After more than a decade of teaching this dance, here's what I wish all my new belly dance students would know
It's crazy how many people step into my beginner belly dance classes feeling apprehensive and even ashamed for not having any dance background or feeling like they are not naturally skilled at dance.
If we all came out of the womb as perfect dancers, what would be the point of taking a class?
One of the first things I tell my clients is that I too, only started dancing as an adult. I never had any lessons or training as a child. Growing up I had orthopedic issues, and was very sedentary. And I still don't pick up new physical disciplines and movement patterns with a whole lot of ease.
I just don't let that stop me, and these days I see it as a blessing. It's because I am the way I am that I really take my time to understand movement techniques and to break them down into manageable chunks. And because I am the way I am I can really relate to everyone who steps into my classes feeling apprehensive.
And in fact, I personally really enjoy teaching students who are struggling. I love breaking movements down into really simple forms and the opportunity to analyze and shift the way that I am teaching to fit each person's needs in that moment.
Plus, over the many years that I've been teaching, it has been so rewarding to watch hundreds of people go from feeling like they have "two left feet" to blossoming into skilled and graceful dancers.
If you've been intimidated about taking up this art form and you need the support from a teacher who has been in your shoes, or if you already have belly dance experience but are looking for a supportive and empowering community to join to take your dancing to the next level, consider joining one of our classes here at SharqiDance! We offer highly interactive live classes both online (Zoom) and in person (Long Branch, NJ).
All our classes are offered as closed-container, two month courses with a start date and an end date, and a limited amount of time to register. This way we can keep our classes consistent, small and individualized. We build on skills learned week after week until the end of the course, with class recap email notes and videos to help you practice between classes.
But whether or not you decide to study with me here at SharqiDance, or with another teacher and school, if you are new to this dance, remember this:
No one is born a skilled dancer. Belly dance is an art form that anyone can learn. Yes, even those of us with two left feet. All it takes is a willingness to learn, a love of the dance, and consistent practice. And of course, it helps to have the guidance of a teacher who wants to see you succeed!
So go forth and get started on your belly dance journey. You just might surprise yourself at what you will be able to do, a few months and years down the line.
Yamê is a Brazilian-American
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