Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Wear to a Belly Dance Class?
For footwear, you can go barefoot or wear dance sandals or soft ballet shoes (I recommend soft ballet shoes if you are dancig on carpet )
For clothing, at the bottom, you can wear Stretch leggings, yoga pants, or jazz-dance pants.
On top, a suggestion is Sports bra or another bra that offers adequate support underneath the proper top, it is of personal choice as to whether you would like to show your belly in a class or feel more comfortable covered up, it is not mandatory to show your belly.
However there are Leotard's or top's with some transparency that keeps the midriff visible and covered too. If you would like to keep your top half covered it is useful for the teacher if you wear a top which isn't too baggy so the teacher can check your posture.
A hip scarf or shimmy belt is recommended to emphasize and define hip movements, if you don't own a hip scarf a normal lightweight scarf can also come in handy to tie around your hips.
Am I Too Fat or Too Skinny to Be a Belly Dancer?
Absolutely NOT! There is no right or wrong body shape.
Belly Dancers come in all shapes and sizes and the beauty of this art form is that you can feel free and comfortable and around other people.
The beauty of bellydance is your body type makes the movements unique to you.
Can I Do This Type of Dance While Pregnant?
Yes! This is an excellent activity for toning the muscles used in childbirth.
If you have any concerns though, please consult your doctor.
Please Note: I am not a medical practitioner though, so if you are unsure then you might be better off not dancing or at least consulting your local GP first.
Am I Too Old for Belly Dance?
Many see it as a woman’s dance, celebrating sensuality and power of being a woman (although men dance it too and many are very good!).
There are famous dancers such as Fifi Abdou and Dina, who are all popular dancers in Egypt and are above the age of 40! and my very first bellydance teacher was in her late 60's and fabulous and is still dancing now!
I have found that the more mature dancers tend to be more expressive.
Belly dance movements are kind on the body and natural in the way that they do not force the body in unnatural positions.
The body does not tend to be worn out after many years of practice and because of this it's never too late to start learning this beautiful art form.
What are the Different Styles of Belly Dance Costumes?
Whatever the costume, some kind of hip scarf is essential.
This can be as simple as a scarf tied around the hips. It should be positioned below the hip bone.
A triangular fringed shawl is great for practice or many ethnic looks.
There are many styles of costumes, some dancers make their own costumes to suit their body type and many professional costume makers and retailers in the UK and around the world.
Most costumes consist of a Bellydance bra , skirt and belt and costuming can dependent on the style of dance you are performing for example a Beledi dress which is typically worn if you are performing a Baladi piece.
What are the different styles?
There are too many to list, but here are some:
Classical Egyptian and Modern Egyptian (Raqs Sharqi)
Folkloric or Beledi Egyptian Style
Lebanese style dancing
What are the Health Benefits of Belly Dance?
The health benefits are both mental and physical. Dancing is a good body conditioning and cardio-vascular workout, it helps increase flexibility and focuses on the core muscles in the torso.
It is suitable for all ages and body types and can be as physical as the participant chooses to make it.
Mental health benefits, for many belly dancers, include an improved sense of well being, elevated body image and self-esteem as well as a generally positive outlook that comes with regular, enjoyable exercise to a beautiful range of music.