FAQ - New Students

New Students - Classes - Performance - Tribal Style Bellydance - All FAQ Topics

New Students FAQ
Below are the most common questions I get from new students. If you would like to learn even more, click on any section of the Extended FAQ menu above, where I have expanded on some common questions and added more detailed topics.

What should I wear to class?

Comfortable clothes that you can move in, such as yoga pants and a fitted tank top or tee shirt, are a great combination for first-time students. Avoid any garments that restrict movement in any way, such as jeans, narrow skirts, etc. Avoid voluminous tops as they make it difficult to see how your body's movement and posture alignment.

Other common options include pantaloons, full skirt and choli.

A hip sash or hip scarf is recommended and is great for being able to really see how your hips are moving. Please no "noisy" scarves, such as ones with loud coins or bangles, as it can make it hard to hear the instructor and distract other students.

Bare feet is the norm, though any soft dance shoe would be fine as well if you so choose. Street shoes are not allowed in the studio.

Do I need to bring anything?

There is no requirement to do so, but I encourage students to put together a "dance bag", which includes a water bottle and a small notebook and pen for notes, finger cymbals, a spare hip scarf, and perhaps a small towel if you wish. Then everything you need to run off to class is in one place!

What time should I plan to arrive to class?

I suggest planning to be to the classroom, dressed and ready to dance, by 10 minutes before the hour. This not only gives you some breathing room should you have unexpected delays, but it will give you some time to get settled in, say hi to your fellow students, and get into a head-space where you are prepared to dance. Rushing in last minute is a sure way to start off on the wrong foot for both your brain and your body! You are able to enter the room 5 minutes before the hour. Please sign in on the attendance sheet as soon as you arrive.

Please, out of respect for your fellow dancers, and for your body which needs a proper warm-up, do not join in if more than 10 minutes late. See missed-class make-up policies on the registration page.

Where can I purchase finger cymbals? What kind should I get?

Students will need to purchase high quality student finger cymbals (also called zills), which can be found at Saroyan Mastercrafts--either Afghanis or Grecians are recommended. I know of no local shops which carry quality finger cymbals, so you must plan ahead and purchase them online in time to use in class the third week of the session.

If you do choose to go with another brand of finger cymbals, make sure you purchase good quality ones. If you buy cheaply produced finger cymbals, they will be difficult to play, and the sound will not be pleasing to you and you won't want to practice! Do not go to "ethnic" shops or similar import stores to purchase them--you will be disappointed! Those are prop pieces and are not appropriate instruments for serious playing. Most important, make sure your chosen style has two slots for the elastic, and can accommodate 1/4" elastic. Finger cymbals with two wide slots and good quality elastic will stay on your fingers better, which helps you play more confidently. All Saroyan finger cymbals share this quality and are well worth the money spent.

What are classes like, exactly?

If this is your first bellydance class, or even your first dance class, then I extend an extra warm welcome to you! It takes a bit of courage to try something new, and we will do our best to show you a good time!

Level 1 classes will begin with a gentle warm-up, to get our blood pumping and muscles limber and prepared for dancing. Then we will learn one slow move and one fast move each week, drilling them, and answering any questions you may have. Then we finish by working on these skills with our fellow dancers, getting a chance to put them together into short combinations to practice the individual skills within the context of group improvisational dancing.

Do I have to have a bare belly to participate?

Not at all! A fitted top is at least required, for me to be able to see your posture and form. But while a bare belly is not required, keep in mind that in bellydance class, it is entirely appropriate and in context. Click here to read more about baring your belly in class, and belly-covering options for class.

Have more questions? Check out the Extended FAQ! See the menu at the top left for more topic categories.

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