General Information about Belly Dancing

Having Fun in Class:

Students can have fun and excel in their belly dancing at their own pace.

Melek calls it “thinking on your toes.” While going through the movements the student quickly learns which of the movements she finds comfortable doing and which movements she needs extra attention. By fostering a “comfort zone” at the end of each class session, the student has time to apply all movements learned to a piece of music. This will undoubtedly lead the student to her own style of dance eventually, and something she will do enthusiastically. Students often come to her classes having trouble transitioning from one step to another but she requires nothing more than the willingness and desire to try, and the rest will come easy.

Have respect for your teacher: she has an abundance of knowledge and experience to impart to her students but she can only perform this function and knowledge if her students are paying attention and listening.

Do not be confused, ask questions: if you are having difficulty just ask your teacher will be pleased that you are serious about your movements.

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Basic rules:

This may seem very basic but do try clearing your mind of the day’s clutter and suppress your desire to talk about your personal problems to other classmates until later. If you are in class for social reasons be respectful to your classmates as well, they are anxious to learn and are suppressing their desire to chit chat until after the class has finished for the evening. While in class concentrate your efforts and energies on what you can do now rather than what you think you couldn’t do before class. By doing this, you will find yourself to be much happier, relaxed and energized and of course, you will learn far more and faster.

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Getting the most out of your Dance classes:

Regular instruction is crucial for a dancer whether she is a beginner, intermediate or an advanced student. Melek herself says “there is never a point in life that you stop learning something.” She encourages her students to know their strengths and weaknesses and continue to ask questions if they are having difficulty with any step or movement.

Weekly classes force the repetition that is necessary to add movements to muscle memory. Of course, for these classes to be effective, a student must attend on a regular basis and stick with the classes for a length of time. If the student is proposing to be a professional dancer or have a goal of exercising, whether it is for health benefits or the desire to sculpture one’s own body then the student must attend regularly for any noticeable change to occur.

Melek encourages each student to know why they are in class. Obviously, there could be many different reasons for the student attending: help with a particular medical problem – depression, limited movement caused by injury or arthritis, get over a loss through death or divorce, get fit, lose weight, maintain weight, sculpture one’s body, socialize, meet new friends even become a regular gig (restaurant or nightclub) performer and the list could go on endlessly. Whatever the reason, belly dancing encourages the mind and inner soul to concentrate on the movements thus overcoming a negative thought pattern and it assists with many health problems (see Health Benefits of Belly Dancing section).

Spread yourself out in class, do not hinder your knowledge and experience by hovering over a friend or someone else in the class – give yourself enough space to work in – your dance space is all around you! Get in front of the mirrors that are available and watch your movements and steps, this will most definitely give you a morale booster.

Become comfortable with music changes, understand the flow and mentally separate melody and rhythm and same with your moves. Remember your ears can play tricks on you. Therefore, it is important that you pay attention and listen. Then relax and let your imagination flow.

Know where your commitment level is and be realistic about where it will lead to. Melek says she has seen many dancers become frustrated because they want to be a renowned quality performer but are not prepared to put in the commitment to attend classes and practice. The same holds true for students who take a couple of lessons and feel they are equipped to offer instruction themselves without going through extensive rigorous training and the necessary certification required for a good instructor. Be honest with yourself and you will get the most out of your dance classes. When the student sets herself a realistic goal her enjoyment of dance increases tenfold. Melek guarantees that if the student puts in a true commitment to attend class and practice and sets herself a dance goal, her enthusiasm and experience will be well matched and she will have the time of her life!

It is important that the student is patient with herself, trying to keep a positive attitude and stop worrying about her problems big or small. This way, she will keep it fun and it will be considered her time for herself. Melek says, “Do it for yourself not someone else and you will be much happier within! This way your face will glow with inner happiness.”

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