Belly Dancing Lessons – Finding the Perfect Class
Belly Dancing is a fun and unique pastime. It offers an excellent low-impact workout, a form of artistic expression, the opportunity to make friends and become part of a community of women, and a boost to your self-esteem. Whatever your reasons for seeking Belly Dancing lessons, you will want to consider a number of factors when looking for a local class.
Belly Dancing Styles
Belly Dancing engages a number of styles and if you are in an area with many classes you may have the choice of the style you learn. Elements of these styles will be the same but there can also be significant differences from the movements to costumes and music.
Take some time to learn about the different styles of Belly Dance, as one will most likely capture your imagination more than another. For example, you may be drawn to the earthy, traditional Baladi, or prefer the grace of modern Raqs Sharqi. You may fall in love with the floorwork and more revealing costumes of Turkish Cabaret or the opportunity for individual expression in American Tribal Style (ATS).
How to Find a Local Class
Local instructors will advertise their classes in one or more ways. Check the advertising boards of your local leisure and community centers, look for adult education brochures, search on Google and Craigslist, and ask friends or acquentions if they know of anything you can learn. Remember to look for more than just belly dancing: classes may be listed as Middle Eastern Dance, Egyptian Dance, Turkish Dance, American Tribal (ATS), American Fusion, Oriental Dance or Raqs Sharqi.
If you have a local Turkish or Arabic restaurant they will probably have a belly dancer performing on certain nights of the week. Ask if the dancer gives lessons or knows of a good instructor in the area. Belly Dancers and troupes often perform at Rennaissance faires, cultural events and local festivals – sometimes that's where you saw dancers that made you want to take classes – so again ask if any of them teach or can recommend an instructor.
If No Teacher is Available in Your Area
Unfortunately, even with Belly Dancing growing in popularity around the world, there are still areas where classes are not available. While there is no substitute for a lesson with a teacher who can correct you when you make mistakes, or for the community of learning with other women, if you are unable to find a class there are many good instructional dvds available, and even free belly dancing lessons available online at various video sites such as YouTube and Expert Village.
How to Choose a Teacher
If you are lucky enough to be in an area where there are many Belly Dancing classes, how do you decide where to learn?
Initially, it may be a practical choice. What are the class times and locations. Which is most convenient for you to attend?
Find out more about the different styles of Belly Dancing and decide which you would most like to try. You might be drawn by the history, the moves and / or the costumes. If one style stands out for you, then go to that class.
Ask for recommendations from friends or acquentions, or speak to current students. Ask about the content of the classes and the teacher.
Take a trial class. Most teachers will allow you to take a trial class to see whether you enjoy it or not. Even if they charge by the term, few will object to you taking one class before you pay the fees for the whole ten weeks. Some may even offer taster classes to help you make the decision before committing.
The most important elements of attending Belly Dancing lessons are that you feel comfortable and enjoy yourself. If you are not happy with a class then it may be time to move to a different instructor. Once you find a class you feel relaxed in there will be no stopping you. Enjoy!