Beginners work mostly on getting the posture and basic movements right. We focus on the key moves with both technique and emotional levels. I will introduce moves for each part of the body and an overview of the main styles of bellydance, such as classical Egyptian and American Tribal Style. The freedance is very important at this stage as it provides a chance to practice what we have learnt and see how it fits with our body and mind.
Improvers perfect and reflect on these basic moves and learn how to use them. They start to layer moves together, working out which arms suit which hip moves, how to travel, directions of travel and levels. During this time I see a huge improvement as dancers develop a more individual style and gain confidence in their bodies abilities.
Intermediate students learn new moves and focus on a different aspect of the dance each term. We may do veil dance or folkloric, American Tribal style or Zills, Modern Cairo or musical structure. Students can continue at the centre they started with or move from one class to another to study in more depth a subject that they find appealing. In addition the Intermediate dancers learn choreographies, have opportunities to perform and drill all the moves to help with fitness and flexibility.
The Advanced dancers should be confident with a number of props, dancing in a variety
of styles and have good performance skills. By this stage they are still learning
more about their dance, and are encouraged to travel to workshops to expand their
knowledge and to share it with the group. The focus in advanced groups in more on
perfecting aspects of the dance, such as hand placements, emotion in performance,
and tightness and formation in group pieces. Advanced dancers also bring other skills
to the group, sharing the knowledge they gain from workshops, leading sub-
Now got to the "your first lesson" page and find out more
Each class will follow a basic formula, be it a Beginners, Improvers, Intermediates or Advanced.
Please arrive with a few minutes to spare, pay, register and change if necessary
We start off with lots of rotations to increase flexibility and "oil" the joints, special attention is placed on posture at this point. We then build into a more up tempo warm up to help stimulate the heart and lungs, increase the blood flow and get oxygen to the working muscles. I also like to add some Arabic mannerisms, bellydance styling and/or brain gym work at this stage.
As part of our warm up I may include a number of arm, tummy or rib moves. These can be some of the most difficult movements we learn, so repeating them little and often helps our long term flexibility.
Once warmed up we can spend some time on particular movements, or groups of movements, breaking them down and working out how our muscles control them and how we shift our balance. I try to use visual, verbal and physical cues to help you really understand each move. Only when we truly understand what we are doing can we relax and layer with these key movements.
Once we understand the movement we then drill it for around 3 minutes to help the muscle memory. Repeating these drills outside class time can help a great deal. Don't worry if you miss a class, as each of the classes is planned so that the really important moves are repeated regularly. Take time during your drills to work on the isolations or add personal touches such as arm moves to see how the moves feel with a different focus.
Every couple of weeks we will ad a free dance section to the class. Free dance is
very important to our dance as we are working towards self expression and the individual
interpretation of the music. This means that we need to take time to listen to a
range of different pieces of music and feel how the music makes us want to move.
We will start with very simple music and a small range of movements-
Many classes will include the ever popular shimmy section, where we work on our shimmies, layering and moving with them. A shimmy is the very rapid movement, initially of the hips, and can take years to master. Drilling a shimmy is one of the hardest things we do, but if you focus on breathing properly and relaxing it can look very effective.
In the beginners classes I will also occasionally lead a “follow me” dance, where
I will use the moves we learnt in that class, mix and match them with some favourite
arm or travelling moves and the students can copy parts or all of it. These sessions
are always popular and help dancers learn how to put moves together to interpret
the music -
Finally we have our cool down, where we walk the room, relaxing and bringing the heart rate down and reflecting on the lesson. We then take a moment to centre ourselves and enjoy feeling grounded.