Will belly dancing help me lose weight or get in shape?
Belly dancing, like any other physically demanding exercise, can and will raise your metabolism, strengthen and tone your musculature, stimulate your circulation and increase caloric expenditure. It can help you both learn to love your body and enhance your overall health and well being. If you are seeking weight loss and fitness gains, then you may want to pair a belly dance class with a shimmy fit class or some other sort of physically demanding activity at least three times per week. Belly dance is a low impact, mild cardiovascular activity that will exercise every part of your body!
How long does it take to learn belly dance?
There are so many individual variables that factor into learning any new skill, such as aptitude, desire, motivation, innate talent, work ethic, past experience, etc. How long it takes to learn how to belly dance depends on the individual. In any one class, you will learn several moves and how to combine those moves. In our experience, all women excel at some movements and are challenged by others. We offer a progression of dance classes that allow you to move forward from beginner to professional if that is your desire.
Do I have to perform? Or, can I perform?
There are many reasons why a person may study belly dance- for health and fitness, for social or relaxation purposes, to gain confidence and self-acceptance, to learn a new skill, to do something for yourself, because it is fun, to express yourself creatively, to learn to feel comfortable in your own skin. The list goes on…. You never have to perform. It is ok just to take classes and enjoy dancing.
If you want to perform, we provide many opportunities for performance during studio only Haflas (belly dance parties), community events and shows. Many students come to belly dance thinking that they never want to perform and then decide that it is really fun. For advanced beginning, intermediate and advanced students, we offer performance opportunities at local community events.
You will learn movements that are friendly to the female body and can tone and strengthen your core muscles, improve flexibility in your muscles and ligaments of the spine and pelvis, reduce stress, burn up to 400 calories an hour, keep joints lubricated and healthy, and improve your balance and coordination. For a full discussion of health benefits, read our article link to health benefits article.
Starting a belly dance class is like starting any other program of physical activity, check with your physician first if you have medical issues. You should definitely talk to your doctor if you have back or joint problems, obesity, pregnancy or any other physical situation that might impact your ability to safely exercise.
What are the health benefits of belly dance? Are there any physical limitations?
You are just right for belly dance. The movements of belly dance are ancient and female centered. We have students who range in age from 2-77 years old. We have students of all sizes and shapes. We believe that belly dance is a fabulous form of exercise and expression
for all women.
Because our classes are taught for the actual physical students present in the room, you will receive attention based on your fitness and skill level. We keep our classes small so that each student receives individual attention. You will find that some women are great at
one move while others excel at another. The nature of the dance allows for progression at varying speeds within the same class.
Learning belly dance is very much like learning the alphabet. You learn the letters, or isolations. Then you begin to form words from your letters, or combinations from your isolations. Finally, you make phrases or short sentences, combining isolations with arm movements, travelling and layering moves on top of each other. So, a teacher can have one student doing a basic isolation while another student is layering arms over that isolation.
Everyone can progress within the same class at the speed and complexity that they are most comfortable with!
Am I too old, young, out of shape, (fill in the blank) for belly dance?
You will need to wear something you can move freely in, like yoga pants and a t-shirt. It doesn’t need to show your belly or be tight fitting. Most folks begin class in pants and t- shirts and then ultimately move to tighter fitting tank tops or sport bras as they become for comfortable with their bodies and realize the benefit of being able to see what the belly is doing. You should wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy.
Some women like to dance in skirts or wear ethnic jewelry. It helps them feel more festive. Some women like to wear hip wraps. You can bring any scarf from home to tie around your hips.
Most belly dancers dance in bare feet. Our dance floor is a smooth wooden floor so socks are too slippery. Some folks prefer to wear shoes for various health reasons. Sneakers generally don’t work well because they stick to the floor. However, dance sneakers, jazz-type shoes or any smooth soled shoe that allows your foot to flex works well.