If you have questions about belly dance, we may have the answer here in our belly dance FAQs. Learn what “sharqi dance” is, what to expect when you take a class with us, or how to get started.
1. What should I wear to class? Wear something comfortable, that allows you to move and that you feel really good in! Ideally, your teacher should be able to see your movements, but you do not ever have to wear anything that makes you feel self-conscious. Anything you might wear to the gym or a yoga class would be perfectly acceptable for belly dance class.
Be prepared to get barefoot, or bring dance slippers or foot undeez. Socks are also okay at times!
You can also bring a beaded belly dance hip scarf to tie around your hips, if you'd like. If you don't have one, you can just use a regular scarf to tie around your hips. This will help accentuate the movements, but it isn't mandatory!
2. Do I have to bare my midriff? No you don't! You will never be forced or pressured to show your belly neither in class nor in performances (if you end up joining our performance group). You have the option to be as revealing or as modest as you wish! The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident at all times.
3. What is belly dance, really? Isn't it just rolling your belly/shaking your butt? Why would I pay to learn THAT? Come to class, and you will be pleasantly surprised! Belly dance is a very old dance form with deep-rooted cultures and traditions behind it, originating in the Middle East. In our class you will learn very intricate techniques as you are taught moves that can take years to fully perfect and layer with one another.
But belly dance is so much more than just moves... you will also learn about different rhythms and genres of Middle Eastern music and the cultural and dance traditions behind them, so that you can effectively and correctly apply the moves you are learning!
Anyone can just aimlessly shake their belly or their butt... But it takes years to develop the muscular control and the musicality required perform belly dance in a way that is recognizable by real belly dancers, or by the people who come from countries that belly dance is native to.
4. I'm fat/overweight/out of shape, can I still come to class? Yes you can, and you should! Belly dancers come in all shapes and sizes, even at the professional level. It's one of the coolest things about belly dance, seeing such a variety of body types represented and being able to find beauty in them all. This is something that is seriously lacking in most genres of dance and in general society!
Which isn't to say that professional belly dancers don't face pressures to look a certain way, or that it's all unicorns and rainbows in the belly dance world when it comes to body positivity. But belly dancers are generally way ahead of the general public in terms of understanding, accepting, and appreciating the full range of looks embodied by the female form. If society had half that appreciation, issues like eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and low self-confidence would not be so prevalent among women!
Students of all fitness levels are welcome. If something is too challenging due to low fitness or a prior injury, it can be modified to fit the student's needs. Ultimately we want all students to be healthy so they can achieve their fullest potential, but that doesn't mean you have to be fit to come to class. Perhaps you will fall in love with belly dance so much, and practice so often, that you will see your fitness level begin to increase. We love it when that happens!
5. Will belly dance help me lose weight/lose my stomach fat/tone my abs/slim my waist? That will depend on how often you come to class/how often you practice, the intensity of your belly dance sessions, your diet, genetic predisposition, etc. Belly dance can most certainly be used as a cardio activity to help you lose weight, and if this is your goal we can recommend specific belly dance exercises in a workout program format to help you get the most out of it.
However, it is important to learn how to love your body in its current form, even if you are trying to change something about it (by healthy means, always, please). Try not to adopt the attitude that you need to lose weight in order to be or feel beautiful. You are beautiful the way you are, and if you don't feel that way, start telling yourself that until you do. It is fine to have body goals and work to achieve them (by healthy means, always, please), but it has to come from a place of self-love and acceptance, not from a place of self-hatred and shame!
More importantly than changing the physical appearance of your body, we hope that belly dance will help you change your mental attitude towards your body. Through belly dance, you can become the most graceful and feminine version of yourself, even without losing a single pound. As you gain the ability to move your body in ways you never thought you could, you will see yourself differently, and we hope that you will love the woman you see in the mirror. Every woman deserves to feel sensual and beautiful!
6. I'm too skinny! Do I need a "belly" to belly dance? Yes you need a belly to belly dance, but luckily we all have bellies ;)
You can belly dance no matter how high or low your body fat percentage is, and you can belly dance even if you don't have a whole lot of fat to jiggle. And you aren't "too" anything. You are perfect the way you are, so come dance with us!
7. I have no rhythm! I have two left feet! I'm scared to come to class and be judged. No one will judge you... our classes are a totally supportive environment. Every student has struggles and every student receives corrections, kindly of course :)
If you have no rhythm right now, our belly dance class will help you develop rhythm and if you have difficulty with dance steps and footwork, you will get there too! Different people progress at different rates in different aspects of the dance, and every student is encouraged to compare themselves only to themselves, to try to improve each week from where they were before, not to try to compete against each other!
8. I am XX-years-old and I have never taken dance before. Can I ever be good at this? That's another one of the coolest things about belly dance. You can start in your 30's, 40's, 50's, and even 60's and beyond and still become quite good, because belly dance is very easy on the body and very scalable to your body's needs and limitations.
Which isn't to say it's an easy dance! Belly dance takes a lot of practice and many years to perfect! You just don't need to have started as a child or in your teens to become good at it, which makes it a perfect hobby for someone who wants to start something new later in life, who always dreamed of being a dancer but simply didn't have the chance to start early enough.
Realistically, you are not going to become a professional belly dancer if you started at 70 years old with no prior dance experience. But you can still have fun with it, and if you are interested in performing there are plenty of opportunities for students and hobbyists to perform at belly dance events. We participate at many all around the state throughout the year, and hold our own event once a year that all our students are welcome to perform in!
9. That sounds scary! I don't EVER want to perform! Then you don't have to! We generally encourage our students to perform at these events, but you will never be forced to perform if you don't want to :)
10. I am intrigued! Where can I learn more? You can learn more about our classes by checking out the rest of our website! See our Home page to read more about belly dance and our About Us page to find out more about us. Our Our Classes page will show you available classes, schedules and prices, and our Videos page includes footage of us in action so you can see some of what you might be in for!
We also have a Sharqi Blog where you can read our thoughts and musings about belly dance and other related topics. And don't forget to "like" our Facebook page to see our latest events, pictures, videos, and posts as soon as they happen! You can also sign up for our mailing list to receive free belly dance content weekly right in your inbox, by filling out your email on our Contact Us page. We hope yo hear from you soon!
Lastly, here are some helpful internet resources about belly dance! More will be added soon :)