Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take before I
“get good” or can “really dance”?
Just like any other movement pattern, you have to
practice what you learn in class in order to improve. Take your teachers
suggestions and actually apply them and you will progress at a much faster
rate than if you just come to class once a week. I suggest practicing a
minimum of 15 minutes a day (more is always better in this case; break it
down into increments throughout the day if you have to) on technique, taking
advantage of any extracurricular activities (go to video night, see
performances, attend haflas), taking advantage of any of your teachers’
classes throughout the week that you are qualified to take, and stretching,
strengthening and cardiovascular exercises. Having a nice practice costume
helps you get in the right mood for practicing too. See my
Bellydance Practice Recommendations
for more information.
Do you have to be a certain body
“type” or age to bellydance?
I have heard that people think you have to have a big belly to dance
and I have also heard that you have to look like today’s version of the supermodel.
Neither of these
are true: This dance serves as a source of joy for people of all shapes, sizes
and ages. There are certain elements of physics that come into play in which
height is involved, but you do not have to be a certain height, size or shape
to execute bellydance movements.
Was this dance created to
entertain, or please, the sultans?
- I have to say that this is one of the most ludicrous things I have heard. The
dance originated in fertility rituals that celebrated the virility of
people, the rivers, and the earth. It evolved into secular entertainment, but
retained it’s fertility roots. Even in modern times, the dance is used to
sooth Moroccan women in labor, and is taught to young girls in many regions to
prepare their muscles for childbirth.
Is this dance only danced by
- While often the dance is performed by women, many male dancers have learned
this dance quite well and blended wonderfully into the bellydance community.
Historically, men danced as well.
Is the cabaret costume, or
bra and skirt combination" what bellydancers are “supposed” to wear
it the most authentic?
While it is what is most commonly thought of first when someone says
“bellydancer”, the bra and skirt combination was a Hollywood creation which
came about in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It was the result of the fantasy movie
creators had about the Middle East. Currently in the Middle East, this is the
most common costume worn by bellydancers, though it originated in the US. In some regions in the Middle East, bellydancers wear
evening gowns or another version of a fully covering costume. In America, bellydancing has evolved into many forms and so has the costuming, so you will
see many varieties of costumes (just look through this site and my links).
Will it help me lose weight?
do I choose a dance name? or How did you choose your dance name?
This answer is going to be
pretty short. I was given my dance name, so I don't have experience in
that department. My advice would be to explore the meanings of names in
Arabic, Turkish, etc and choose one that speaks to you. Narah means
"fire" and "bint" means "daughter of" in Arabic...
Please also read these FAQ