What To Expect In Your First Belly Dance Class

You’ve seen an exciting Bellydancer performing at a local middle-eastern restaurant and you were mesmerized by her grace, fluidity and beauty. You’ve heard that belly dancing is a great way to keep fit and build strength and balance! You love the exotic music and costumes and want to learn the mysterious art of Bellydance in a safe, comfortable group setting, with other like minded students. You are ready to sign up for lessons! Welcome to your first Bellydance class!

Hello, I’m Leela! I have been teaching and performing Bellydance in the Los Angeles area for 23 years, and I LOVE teaching Beginning Bellydance! It’s wonderful to provide an environment where students feel safe and comfortable, and can explore movement, rhythms, deep breathing and get their heart rate up into the target zone, while enjoying the music and the supportive company of other dancers. It’s a pleasure to see the students blossom and grow as they take the first steps onto a healthy educational path that can remain vibrant and fulfilling for their entire lives!

1) What should I wear? Do I have to show my midriff? Great question! Please come to class in clothes that are cool, comfy and stretchy. You will be moving! Think of what you might wear to the gym, or yoga class. And, no, you don’t have to show your midriff; you may wear a t-shirt, or tank top, leggings or work-out pants, or a full skirt if that feels right to you! It’s a good idea to have an accent scarf tied at the hips, to provide both you and your teacher with feedback on the movement you are generating. Many teachers have coined or fringed hip wraps for students to borrow, or purchase. It’s so much fun to jingle when you shimmy! You may dance barefoot, in soft dance shoes, or socks, depending on the studio floor. Your teacher will let you know.

2) What if I am not in good shape right now? Should I wait to take Bellydance class? One of the most valuable aspects of Bellydance is that it is a gentle, low-impact, whole-body experience, well suited for every fitness level. Bellydance welcomes dancers of all sizes, shapes, colors, races and ages. Don’t wait to begin taking classes! Dancing is also GREAT for your brain health, and releases those wonderful endorphins that make us feel happy and relaxed!

3) What will happen in Bellydance class? There will be gorgeous music playing, and you will have an opportunity to meet your teacher and the other students. Most instructors begin with a gentle warm-up to prepare the body for dancing. Then, it’s time to learn some technique! These movements are the building blocks of Bellydance; you will learn the basics, then add on as you return to class. Bellydance is based on isolations - moving and expressing with one part of the body while everything else is held very still. It’s magical! There will be hip movements, shoulder and upper body movements, shimmies and undulations. Perhaps a foot pattern, or some traveling steps. Your teacher may present a movement combination that uses the techniques that were taught in the class, and now you are really DANCING!! You are feeling the music, you are moving with the other dancers, and you are in the FLOW! Welcome to Bellydance!

Visit Leela's website here