Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is Belly Dancing?
Belly Dance is an art form with a rich cultural heritage. Originally from the Middle East, this dance incorporates undulations, vibrations, isolations, expressive facial gestures, smooth and crisp hip movements, all with fluid arms and hand movements. Middle Eastern dancers (belly dancers) dance to an array of exciting rhythms such as 4/4, 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8. You will also learn to dance with beautiful veils, lively percussion finger cymbals (zils), breathtaking sword balancing, dramatic floor work, fans, canes, and in addition, tambourines for a gypsy style. It is never boring, always exciting!

Does the media portray Belly Dancing correctly?
Unfortunately not! Old movies, new movies, MTV and the like, do belly dancing a very big disservice. They insist on portraying belly dance as sexual, and do movements that no belly dancer would ever consider. Just because someone puts on a belly dance costume doesn't mean she is performing belly dance.

Isn't belly dancing "dirty dancing," or just for men's entertainment?
No. Hollywood's image of a scantily clad woman dancing in a smoky cafe, filled with leering men, is a grave misconception. Belly dance is performed at schools, churches, parks, libraries, restaurants and theaters for audiences of all ages and gender.

Isn't belly dancing stripping?
Absolutely not! Belly dancing in no way involves the implication of or removal of any of the dancer's clothes. She does not perform in a lewd or crude manner. Done correctly, belly dance is actually a true cultural and family form of entertainment.

Is belly dancing some kind of cult?
No. Belly dancing is not a religious system. It is like any other dance style, i.e. ballet, jazz, tap, etc. Belly dance students learn the rhythms, steps and history of this very ancient dance form.

Do I have to be of a certain ethnic or religious background to study belly dance?
No. You can be any race, religion or creed.

Isn't belly dancing "The Dance of the Seven Veils"?
No. There is no "Dance of the Seven Veils;" this is another of Hollywood's inaccurate fantasies.

Wasn't belly dancing what Salome did for the head of John the Baptist?
No. She probably danced whatever was popular at that point in time, which has no bearing on today's dance.

Why should I study belly dancing? What are the benefits?
Belly dancing relieves stress and increases flexibility and mobility. It thoroughly but gently works every part of your body. You will learn grace and poise, while putting yourself in touch with your feminine side. You will enjoy making friends as you explore the creative process of dance. But the main reason to study belly dance is because it's FUN!
Do I need to be a certain age or body type to belly dance?
No. Belly dancing allows students to dance to their own capacity, regardless of age or fitness level.

How long will it take before I get good?
Belly dancing is not a competitive sport or dance; therefore, each individual moves at her own pace. Over time, you will develop your own unique style of expression through belly dancing.

What do I wear to my classes?
Any clothing that is not restrictive to movement. Some good choices are shorts, tights, or an Indian cotton skirt, worn with a T-shirt or jogging bra. It is helpful to bring a scarf or veil to wrap around your hips; this will allow you to see your correct hip movements as you learn them. You can go barefoot, or wear comfortable sandals.

Where can I take belly dance classes?
Classes are offered by community schools, gyms, and the YWCA, or check in the Yellow Pages under Dance. If you live in Salt Lake City, I offer classes from beginning to professional, and would love to get you started in this fun and exciting dance form. Check out my site under Bellydance Lessons.
If you have any other questions, please email me at thiak@earthlink.net.

I'm look forward to hearing from you.


Thia