We're guessing that you might have some questions before you come to class; well, hopefully, we have come up with answers for you.
Q: What should I bring to class?
A: We suggest 2 pencils, bottled water, and possibly a sweat towel to start. After a few classes you may decided to get a hip scarf which is nice to have for class as the movement and noise can benefit in learning the moves correctly.
If you plan on pursuing Middle Eastern dance and performing you will need to get a 3 to 4 yard veil that you can use as a cover-up when you are not dancing. Also veils are a common prop used by many in dancing. Other props that you may run into are canes, candles, trays, swords, and finger cymbals.
But, please, DO NOT fill obligated to buy anything special before you start taking classes. We will be discussing all these things in class so that you can make an informed decision before you purchase anything. You can look at our class checklist to get an idea of things that more advanced students might need to bring to class.
Q: How should I dress for class?
A: Wear something comfortable!! We suggest sports bras, tank tops, or t-shirts for your top. For your legs feel free to wear exercise/dance pants, sweat pants, broomstick or peasants skirts, or even harem pants. You want to be sure to wear something that allows for easy movement. But no jeans, please!!!
We do normally dance barefooted; if you feel you would not be comfortable doing this we suggest soft-leather soled shoes such as dance slippers.
Note: When you leave the class room you MUST wear shoes and your abdominal area must be covered.
Q: Do I have to show my belly?
A: It is not necessary to show your belly to do belly dance. Most dancers wear t-shirts or tank tops during practice and there are performance costumes that also do not show the stomach. However, it is easier to learn some of the moves, particularly stomach rolls, if you can see what your stomach is doing. With that in mind a lot of dancers will tuck their t-shirts or tank tops up while working on that move and then untuck them when they move on to other things. It all depends on what you are comfortable with personally.
Q: Do I have to have a certain body type to belly dance?
A: Absolutely not! Belly dance is a beautiful art form that celebrates all body types. Just take a look in our photo gallery to see the variety of body types and the beauty they bring to the dance.
Q: I haven't had any dance training. Can I do this?
A: Dance training is not required to learn belly dance. You should start by taking a beginning class. After all you didn't just learn how to run without first learning how to walk! The beginning class assumes that you don't have a dance background and that you have never belly danced before. You start out learning the names of the most basic movements and how to do them correctly. As with any form of exercise when you first start you might experience sore muscles and stiff joints since your body is not use to this type of work. But if you stick with it you will soon learn the true joy of belly dance.
Q: I have a medical condition, is it ok to take the class?
A: Belly dancing IS a form of exercise and can be strenuous on the body when one is not use to the moves. We strongly suggest that you consult your doctor if you have concerns. Also be sure to let your instructors know about any limitations and conditions that you might have (i.e. back problems, joint problems, or pregnancy). By knowing this about you they will be able to help suggest moves more suited to your abilities.
Q: Do I have to perform?
A: Raqs Akia is happy to have any of its students perform during designated shows, provided that the STUDENT wants to. It is totally up to you to decide if you want to perform. Not everyone takes belly dance for the opportunity to perform. Some students just want a fun way to exercise, some are retirees looking for a hobby to fill their time. Some are looking for a way to experience a different culture. Some even find a spiritual fulfillment in learning this art form. But not everyone performs, there are students who take class for months or years without performing who suddenly change their mind and want to perform. You have to decide for yourself if you want to perform or not.