BELLYDANCE CLASS FAQs
Q: What is American Cabaret style?
A: There are two prominent categories of bellydance in America - Cabaret and Tribal. American Cabaret is based off the Oriental styles of bellydance and is the glitzier version, incorporating influences from Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and several other countries. The costume usually consists of a bedlah (beaded bra and belt set) and skirt. The skirt may be very full, as in the Turkish style, or form fitting, like the Egyptian style. The dancer’s set also has a structure to it when performed in a full show, as developed during the Golden Era of the 60’s and 70’s.
Tribal style was created in San Francisco, CA, and has a folkloric feel to it. Costumes vary widely, but there is a predominance of jewelry from Afghanistan and an earthy nomadic gypsy feel to the costuming. Movements are often snakier and dancing is done in groups.
Q: What should I wear to dance class?
A: Wear comfortable clothes to class, similar to what you would wear to the gym or to another dance class - leotards, biking/running pants, sports bras and tank tops are all acceptable. Form fitting clothes around the hips and knees are a must, so I can see how you are moving in class and correct any mistakes you may be making. If your movements are hidden under sweatpants and a loose t-shirt, it hinders my ability to do that. I encourage everyone to add some bellydance flair to their attire for added inspiration. A hip scarf is a good addition to help perform movements. There is no need for sneakers or special shoes, as bellydance is traditionally done barefoot. If you are uncomfortable dancing barefoot, you may wear dance slippers.
Q: I’m new to bellydance and don’t have anything to add bellydance flair to my class attire. What can I do?
A: I will have items for sale at each class that students may purchase. I will have a large variety of hip scarves, silk veils, zills, zill pouches and music CD’s with all the music used in class so students can practice at home. Cash, check, or credit card is accepted for these items.
Q: I’m not sure I would make a good bellydancer. What does one look like?
A: The short and honest answer is.....BELLYDANCERS LOOK LIKE YOU! It does not matter if you are short, tall, skinny or heavy. Bellydance classes are often taken to become more active and to lose weight, however this dance is performed by women of all sizes and backgrounds. It does not matter what color or nationality you are either. Bellydance is practiced all over the world by women of all colors and ethnicities. You do not need to have the Middle Eastern “look” to you. In the Middle East, women of all ages dance. Children, mothers and grandmothers all participate.
Q: I have some health problems. Is bellydance safe for me?
A: If you have any health problems or concerns, you should always talk to your doctor before signing up for classes. While many women take classes to stay fit or to lose weight, the dance classes are focused on learning dance and are not fitness-based. I teach correct dance posture and take plenty of time to warm up at the beginning of class to avoid injury, but only you know your body and its limitations. If we are doing something that you think might hurt, do not do it. I, myself, do not perform certain movements that cause me discomfort. You need to know your body and to not over extend yourself.
Q: I am interested in class. Can I observe one first before I sign up?
A: For the comfort of my students, I do not allow observers in class. Also, it is not fair to the students who have paid for the class.
Q: I am a man. Can I take bellydance classes?
A: Women are not the only dancers in the Middle East. Men dance just as much as women. In the United States there are a growing number of men becoming interested in Middle Eastern dance; however, the beginner group classes I offer are female-only. If you are a man and are interested in learning bellydance, I offer in-studio private beginner lessons. Once you’ve progressed past the beginner lessons, you may join the 200 level group classes. You can also contact me for further information.
Q: I can't find a babysitter. Can my children come if they stay in the waiting room during class?
A: Unfortunately, no. There are no child care facilities at the studio and children can be disruptive to the class.
Q: I am interested in classes but the next session doesn't start for a few weeks or I am currently taking your class and would like an instructional DVD to be able to practice at home. What instructional DVD would you recommend?
A: The best beginner level instructional DVD that I have found is Authentic Bellydance with Lana. Lana's DVD covers most of the movements that you will learn in my Discover Bellydance series of classes. You can purchase her instructional DVD on her website or at class. If you have already taken a dance class session with me, you can also look into the drop-in classes which focus on drills.
Q: I missed class(es), can I make them up or get my money back?
A: If you miss a class simply because you forgot or due to an unexpected scheduling conflict, it might be possible to attend a different class at the same session level later on in the week, if there is another one offered. This is not guaranteed. Call or email me to let me know about your absence and I will let you know what your options will be. If serious injury or exigent circumstances exist, refunds may be issued for the remainder of unattended classes if the criteria for absence have been met. However, once the session has completed, make-up classes and/or refunds will not be provided for ANY reason. Upon payment of registration fees, you enter into an agreement to attend classes for 6 weeks. If you join a gym and pay your membership fees for the month but you never go to the gym, the gym does not refund your money or grant you a make-up month. I don't operate any differently than a gym would in a similar situation.
BELLYDANCE HIRING/PERFORMING FAQs
Q: How long are bellydance shows?
A: Bellydance shows are booked in 5-20 minute time blocks. You may negotiate for extra performance time, photo opportunities and/or a "meet and greet" time with your guests.
Q: What is included in a bellydance show?
A: In a basic bellydance show, a choreographed routine to Middle Eastern music is performed. Props (ie. veil, finger cymbals, candles, etc.) are commonly used for an American Cabaret or Egyptian bellydance performance. The audience/guests may be encouraged to participate.
Q: What types of events are bellydancers found at?
A: I can perform at several different types of events: birthday parties, weddings, receptions, anniversaries, retirement parties, grand openings, cultural/art events, baby showers, bridal showers, corporate events, conferences, conventions, belly-grams, charity/fund raising events, live restaurant entertainment and more.
Q: Will you perform at bachelor parties?
A: NO! I do not perform at bachelor or any all-male parties. I do perform at Bachelorette parties and can incorporate a mini-lesson for the guests. Make your Bachelorette party unique and hire a bellydancer. Everybody will love it and it beats the typical "take the bride-to-be to the club" routine.
Q: Is tipping required and what is the appropriate method of tipping?
A: Tipping is not required but is welcomed and greatly appreciated. Tipping is common and demonstrates appreciation for the dancer's ability. In many Middle Eastern cultures, the dancer is "showered" with the tip. A money "shower" is done by holding bills over the dancer's head and "showering" them over her head one at a time, as if dealing cards from a deck. It is also common to place tips in the sides of the belt of a dancer's costume or in a tip jar/tray.
Q: Can we dance with the bellydancer during the show?
A: Absolutely. However, it is appropriate to wait for the dancer to invite others to join her. During a performance, audience participation will be welcomed after the main part of the show.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: I can accept cash, check, and credit card payments. There is a returned check fee of $30.
Q: How far in advance do I need to book a bellydance performance?
A: Last minute requests can be accommodated at times, but they are not preferred. To ensure my availability for your event date, the more advance notice you give the more likely I’ll be available. A deposit is required to hold your date.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a bellydancer?
A: A skilled dancer will charge the going rate for the area, which could range anywhere from $150- $400 for a basic show. That’s about the same amount of money required to hire a clown, a DJ, a band, etc. People will always remember the entertainment provided at your party or event! Just like they always say, "you get what you pay for." Please remember that you are paying for years of professional dance training, expensive costumes, extensive choreography, rehearsal time, music, makeup/hair preparation, driving time, gas, mileage, insurance and other basic business expenses.