not teach children in all of my classes. Teaching children is a very specialist
skill, which I am not qualified or insured to do. I am happy to teach teens as
long as they are accompanied by a family member, and once 16 they can join any class.
Before mid teens, I believe, children do not have the maturity for the emotional
side of this dance and I would be uncomfortable talking about sensuality, love, longing
and body image with young children. I have, however, found that girls of around
14 gain a lot from being introduced to this dance-
I afraid I do not welcome children coming to class to watch, and this seems to be popular with the majority of my students (many people come to class for time away from their own children !).
Do I have to perform ?
Some people can't wait to perform, while others may never want to, and I accept and appreciate that. Middle Eastern dance is a performance art, and as such I organise a number of events each year where you can get some performance experience, none of which are compulsory, although they should all be fun. I also invite visiting teachers to take workshops locally, and organise trips to performance and workshops in other areas. If your aim in coming to class is to perform at a forthcoming event, let me know and I can help you prepare.
How do I know I will learn it properly ?
I have studied with many of the top teachers in the world and take my continuing
study of this subject very seriously. I have obtained qualifications, from both
City and Guilds and the specialist course by ASMED in the teaching M.E. Dance (three
years of studying all topics from individual styles of dance to individual styles
of learning). I continue to learn and adapt how I teach, looking for best practice
in all that I do. As a n Adult Education teachers I was monitored by the centres
and by other key staff on a regular basis. Adult education requires that students
are monitored and their lessons planned and structured, and I have continued to use
these structures in all my classes. I have now been teaching full time for twelve
years and would probably frighten myself if I worked out just how many hours of classes
I have taught-
What are the health benefits ?
It is certainly true that students report many benefits from learning this dance,
although I have no medical proof to call upon. In general anything that increases
your heart rate for 20 mins and keeps you mentally and physically active is good
for you. This dance is very elegant and helps to increase the self confidence, which
has changed how people look at themselves, their relationships and their work. Weight
loss is not a primary aim, but some dancers find that a couple of classes a week
are a fun way of exercising and help them towards their targets. The focus on the
whole body can help with flexibility and ease minor aches and pains in the back and
wrists particularly. The use of core muscles in many of the movements helps promote
inner strength which can help with stress incontinence, PMT and pelvic control. Its
also very good for everyone to take time each week to do something for themselves,
the benefits of a few joyful hours are hugely underrated ! Bellydancers do tend
to be very strong, beautiful and confident-
Can I dance while I'm pregnant ?
Yes, I am happy for you to dance through your pregnancy, on condition that you have
discussed it with your doctor and that you have already done 6 months of bellydance
in the run up to your pregnancy. Because of the increase in flexibility of the joints
and the disruption to balance during pregnancy it is a bad time to take up a new
form of exercise. However we have had many "belly babes", whose mums have used this
dance as a preparation for pregnancy, danced through and returned to tone up after
the birth. I was advised to drop the dancing while expecting my youngest, but returned
soon after and I am willing to be sympathetic to anyone else who has to give up something
they love for those few short months-
How do I sign up ? And how much will it be ?
I moved to the USA in 2011, and plan to start classes in January 2012 in Pleasanton and Dublin. Until the venues are confirmed I’m not taking bookings, but if you would like to join my mailing list and be the first to hear about my classes please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are the Drop in classes really drop in ?, can I just turn up ?
Most people like to email me first, which is nice, but if you just have the urge then come along !
What if the Drop in classes are full ?
This has never happened in the past 10 years, although sometimes we have come rather
close ! The size of the class depends on the size of the room and where possible
I have the option of moving the group to a larger room in the same venue should we
outgrow the room we currently use. I can also use a pre-
How do I get to be a better dancer ?
There are lots of things you can do to improve your dancing once you have done a
few terms. Some of my best dancers are those who regularly go back into foundation-
Can I go straight into the more advanced class ?
It's a bad idea not to start with the Foundations even if you are already a dancer
of other styles or you have done this kind of dance in a family setting since childhood.
You will need to understand the names I give the moves and how we use them to relate
to the music and in the different styles-
Can I bring a friend to watch ?
I'm sorry but you can't bring extra people to the classes-
Can I come and watch to see if I like it ?
See the answer above. You are most welcome to come along to one of the drop in classes
anytime but I would like you to kick off your shoes and join in at the back (or front
!). In exceptional conditions (health reasons) I would be willing to ask a group
if they would mind being observed, but this would be at a time of my choosing and
probably not with a Foundation group. Please don't just turn up and look through
Can I get more out of this than just dance lessons ?
Oh yes ! As a group we organise trips to see shows and bands, we have video evenings
and a Ning social network group -
Bellydance touches many other interests such as costuming, history, travel, photography, make up…. Whatever your interests, you have skills the rest of the group would like to share as we learn from each other.
I'm really only into one style of dance (Tribal/Cabaret/Egyptian) do I have to try the others?
At a Foundation level I like everyone to do at least 10 minutes of many different
What should I wear ?
You will find dancers in my classes in everything from jogging pants and t-
What else do I need to bring ?
You will also need to bring some drinking water-
Thank you to the students for agreeing to have their photo included.