Learning to Belly Dance
About my classes
What to Wear to Class
Learning to Belly Dance My Belly Dance Classes are designed for students wanting to explore a fun and different form of excersize, or for those wanting to explore the possibilities of becoming a professional dancer. I teach 7 Levels of Instruction (see descriptions below) Levels 1 through 4 are taught typically in a public studio environment. Levels 5 through 7 are taught usually by special arrangement in the form of a workshop, by invitaion only classes, or by a private or semi-private lesson format. No matter what Level, Belly Dance is fun! However, learning to master Belly Dance, is no different than mastering any other serious art form. Learning to Belly Dance takes time and committment . It is up to the individual to decide what their personal Belly Dance expectations are. I have been teaching Belly Dance in the Bay Area for decades. Many of my students have become professional dancers or teachers themselves. I am committed to offering the student a high standard of instruction and encourage the student to take learning how to dance seriously. For more insights about my teacher/student philosophy, please read Teacher Student Responsibilities
About my classes
DANCE STYLES I teach are, Egyptian
Raqs-Sharqi, Egyptian Folkloric, Tunisian Folkloric, Moroccan
Folkloric, Gulf and Saudi Regional dances, Turkish 9/8, and
Persian. I also teach American Style Belly Dance which fuses elements of many traditional Middle Eastern and North African Dance styles with other Ethnic dance forms such as Flamenco, Dances of India, Romani Dance, Dance of Central Asia and Dances of the African Diaspora. I introduce students to the differences in dance styles, along with
historical and cultural information about the origins of dance in these areas. I teach finger cymbals, and American Style Belly Dance elements like
veil work, floor work and prop use such as sword balancing. I teach
students about traditional North African and Middle Eastern Music and musical interpretation.
I inform students about traditional and non-traditional costuming and about aquiring or making costumes.
CLASS GOALS To teach students to dance, play cymbals, use props, and understand cultural aspects of the dances
CLASS FORMAT and STRUCTURE My
teaching format is built upon learning Malia's 37 Basic Belly Dance
Steps. Every class begins with warm-up exercises which are a
combination of sit-ups and leg-kicks moving into yoga inspired
stretches. We then proceed to learn/review
steps, combinations and choreography appropriate to each
level. Each class concludes with a cool-down stretch.
Level 1 -2 classes I introduce students to each of the 37 Basic Belly Dance Steps. As students learn each step, I put together combinations of steps to teach how to transition from one step to another. Level 1-2 students are taught simple sets of step combinations in order to build confidence dancing to the rhythm and executing transitions. Level 1-2 Step combinations are designed to assist the student in remembering the basic steps that they have been taught. Music used in Level 1-2 is generally rhythm based.
Level 3-4 classes In this level we perfect
the stylization of the movements. This means the student is encouraged to
not only execute the mechanics of a movement, but be able to make that movement
look polished, by confidently integrating feet, arms, body and expression
and can follow the music correctly. I introduce playing Finger cymbals while
dancing. Music used is rhythm based and melody focused. We do more difficult movements,
isolations and combinations which teach the student to follow not only rhythm but musical phrasing as well. This level introduces props such as veils,
balancing swords and pots plus floor work.
Levels 4-5 With polished movement vocabulary learned in previous levels, we expand our movement vocabulary with more complex combinations. We work on building our knowledge of Middle Eastern Music identifying standard songs which use a variety of different rhythms. We learn how to dance to music that incorporates intricate phrasing and "breaks". We explore solo routine format. Students learn how to put steps together in combinations and match to the music. We also work with learning how to spontaneously improvise a solo dance. Regional dance and music forms such as Tunisian, Moroccan, Turkish, Kashlama (9/8), Gulf Dances are introduced and explored. We continue to play finger cymbals and work with props such as veils, balancing swords and pots and floor work. Students in this level may be invited to perform with Malia and New Moon Belly Dance either in group choreography or as soloists depending on skill.
Level 6-7 In this level students should be able to create their own choreography, be able to perform solo, improvising comfortably to live music and executing all their movements correctly, artistically and skillfully . We also work with props such as veils, balancing swords and pots and do floor work. Students in this level may be invited to perform with Malia and New Moon Belly Dance either in group choreography or as soloists depending on skill.
MUSIC I provide students with a list of CD's that are good for practicing bellydance.
COSTUMING I provde my students with simple patterns to make basic pantaloons and circle skirt. Beyond that I can assist with many types of costuming ideas, from Cabaret to Ethnic to many regional folkloric styles. I also bring in Ethnic Costumes for show and tell. I advise, where the best fabric, trim and bead shops are locally. I keep students informed of festivals where I know vendors are going to be selling their goodies. I periodically set-up special workshops for my students where I bring in artists experienced in teaching do-it-yourself costume construction. I also bring people in to class who make and sell costuming. Additionally, I provide my students with lists of vendors who sell belly dance supplies and accessories on the internet.
What to Wear to Class To start belly dance you need 3 garments: workout or yoga pants, a top of your choice such as a tank top or tee-shirt and a hip scarf for your hips. How to choose your class attire: Your first consideration should be to select clothing which allows you to move freely and does not constrict your movement in any way. Also consider that you want to wear a fabric that wicks moisture away from your body as you will sweat. Stay away from garments like jeans, which restrict movement and due not transfer moisture away from the body. Yoga pants and a tank top are great as they provide the needed stretch plus they are usualy made from fabics which wick away perspiration! As you spend more time belly dancing, you may want to start to wear costumes to class such as Pantaloons and Long Skirts. Long full skirts are fun, but please wear yoga pants or leggings under them as we do leg kicks as part of our warm up exercise. You will need to wear some sort of a hip scarf or belt at the hip line so you can focus on hip movements. NOTE: Please no glass beaded fringe. Since we mostly dance barefoot, beaded fringe can often times break and the little bits of glass bead can end up in your foot Here is a list of local vendors who sell dance class practice wear.
FOOT WEAR Most Dancers enjoy dancing barefoot. But for those who wish to wear foot covering, I suggest a soft slipper like a ballet shoe or hermes sandal. You can have great fun with Middle Eastern Dance simply by putting on the garments that you use to do the dance in. Dance class gives an opportunity to wear beautiful, whimsical garments that you may never wear otherwise. Many students enjoy putting on their their favourite flowing skirts, colorful hip scarves, armloads of bracelets, coin headpieces, and embroidered vests to class once a week. It's all up to you, be creative as you please.
I hope this gives a few basic ideas. Whether you intend to make belly dancing your career or you dance just for fun, buy costuming from Egypt or make your own: CATCH THE SPIRIT! Get the creative juices flowing, adorn yourself, be beautiful, dance well and have fun................. Malia Back to Home