What should I wear to class?
Feet: Most women dance baladi barefoot. But, it is also appropriate to wear socks, dance sandals, toe undies or soft ballet shoes.
Bottoms: Stretch leggings, yoga pants, dance pants, sweat pants, dance pants or long stretchy dresses/skirts are appropriate.
Top: Please wear a top that will allow your instructor to monitor your movement. A tighter/stretchy t-shirt, tank top, sports bra, or crop top allows for this. You don’t need to show your belly, but are welcome to if you like!
Hips: A hip scarf is recommended so that you can develop and define hip movement. There are many options. Beads and coins, while popular, are not required.
Am I too fat/skinny for this dance?
Haft Vadi Belly Dance Studio is a body positive space. We celebrate bodies of all sizes! Large or small, we believe your movement is beautiful. Your size, no matter what it is, is the perfect size to start dancing with. Part of our training is learning to love and celebrate your body! We believe in health and fitness; we do not support traditional misogynist aesthetic values.
Are there health benefits to belly dance?
There are numerous health benefits to raqs sharqi. Through practicing it you develop your cardio, strength and flexibility! Baladi also has a marked effect on mental health. Dancers experience lessened stress, improved well-being, better body image, and enhanced self-esteem. Check out some of these theses and peer-reviewed articles!
Mitigating Urinary Incontinence: So-Young An, Seung-Suk Kim, and Gunsoo Han, “Effect of Belly Dancing on Urinary Incontinence-Related Muscles and Vaginal Pressure in Middle-Aged Women,” Journal of Physical Therapy Science 29, no. 3 (March 2017): 384–86, https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.29.384.
Therapy after gendered victimization: Angela M. Moe, “Healing Through Movement: The Benefits of Belly Dance for Gendered Victimization,” Affilia 29 (July 10, 2013): 326–39, https://doi.org/10.1177/0886109913516454.
Therapy for survivors of sexual assault: Nadia De Leon, “Belly Dance as a Means of Dance Therapy for Survivors of Sexual Assault,” Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects, January 1, 2006, https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/stu_hon_theses/7.
Rehabilitation after cancer: Márta Szalai et al., “A Clinical Study to Assess the Efficacy of Belly Dancing as a Tool for Rehabilitation in Female Patients with Malignancies,” European Journal of Oncology Nursing: The Official Journal of European Oncology Nursing Society 19, no. 1 (February 2015): 60–65, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2014.07.009.
Am I too old to start belly dancing?
Not one bit! You can begin at any age, and with good technique you can continue dancing your whole life. Some of Egypt’s top stars are certainly north of 40! Dina, Fifi Abdou and Lucy all still bring down the house. Age is a construct: don’t let it hold you back. Down with agism!
Can men belly dance? Is it only for women?
Yes men can belly dance: there are many professional male performers of raqs sharqi. No, it is not only for women! People of all gender identities and sexualities are welcome to learn and perform it at Haft Vadi! Belly dance can help performers perform (and challenge!) a vast spectrum of gender! From time to time, the studio may offer safe-space classes or events for female and non-binary individuals only, but these will clearly advertised as such. All are welcome to learn and perform.