FAQs

I don’t know what level I am and don’t want to start over. / I feel like I’m not making progress.

by on Apr.16, 2013, under FAQs

Those of you who may have taken classes with me as recently as 2011 need to know that there’s been a big change in the way my classes are structured as well as how I teach them.

These 2 concerns are very intertwined.

I used to offer a typical, Western-style, levelled class schedule, e.g. “beginner”, “intermediate”, etc.  I even offered “advanced” classes for a while until I talked more with colleagues in other cities and actually went to real advanced classes.   ( I so wasn’t ready to teach “Advanced”.)  I taught in what I believed was the best way—breaking things down into small, single moves /steps, with lots of breakdown of how to do them, in a linear progression.   That worked for some.   But not all.  And it certainly wasn’t getting many to a place of feeling and embodying the dance as it’s meant to be. (continue reading…)

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“Why don’t you do group coupons or daily deals?”

by on Mar.08, 2012, under FAQs

I believe very strongly that deep discounts lead to deep disregard.   I understand that many businesses believe these deals get people in the door, but it’s been my experience that they don’t keep people there.    I believe people will value what others value, and often the appropriate price tag is a huge influence.   (continue reading…)

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Q ~ What are the veils all about?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Costumes, FAQs

The veil, in Orientale dance, is not worn as a garment, nor over the face.  It is not meant to imitate the niqab or hijab, or at least it shouldn’t.  Veiling in that sense has important religious and cultural connotations that most of us try to respect when we dance.

On occasion, you can find album cover art and other images that play into cultural stereotypes and fantasies about the Middle East, but these should be regarded as either tourist bait or simply cheesy.
(continue reading…)

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Q ~ Where does bellydance come from?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under FAQs

There are 3 main ethnic styles:  Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish.    There, bellydance it is called raks sharqi, Oryantal tansi, or “Orientale”.    The dance form as we know it dates only to about the 1920’s, and was forged in the upscale night clubs of Cairo and Beirut.   Badia Masabni, a singer, dancer, choreographer and club owner, is generally credited with creating the modern, Arabic version of “bellydance”. (continue reading…)

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Q – What is appropriate behaviour during a show for the performer and the audience?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under FAQs, Patrons & Audience

Westerners are used to a very polite distance between themselves and a dancer. We’re used to sitting back in a darkened theatre with the dancer elevated on a stage. (continue reading…)

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Q ~ I want to hire a dancer for an event, but I don’t want it to be too sexy. How do I tell her this?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under FAQs, For Dancers, Patrons & Audience

Most of us do not put on racy, provocative shows. Sometimes we are playful, and we are paid to be entertaining. If we know (and usually we ask questions about your event) that there will be children and/or elders there, we will tailor our dance and costuming to be more conservative. A great dancer will put on a great show, no matter who is watching.

(continue reading…)

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Q ~ I was at a workshop in Winnipeg. I saw brochures for another workshop, but I don’t know if I should go because I don’t know the dancer. . Advice?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under FAQs

100_0853Workshops are a lot of work (pardon the pun) to put on.  If a host is bothering to do make the effort and front all the money required to bring in a guest artist, it’s almost always worth your time.   (continue reading…)

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Q ~ Is fancy lingerie acceptable as costuming? I have a beautiful sequined bra.

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Costumes, FAQs

No, no and no. If it looks like lingerie, it is just that, and lingerie, no matter how pretty, is still underwear. It lacks sufficient reinforcement and decoration to be a proper costume piece. (continue reading…)

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Q ~ There is so much bellydance stuff on eBay and the Internet in general! What do I buy?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Costumes, FAQs

Start slow, ask your teacher for some guidance (her favourite sites, what to watch out for, and so on). Check out my links–I don’t promote or sell crap. (continue reading…)

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Q ~ Do I have to show my navel?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Costumes, FAQs

wellness expo (1)No!  Not at all, not ever if you don’t want to.   Nor do you have to show your cleavage. There are no costume must-do’s for beginners. You should feel quite accepted in class in a unitard or other leotard that covers the belly. Most students wear stretchy pants and a stretchy, snug t-shirt.

Most modern Egyptian dance costumes are dresses, or include body stockings.

Middle Eastern dance is friendly for many body types and shapes, so you also don’t have to be a certain body shape or size or age to participate in classes.

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Q ~ Do I have to buy a costume right away?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Costumes, FAQs

NO! I generally recommend that students wear a shawl of some kind at the hips. It is helpful that it be a coin or bead  scarf made for bellydance, as these have movement and sound that helps focus, guide, and motivate. (continue reading…)

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Q ~ I am pregnant. I heard that bellydance will be good for me. Is this true?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under FAQs

NO! Not necessarily. Starting ANY new physical activity when pregnant is a potential risk. Your body undergoes immediate, important, unexpected changes while pregnant.  Your health status and the needs of your body can change quickly.   Check with your caregiver that you are in a general state of fitness.  You should ALWAYS fill out the Par-Med-X for Pregnancy form with your caregiver BEFORE you enroll in a class, and if the instructor says you don’t need one or has never heard of this, be warned that person probably has no idea how to monitor pregnant participants.   You are also responsible for a whole other tiny person who has no ability to say “stop please”. (continue reading…)

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Q ~ I have no rhythm. Will bellydance classes help?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under FAQs

The very first sound we hear is our mother’s heartbeat. Your own heart, lungs, and blood keep a steady rhythm. Your whole body is based on rhythms. You have rhythm. (continue reading…)

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Q ~ Why do I need to learn finger cymbals right away?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under About Bellydance, FAQs

Not every teacher chooses to teach zills in beginner levels, but I recently became convinced by this approach by Cassandra.  The zills are a beautiful, underrated instrument, and being able to accompany yourself or other dancers is really wonderful.   They don’t have to be onerous–after all, they are members of the bell family.   (continue reading…)

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Q – I saw a dancer once in a restaurant. I thought bellydance was cheesy and dumb. Why should I bother taking a class or going to another show?

by on Feb.03, 2012, under FAQs

raks-al-hockeyUnfortunately, not every dancer out there is good at performing or teaching. Any one can “hang their shingle” out there. Not all dancers understand that what they do reflects upon every other dancer. Come to a class, come to a show, and allow those of us who really care about the art form to change your mind!

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Contact Nicola

204-957-7520
nicolaraks@mymts.net
Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.