Absolutely not. Students are NOT required to show their midriff during class - what you wear is 100% up to your own comfort level! It is easier to see your movements when you aren't wearing a baggy T-shirt, and your teacher will most likely bare her belly so that you can see exactly what is going on, but no one will ask you to do so!
You might find, though, that after a few short weeks of bellydance class, you are much more comfortable in your own skin. Often, students will start classes out in baggy tshirts and loose sweatpants, but by the end of the session, they are comfortable showing off their curves, and maybe even a little tummy skin!
Most of our classes are designed for 16+ years old, although I'm perfectly comfortable having younger students whose parents deem them mature enough to participate in classes with adults. We have no limit to our student's ages - my oldest student to date was 82, and my youngest in a mini-me class was 4. If you're interested in a class specifically catered to younger dancers, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The beauty of bellydance class is that the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Whether you are looking for a relaxing, low-impact exercise that will be easy on the knees and back, or if you are looking to add a new aerobic workout to your exercise regiment, you'll find it in bellydance! The immediate reaction of most students is that they are using their thighs and glutes more than expected. By the end of class, you'll feel it in your abs. And we don't ignore the upper body or arms - with our elegant arm movements and ribcage movements, you'll be using muscles from head to toe. A typical class will burn anywhere from 250-500 calories, depending on how often we stop to break down a movement, and the type of technique being drilled.
My technique classes have always been suited individually to students, based on personal goals. Virtual classes will present a new challenge in this regard, which is why the live classes are so important to me to include. The pre-recorded classes will offer you repetitive drills to keep your heart rate up and your body moving if that's what you're looking for. Live classes will have a bit more downtime as you learn sequences and I take the time to watch each student execute the movements.
Only you know your body, so only you can set your limits, and I will push you to the edge of your comfort zone.
No matter what you fill in the blank with, the answer is NO! There is no such thing as too old, young, skinny, heavy, body conscious, non-feminine, punk, conservative, etc. to bellydance! Through all my dance endeavors, workshops, and studio spaces, I've prided myself on creating a very open, welcoming atmosphere for all of our students. I have taught an eclectic range of students, from 4 to 82 years old... I've worked with underweight women fighting eating disorders to overweight women who feel too ashamed to even show up sometimes. It's amazing how much most of us have in common with feeling vulnerable and silly trying something new. We are classes full of homemakers, computer analysts, physical therapists, lawyers, preschool teachers, college students, and more! I hope that the virtual lessons will allow you to feel comfortable exploring your inner goddess from the privacy of your own home.
There are certainly male bellydancers! Bellydance was historically built on the movements of a woman's body in a gender stratified culture. So, while some men follow the more masculine stylizations of Arabic dance, others choose to learn the exact same movements in our classes.
Absolutely! Bellydance is a low-impact form of fitness. We are also particularly careful with posture and joint alignment, while offering gentle core, thigh, and pelvic floor strengthening drills.
I have training in prenatal fitness, as well as personal experience dancing through pregnancy!
Backaches are one of the most common pregnancy complaints. Not only do the movements of bellydance strengthen the back in fun isolation drills, but the specific posture in bellydance also protects the spine and trains moms to keep the pelvic gently tucked and the shoulders pulled back in a way to save the lower back muscles from holding the majority of the belly weight.
Any amount of aerobic exercise that a pregnant mother can squeeze in during this time will help combat the loss of energy so common in the first and third trimesters. Studies have shown that low-intensity exercise can reduce fatigue up to 65%. Plus, exercise will alleviate problems with insomnia that many women have as well.
During pregnancy, a woman gains as much as 50% blood volume! The low-impact aerobic exercise gained in bellydance will increase circulation which can prevent a number of circulatory issues common to pregnancy: varicose veins, blood clots, and some forms of swelling.
The gentle, rolling movements of the abdominal muscles used in bellydance may help relieve constipation – another common complaint of pregnancy.
If you’ve fallen several times or accidentally misjudged your growing belly, you’re not alone! Your center of gravity changes over the course of your belly growing with pregnancy, so it’s important to keep tuned in to the changes to help with clumsiness and loss of balance.
Several movements in bellydance involve tucking the pelvis and are very similar to the ‘pelvic rocking’ exercises taught in birthing classes. After only a few classes, you’ll notice a stronger core and, over time, this will mean less strain during the delivery and a quicker recovery time.
Most women don’t realize how much work the entire body will go through during the birthing process, especially the legs! The posture and movements of bellydance require strong thighs and our classes teach moms drills and dance movements that will strengthen the entire core, including the thighs and legs. Plus, moms are taught how to breath through the strength training so that when the big day comes, it is second nature! Finally, the nature of our drills teaches moms to isolate each group of muscles, while relaxing the rest. This will come in handy when it’s time to push!
Many women lose confidence and develop bouts of depression or concerns with self-image during the drastic changes to their body during pregnancy. The naturally sensual, graceful movements of bellydance help keep women feeling feminine and empowered during this emotional but exciting time! The number one reason women say they got hooked on bellydance classes is the empowerment and enjoyment of rediscovering themselves.
If you’ve spent time building strength and flexibility during pregnancy, you’ll tend to have an easier recovery after your bundle of joy arrives.