(Frequently Asked Questions)

Class | Money | Belly Dance | Follow Through


Is there an age limit?

This dance form can be done by all ages. I know of students in pre-school and students in their 70s. The Introductory belly dance course, Belly Dance Basics and Belly Delight are aimed at adults. A special class can sometimes be arranged for a group with similiar interests or problems.

What do I wear?

For dance classes (Introduction to Belly Dance, Belly Delight, and NextSteps) wear clothes that are suitable to move in. You do not want anything that will constrict - or hide - your movement. Please avoid stiff jeans or full, opaque skirts. Bare bellies are not a requirement but a good firm-supporting bra is recommended.

I prefer silent hip belts in this class - no coin belts please.

What I will need?

Also useful:
  • Fabric to tie around the hips. Anything will do providing it is a contrasting colour. Some dancers like fringed scarves. Some use their veils. Please avoid noisy (and expensive) coin belts. Limited wraps are available in class.
  • Why small classes?

    Small classes (4-10) mean plenty of one on one attention and more flexibility in the pace of learning.

    They mean I can teach from home and that keeps the cost down.

    They mean students can get to know each other Ė in classes of over 20 some people feel quite isolated.

    On the down side if the class numbers fall below four it is really not economic to take the classes. For this reason the Introductory course is paid in advance. If there are four students at the start of the course, the course will run for the full eight weeks. (However, if there are insufficient enrolments on the day the course may be cancelled or postponed).

    Also, once the class is full it is full. Preference goes to those who have paid in full, next those who have paid a deposit, then those who have emailed/rung. To ensure you are saved a place or send the email form to register your interest.

    Can I read some students comments?

    Here's what Kashmir's students have said about their belly dance classes

    Where are the classes held?

    Unless specifically noted, classes are held in South Brighton, Christchurch (New Zealand).
    Details of the venue are available on registration.

    But here is how the South Brighton studio looks.

    Who is the Teacher?

    All classes are taken by Kashmir who has been studying Belly and Middle Eastern folk since 1991 and teaching since 1997. In addition to her dance training, Kashmir has trained as a teacher (both secondary and as a dance teacher) and studied dance safety. And yes, Kashmir has travelled to Egypt.

    Class | Money | Belly Dance | Follow Through


    Whatís in it for me to pay in advance?

    Taking money does not waste class time. Further, you can be sure your course will continue even if the other students drop out.

    More importantly, it means an incentive to attend every class. It can be very frustrating if too many classes are missed. This is the same as any other adult continuing education courses.

    In recognition of this the individual class price is kept very low.

    How much are the classes?

    Classes can be paid by the term, in blocks or one at a time. Here is a summary of prices which includes the refund policy.

    Class | Money | Belly Dance | Follow Through

    Belly Dance

    What is Belly Dance?

    A gentle form of dance that can be enjoyed by most people. To enjoy this dance you donít need extreme flexibility or strength (performance level is another story).

    The dance is focused on the torso and hips (not the belly) and can lead to improved muscle tone in the abdominal area. Most people also gain increased flexibility and a slight fitness boost.

    There are definite ways of moving and interpreting the music. "Belly dance" is not merely free expression. You will be guided to feel the music and express it with your body. Although in its original form "belly dance" is a solo improvised dance with little use of space, classes will also look at travelling steps, use of veil, and combinations.

    Here is some more information on how you can decide whether or not a dance is actually "belly dance".

    Why "Middle Eastern" Belly Dance?

    Because "belly dance" originated in the Middle East. These are dance classes based on real dance performed by real people, now. You are quite welcome to use what you learn in class in any way you wish, but weíll start with both feet evenly balanced on the floor.

    Will belly dance help with flexibility?

    Yes and no. Flexibility is tricky one. Flexibility is not an all over measure. Someone might have flexible calves but very tight hamstrings; or great hip turn-out but no turn-in. Flexibility depends on many factors - including genetics, posture, injuries, body mass, configuration of bones, length of ligaments, and length of muscle fibres.

    Of these most people have real control over only one - the length of muscle fibres. When you stretch this is what you should be doing - elongating muscle fibres. However, a decent stretch program is going to take almost an hour - and you'll need to do it every couple of days. It is unrealistic to expect a few minutes in class once a week to make a big difference.

    Then, most belly dance teachers are not trained to teach stretching. I've had more than most - having done a 6-month correspondence course on safe dance practices with the Queensland University and had over 30-hours hands on training with a sports physio - but that only scratches the surface.

    I have learnt that stretching needs to be tailored to an individual's needs. The stretches need to target specific areas and they need to be done correctly and safely. Generalized stretches - such as the splits are for people who are already flexible in the nine areas it takes to perform this move.

    Correct stretching includes the right alignment of the body. I see a number of people doing so-called shoulder stretches where they are just letting the ball of the shoulder socket push forward. I see people doing so-called calf stretches where the hips or feet are incorrectly aligned.

    Worse, some people try to stretch on a muscle that is working. It won't work. For instance, there are no effective standing hamstring stretches. If you are standing the hamstrings needs to work to hold you up - therefore they cannot stretch.

    But far, far worse are the discredited stretches. These are moves that some people can do safely - but not all. The Queen of Silly Stretches is toe-touching. It combines an ineffective stretch (standing ham-string) with a potentially dangerous move that can damage lumbar ligaments. Gradual tears will weaken the ligaments over the years and this can cause permanent damage.

    Again, belly dance can be an incentive to improve your flexibility. Perhaps it will lead you to have some sessions with a sports physio and work through a program that is designed for your flexibility needs.

    For some people, flexibility isn't their issue. It is control. You can be too flexible. Again, working through this is a specialist's job - don't expect your belly dance teacher to do the job of a physio.

    Class | Money | Belly Dance | Follow Through

    Follow Through

    I'd like to buy a course as a gift for a friend. Can I do this?

    Yes, vouchers are available for classes and playshops.

    Tempted? Register your interest now!

    If you have never tried belly dance - Beginner Signup
    If you have some experience in belly dance - Other Signup

    Have a question not covered here?

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