Classes: Fall 2017

Welcome to the Fall 2017 class schedule. Classes are held at Mosaic Dance Center located at 10097 Oakland Drive, Portage, Michigan near the intersection of Shaver and Oakland. All beginner classes run on 8 week sessions or 6 week session and start the day of the week listed within the weekly schedule below. Class time: 7:30-8:30 pm for Beginner Belly Dance Classes.

  • Beginner Belly Dance Dates: Tuesday, September 5- October 24 (8 weeks) at 6:30-7:30 pm for $98
  • Late Fall : Tuesday, Novemer 1- December 13 (6 weeks) at 6:30-7:30 pm for $75

Intermediate Fall Choreography classes or advance classes run on 6 month commitments for performance purposes and are monthly paid at $52 per month for an hour class or $65 for hour and half (August 31- December 19 for fall) or spring (January 5 - June 9). These classes can be paid in full at one time or broken out monthly. There is also a $20 registration fee yearly for the intermediate classes.

Class Location Day Time Cost
Beginner Belly dance Mosaic Tuesady 6:30-7:30 pm

$98 for 8 weeks or $75 for 6 weeks

$65 for 5 weeks

2017 Intermediate/Advanced Choreography Mosaic Thursday 7:00–8:00 $52 per month
2017 Tribal Corp/Intermediate Level Mosaic Tuesday

7:30–8:30

$52 per month
         
Deb's Adult Dance Class Mosaic Monday's 7:30-8:30 pm

$98 for 8 weeks

$75 for 6 weeks

         
         
         

Class Info & Guidelines

Most students should start with a Beginner I Technique class. If you don't think you fall into this category, please contact us to discuss placement.

After completing Beginner I Technique class, deciding to move up or repeat a level depends on your dance intentions. There are many valid and good reasons to study belly dance and we welcome and support your personal dance goals. NO auditions are ever required and classes are to support your dance dreams.

If you are taking classes primarily for fun and exercise, your enrollment should be based on personal preference. Combinations classes are a great workout and fit this category well. If you aspire to master the dance, perform, and/or join one of the student companies, your training should be more diligent. For those in the second category, we recommend the following:

As a general rule, it's best to stay at a class level until you feel you've built the movements into your muscle memory. Mastery of the movement includes being able to easily execute isolations, in time with the music, without the teacher in front of you.

For most people, this means taking technique classes at the same level several times. Moving up a level before you're body has absorbed the prior foundational material can build sloppy dance habits and can lead to poor form. Most importantly, study of the dance is not something to rush, but to savor! Your dance development and persona will be fully realized by experiencing the joy of the dance along the way.

As we get a lot of questions about this, we recommend using the parameters below as general guidelines and asking your teachers for placement advice. Additionally, most students take technique classes multiple times each week to reinforce movement vocabulary and musical interpretation. As always, ask if you're feeling a little unsure by contacting Joette at joette@wmschoolofmed.com

Class Format

Class structure is based on a Western format of clear movement breakdowns, drilling the basics, hands on corrections and integrating movements through combinations, choreography and improvisational exercises.

Beginning class structure is based on a Western format of clear movement breakdowns, drilling basics, hands on corrections and integrating movements for an overall workout. Intermediate class format includes movements through combinations, choreography and improvisational exercises. Intermediate and advanced classes follow the Egyptian style of leading by dance movement.

Levels

Level I (Beginner)

The beginner class involves gentle, curving, circular movements guided by beautiful music that improves flexibility and coordination. Plus, its lots of fun and a great workout for arms, shoulders, upper and lower abs, and legs, while improving your posture too. In Level 1, you will learn basic movements and combinations in Middle Eastern dance. It's a terrific way to burn calories and learn to dance at the same time. No prior dance experience necessary. Level 1 must be completed twice to advance.

Prerequisite: None

Level II (Beginner/Intermediate Choreography)

The intermediate class is a continuation of the first level, concentrating on more isolated movements and combinations while learning the essence of this dance. The Monday night intermediate class is for students who would like to perform oriental and folkloric routines locally. This group constitutes the performing group called Raks Harem. This class is a fall or spring commitment.

Prerequisite: Two session of the Beginner I or belly dance experience.

Little Arabian Jewels or World Dance Classes

This fun dance class is specifically designed with a young child in mind (ages 4–8 and 9-13) with emphasis on the fundamentals of dance movement. Classes will touch on many dance forms but will have a strong emphasis on Middle Eastern dancing. Students will learn grace and good posture, feet positions, stage presence and how to enjoy the natural movements of the body while improving coordination. Opportunity will be available to perform at local events, festivals, and retirement centers. Comfortable clothing is needed. A shawl or hip accent is optional. Don't let your aspiring dancer miss out on this unique class.

Prerequisite: None

Tribal Corps & Level II (Intermediate or Green Team)

American Tribal Style Belly dance is a fairly new dance form with its origins in traditional Middle Eastern dance. The focus here is to study Tribal Style Belly dance, which has its roots in the gypsy dances of the Middle East, but carries the modern touch of American artistic sensibilities. This class is a performance class and will be learning choreography as well as technique. A yoga matt, towel and lots of water are encouraged for this class. You must have completed 16 weeks of beginner belly dance to attend this class.

Prerequisite: Two session of the Beginner I or belly dance experience.

Level II (Intermediate Technique/Advanced)

The intermediate/advanced performance class focuses on mastering technique by making it your own, incorporating it into body memory and vocabulary until it comes effortlessly to express yourself. Drilling consists of working through many variations and including ornamentations, as well as learning intermediate and advanced techniques. Finger Cymbals and a veil are required within this class.

Prerequisite: Two years of belly dance classes

Level III (Advanced)

The advanced class teaches professional techniques, dance routines, and combinations from all areas of the Middle East. The focus is more on cardiovascular exercise and professional dancing. The members of this class constitute our performing troupe and are expected to travel and perform across the Midwest. The advanced class is by invitation only.

Prerequisite: Instructor’s approval

FAQ - Belly Dance and Dancing Questions

What should I wear to Belly dance class?

For belly dance you can go barefoot or with dance shoes. For clothing, bottoms you can wear stretch leggings, yoga pants, or jazz-dance pants. On top a suggestion is a tank that offers adequate support. A hip scarf or sash is recommended to emphasize and define hip movement. Instructor usually has scarves for sale during class and the price ranges from $22 to $45 depending on the elaborateness of the scarf.

Am I too fat or too skinny to belly dance?

Absolutely NOT! Belly Dancers come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone can belly dance and the beauty of this art form is that you can feel free and comfortable around other women who are just like you.

Can I belly dance while pregnant?

Yes! Belly dance is an excellent activity for toning the muscles used in childbirth. I do not recommend starting a belly dance class in your last trimester. Belly dance classes should be started before pregnancy to prepare the muscles for childbirth. Many students dance right up to the week of delivery and come back within two weeks for toning. As always if you have any concerns though, please consult your doctor.

Am I too old to belly dance?

Many see it as a woman's dance, celebrating sensuality and power of being a woman. Sohair Zaki, Fifi Abdou, Lucy, Dina, who are all popular dancers in Egypt, are above the age of 40. Many feel that you have limited life experiences to use as a catalyst for dance until you reach "a certain age." The joy of this art form is that you don’t reach your peak until you are well up in age for the body lacks wisdom and experiences.

Can I observe a class before I sign up for a 8-week course?

Well, yes and no. No one is allowed to sit and watch a class because it SERIOUSLY disrupts the flow of the class and makes the students participating feel awkward and self-conscious. The West Michigan School of Middle Eastern Dance does offer Friday Night Fusion belly dance workshops where you learn to belly dance in one night. It is called Belly Dance 101. This is a great opportunity to participate without committing for a whole session.

What if I (have to) miss a class?

Well, good and bad news. Due to the 8-week course structure, we can’t offer you an individual make-up class, nor give credit for any missed classes. However, instructors go over the previous material at the beginning of each session as a refresher.

If I join a class, will I have to perform in front of people?

No, our students are not required to participate in shows or perform in front of an audience. Also, we do not allow spectators or visitors in the studio, not even for "waiting to pick up someone," and never men. The majority of students come to class for exercise and companionship, not performance. If you do want to perform though, we do provide ample opportunity to do so!

Are there any physical limitations connected with belly dancing?

Starting a belly dance class is like starting any other program of physical activity; please check with your physician first. People who should definitely talk to the doctor include people with back and joint problems; obesity; pregnancy and, of course, people who haven't exercised for a long time.

What are the different styles of belly dance costumes?

There are many, but here are some of the classics: Beledi Dress, 2-piece Cabaret (Bedlah) and Tribal Style. No matter how simple the costume, some kind of hip scarf is essential to show the hips. This can be as simple as a scarf tied around the hips. It should be positioned over the hip bone and above the plumbers crack. A triangular fringed shawl is great for practice or many ethnic looks. Coin hip scarves are nice for the sparkle and noise and are available through most belly dance suppliers or in class.

What are the different styles of belly dance?

There are too many to list, but here are some examples include

American Tribal style (Nericcio format)
Fusion (modern, ballet, other ethnic dance forms)
Turkish style
Modern Egyptian style (Raqs Sharqi)
Folkloric or Beledi Egyptian style
Lebanese style belly dancing
Gypsy style belly dance

What are the health benefits of belly dance?

The health benefits of belly dance are both mental and physical. Dancing is a good cardiovascular workout by increasing flexibility while focusing on the torso or 'core muscles'. It is suitable for all ages and body types and can be as physical as the participant chooses to make it. Individuals would be wise to consult a doctor before starting belly dance, just as with starting any new exercise routine. It is also advised that one speaks with the instructor to see what level his or her classes are geared for. Mental health benefits, for many belly dancers, include an improved sense of well being, elevated body image and self-esteem as well as a generally positive outlook that comes with regular, enjoyable exercise.

Where does belly dance come from?

It is thought that the dance has been known through the oral tradition in Egypt since the pre-Islamic times. There have been many theories and myths about the origin of belly dancing, but most evidence links it to the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa. Egyptian tomb paintings dating from as far back as the fourteenth century BC depict partially clad dancers whose callisthenic positions appear to be very similar to those used in belly dancing.