Classes & Workshops

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All Classes

Class Policies & Guidelines

Registration & Payments


Supplies for Nicola’s Classes

Health & safety risks

Privates & Workshops

Studio Locations


What is Egyptian Bellydance?

Egyptian dance (a.k.a. “bellydance”) is SO much more than shakin’ it in a sparkly costume!

Egyptian dance is a playful, joyful, beautiful expression of femininity, with unique movements and sumptuous music.

It is body-friendly and adaptable to a variety of abilities and personalities.

Having danced several other kinds of “bellydance”, including American cabaret and ATS, Nicola believes truly and passionately that Egyptian dance is the most beautiful and the most soulful of the entire genre.

airbase article red (5)Egypt is home to several varieties of dance including raks sharqi , which generally translates as “dance of the east”, a.k.a. “bellydance” or Orientale dance.

Egyptian dance also includes the popular, older forms of  raks baladi, raks saiidi, and the urban raks shaabi. There is also a repertoire of folkloric, theatre-stage adaptations of traditional and regional dances, as developed and choreographed by the Ferqa Reda and Ferqa Khomeyya national dance groups of Egypt.  Nicola has trained with dancers from both these groups, including Mme. Denise Enan and Yousry Sharif.

Not sure what Egyptian bellydance looks like?   Check out Sahra Saeeda Kent‘s YouTube channel on Cairo bellydance and its stars:

What can you expect from Nicola’s class?

Nicola is one of only a very few performers and teachers in Manitoba to have successfully pursued actual, advanced training in professional-level  raks sharqi and folkloric.  Nicola has trained with some of its very best professionals, including Hadia of Canada, Denise Enan of Canada/Egypt, Dina of Cairo, Sahra Saeeda Kent of U.S.A., and Cassandra Shore of U.S.A..

Nicola has worked and trained as a performer of Egyptian and related dance forms since 1997.   She has also pursued professional teacher training at the university level (after-degree B.Ed.) and as a certified instructor of “Middle Eastern” dance.  She is currently the first and only fully certified, Level 3 teacher in Manitoba of The Hadia Method (a.k.a. Body Logic and Savvy Body Bellydance), having graduated this intensive three-level course in October of 2011.

This method promises  a safer, more effective, and therapeutic way of dancing that holds the dancer’s well-being as equally important as the look of the movements.   This means better, more authentic, yummier and more liberated movements.   It also means respecting the structure of the body, and not forcing ourselves into unnatural ranges of movement and contortion tricks.   Hadia’s goal is to teach a new generation of thinking, aware dancers who can see, know, understand, and feel the difference between dancing as the Egyptian dancers do versus Americanized movements.

We start from full, complete movements, and work towards refinement, nuance, and definition.   We pull aspects and articulations from these big movements to find the smaller, sharper ones.  This is very different than the common approach where bellydance is taught as a series of small, broken-down “isolations” that “build” and “combine” into circles, eights, and undulations (e.g. “connect-the-dots”).

Egyptian dance is not a “style”, but its own dance form — the essential movements are NOT the same as other kinds of bellydance.

Egyptian dance uplifts, inspires, and invigorates the dancer through music that is intended to produce joy and enchantment.

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Nicola combines her diverse experiences as a dance performer, certified educator, athlete, academic, and musician.  The learning environment is innovative, supportive, thorough, and FUN. Learn the art and craft of this beautiful dance form, in way that respects your unique body.  You can achieve better balance, health, and mobility.

***Attend class regularly, apply corrections, and practice at home to get the most out of the class experience.***

NOTE:  Nicola was first trained in “old school”  Salimpour (San Francisco) and Serena (New York City) techniques of American bellydance.  These may be offered in workshop or privates, or through prop and theatrical work. This is to avoid muddying the essential movements and interpretations.

Other teachers who are offering Egyptian technique in Winnipeg include Karla Yanina and Zenobia.  They have trained with some of the same teachers, although specific approaches, methods, and abilities are different.

NOTE:  Nicola won’t endorse or recommend other teacher’s classes, as she has no specific knowledge of their techniques, methodology or teaching philosophy.

Nicola is fiercely opposed to  under-cutting — undercharging for classes in order to scoop students.   She charges rates consistent with most dance and fitness studios, including ones where she has taught, out of respect and collegiality.   This is what a good class taught by a qualified teacher costs.


– inspiring and authentic music

-technique– the “how to’s” —  presented in a variety of ways for different learning styles –get your muscles talking to each other as the dance requires

correct and precise demonstrations of the movements

accurate and authentic cultural/historical information

-pacing and progress appropriate to the level of the class

-useful Arabic terms, musical & cultural information, history of the dance & dancers in Egypt

-stylistic instruction

-safety tips & corrections for all, and modifications for your body

-ideas, options, and exercises for home practice

sequences and choreography appropriate to the level

at-cost (pre-paid) class supplies such as veils, canes, cymbals, and costuming, and referrals to reputable retailers

..all in a positive, inclusive atmosphere!

Nicola teaches a serious dance class and makes it fun.


Nicola reserves the right to cancel or combine classes, based on registration numbers, and can only notify those already registered of such changes. 

Register on time !

Nicola may also revise content during a session,  based on collective progress and interest level.   Because “life happens” and sometimes we don’t keep up with our own goals.

“The body says what words cannot.”~ Martha Graham (1893-1991)



 *Please read  before registering!

Registration is open.

Advance payment is required for all classes.

This year marks a return to structured levels.   We’re going back to the heart and soul of authentic Egyptian dance.

STUDIO:  Shirley’s Dance Studio

                       255 Tache @ Eugenie

                        lower level       back studio

New host facilities/programs are welcome!  

Please contact Nicola at  or  text 204-330-0913.


Please take note of choices on the Registration Form. 

Prompt registration is needed to guarantee your spot.   If you pre-pay by Paypal, e-transfer, or mailed payment, you can bring your completed form to class #1.


BFF–Bellydance Fun Flow

TIME:   7-8 pm

STARTS:   January 16      

ENDS:    March 20

10 classes total

PLEASE NOTE:  Prior experience only.    If you are a beginner, please register for Level 1, from 8-9 pm.

Egyptian bellydance done flow-style, in fun follow-the-leader combos that will get you moving, keep you grooving, and work up a sweat.   Repetition as well as options to embellish and ornament your movements.

A “just dance” experience–a great way to learn transition and flow for more experienced bellydance students.    Dance veils will be provided or bring your own.

All ages and shapes welcome.   Those with prior experience in Am-Cab or ATS/tribal also welcome.


sessional        140.

lates/partials    14.   x # of classes

drop-ins (space permitting)     15.

REGISTRATION:     winter2018registration.revised

Essentials / LEVEL 1

8-9 pm

STARTS:    January 16

ENDS:    March 20

10 classes total

A fun and frolicsome immersion in the yummy and playful dance of Egypt.

Primary focus on “bellydance” /raks sharqi.   The essential (most common and important)  movements of this women’s dance form and their common variations  to play, embellish, and make the movements your own.   These movements can be adapted and modified for the unique needs and preferences of each dancer.

Basic veil work, beginning finger cymbals, and Arabic music “101” .

Accessible for all body types, sizes, ages.  Most supplies included.   See SUPPLIES,  below.

Want a “trial” class?   Take a drop-in at class #1.  

Sessional registration encouraged.     Consistent attendance is encouraged.

Drop-ins for those with prior experience only.

Men are welcome, if you are coming to dance – adaptations will be offered.

*For spring session, those who are continuing will be learning a short choreography.  Sequences from this choreography will be taught in the winter session, as preparation.

Level 1 techniques should be mastered before attempting Level 2. 


session:   140.   

late registration:     14.  x  number of remaining classes

drop-in:  15.   (space permitting, with prior experience)




 Level 2– Variations & Embellishments (Intermediate)   


A comprehensive and thorough grounding in the intermediate technical skills and knowledge for intermediate dancers.   Prepares you thoroughly for performance track intermediate*.


  • applying Essential movements in combination and sequence, to common drum rhythms and musical patterns
  • common finger cymbal patterns/rhythms
  • veil techniques for entrance
  • cane dance (Saïdi)
  • posture, travel steps, turns, transitions
  • instruments, melodic structures & interpretations of Arabic music
  • “texturing”, embellishments, & variations
  • basic improv techniques (e.g. for baladi  and  taksim)
  • sequences & choreography for  shaabi, baladi,  saidi, & sharqi
  • drills, exercises, in-class challenges, partner work, combinations, and more.

Choreography will be prepared for season-end:   saïdi cane dance, raks sharqi, and time permitting, a short drum solo.

Recommended that you have minimum one full year of beginners (3 continuous sessions) before registering for these classes, and/or previous dance experience in another style, and/or enrolment in Essentials also.

Syllabus (list of what’s taught):

Please see SUPPLIES, further below.   Please arrive prepared for the class with the supplies you need.

*This is the stage that many eager dancers rush.   Most aspiring dancers over-estimate how much time it takes to get the good, solid techniques in the body, and instead, rush to learn a long list of groovy moves.   Nicola’s approach is to “go deep”.



late / partial rate        18. per class,  x  number of  classes

drop-ins             20.  per class  (space permitting)



LEVEL 2/3:  Technique & Choreography for Performance

7:30-9:30 pm

7:30-8:30  Technique– Golden Age, drum solo, baladi, saïdi

8:30-9:30  Choreography

STARTS:   January 17

ENDS:  March 21    

10 classes/20 hours total

*10 classes/10 hours if Technique only

Must have minimum 3 continuous years of dance at the intermediate level or above to register.

Intended for aspiring/current performers.   Teachers welcome–it’s fun to have a turn as the student!

Must have prior experience with finger cymbals and veil.    (If you need instruction on finger cymbals, please also register for the Tuesday Level 1 class or contact Nicola regarding private instruction.)

Learn technique in context through more challenging choreography.  Dig deeper.  Hone and polish.  Experience the heart and soul of Egyptian dance as we explore  detailing and embellishments.   Focus on flow, transition, and expression.

Syllabus given in class.

A variety of choreo will be taught, some in part, some in full, over the season.   Dances will include:   ALL NEW!   Nicola’s rockin’ drum solo using contemporary techniques; a Golden-Age dance to a medley of star styles/songs featuring moves of the great stars (Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal, and Naima Akef); a theatre folklore Saidi dance with assaya; and a  juicy and frolicsome Fifi Abdo, Lucy, Dina, and Mona Said influenced baladi.

Please see SUPPLIES, below.

The fees are calculated to reward those dancers making a commitment to their learning and growth in dance by committing to the full session.


sessional:    220.

165. Technique Hour only

late / partial rate           22. per class,  x  number of remaining/chosen classes 

17.  per class x # of classes (Technique hour only)

drop-ins     20.   Technique Hour

                       25.  Whole class





AIEWA! Fit Flow Bellydance


Contact BB owner Sandi Knox to request the class.

LOCATION:   Body Balance Fitness
204-999-1016        1121 Henderson Hwy.

Prompt registration is required–online or in-person registration is through Body Balance.

Gentler than other dance-based aerobics classes, with some added perks for your heart, soul, and brain.   Egyptian dance done flow-style, in follow-the-leader combos that will get you moving, shimmying, and undulating.

Great for back and hip mobility, help with proprioception and balance,  to learn transition and flow for more experienced bellydance students.    Whole-dance introductory experience ideal for kinaesthetic learners!

Dance veils will be provided.  Please wear bare feet or dancer slippers (cushioned martial arts-type foam floor).

All ages and shapes welcome!  

NOTE: registrants must complete make-up classes for any missed ones during the same session– by attending another Body Balance class.  Not transferable to Nicola’s freelance classes.

wellness expo



By private/semi-private lessons or workshops:

-consult on or custom choreography

-coaching of  solo/group dance

-collaboration on a special project


-“Old School” American Cabaret (Am-Cab) performance style to experienced students– floorwork, sword balancing, veil dance,  The Cabaret Routine for those interested in becoming party/restaurant dancers

Children’s,Tween/Teen, & School Programs:

Scheduled by request.

Nicola has developed educational units that meet Manitoba curricular outcomes, for use in school programs around the subjects of Egypt and Egyptian dance.

She will assemble companion hands-on learning kits on request and with pre-payment. Fees depend on the size of the kit and extent of lesson plan.  These kits may also be rented by teachers.

Please contact Nicola at 204-957-7520 or at for more information .

NAVEL ACADEMY–Nicola’s Technique Intensive

A Winnipeg original, and the first of its kind here!

Typically scheduled in the summer months or by workshop.

Targeted technique classes designed to correct glitches, simplify your understandings,  clear away the clutter of too many different approaches, and clean up muddy/muddled technique.  _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Click here:   Winter Registration Form

Mail  payments to:    41 Cathedral Avenue, Winnipeg, R2W0W6

No access to a printer?   You may cut and paste the form, fill out it digitally, then email it back to  Or, print, fill out, scan, and email back.  ( The public libraries will allow printing, as well as Staples.)

-You may get a copy in class from Nicola, but please make sure your advance payment is mailed, dropped off or completed  by the due dates indicated to lock in the rate.


-by e-transfer (preferred) or Paypal to 

-cheque  (NSF $35)

-money order

*cash payments are discouraged except for drop-ins — safety/security concerns  

-anyone wishing to pay at/in the first class will not be guaranteed a spot

*Continuing students wishing to submit their own payment schedule must:
-pay at least 50% by class start date,

-provide a payment schedule attached to their registration,

-must be fully paid by the half-way class.

*If you are missing part of session for important reasons such as travel, work commitments, health reasons, etc. you may choose to register for only the dates you can attend.   Note the per class rate.   

Paypal & e-transfers to:

Please remember to include a phone number on your Paypal  info so you may be reached.





  • All students participating in spring recital are expected to wear costuming. The specifics will be decided by Nicola with class input, based on the type of dance being learned, and the budget decided by students.
  • Generally, these items are worn again in subsequent years, and we typically sew or order separates so they can be re-combined.
  • Nicola and some students may lend or rent extra costuming in certain circumstances.
  • Please don’t wear costuming to class unless it has been requested (hip scarves, in good repair, are always welcome).


  • All students need one, either home-made or retail-bought.  Expect to pay $20 or more.
  • It is recommended that you don’t buy or make a veil that is decorated, unless a decorated veil has been suggested in class.
  • Nicola recommends 1 silk veil in any colour, rectangular in shape. Silks may be purchased from: Silk Bamboo, Ak’ai, Shibori Borealis, Fairy Cove, Dahlal Internationale, or Turquoise International (see LINKS).  Or from Nicola in class, in some sessions.
  • Nicola will hem yours for a $10 fee (you supply the fabric), and sells high-quality, ready-made fancy chiffon and silk veils at an affordable rate.
  • You may also pre-order and pre-pay for veils at wholesale rates, at the 2 class orders (late fall and late winter).
  • For students 5’7″ and under, you need 2.5 metres of bridal or other soft, light-weight chiffon. For taller students, your veil should be 2.8-3 m long.    Petite students may want a veil 2.3-2.5 m–BUT SHOULD BE FITTED IN CLASS FIRST.
  • Sarongs and Indian sari veils are not suitable for adult bellydance veils.

FINGER CYMBALS (zills, sagats)

  • ALL continuing students must have one set of Saroyan or Turquoise brand zills (any style).
  • Nicola places a fall order for zills and students must pre-pay to get zills at-cost.    Other sets may be available at retail prices.  Saramaga Middle Eastern Dance carries Saroyan and Au Set carries Turquoise.  You can order directly from the cymbal manufacturers for about the same price.
  • Buy a set for the sound, rather than the look of the zills–Saroyan’s website has sound clips.
  • PLEASE, don’t buy so-called “student” or “starter” zills — they tend to be poor in tone and quality, will dent, lose their clarity, and may be high in lead content.
  • Do not buy zills that have holes instead of slots –you want slots that use flat elastics.
  • Beware of any zills sold for less than $15 dollars.


  • All intermediate (Level 2+) dancers and Amar members need to buy one gold or silver plastic dance cane with a crook.  A limited number of canes will be available for purchase.   Canes may be ordered in either fall or late winter at the class order times, and must be prepaid to get the at-cost price of $15-20.
  • The cane should reach somewhere between the centre of the hip joint and top of the pelvic bones.
  • Nicola will repair/retape your cane for $10.   Horus and Isis Company carries good canes at a very reasonable price.


  • one exercise band or old pair of stockings
  • yoga mat or beach towel
  • dance “footies” or slippers—if you need more cushioning
  • hip scarf or shawl



  • Most dance and fitness classes are intended for women in good health and average fitness.
  • Bellydance is NOT risk-free.  One of the myths of bellydance is that it is “totally safe” for everyone. It’s not.
  • The various schools and styles of bellydance have important technical differences.  Some promote techniques that are dangerous and many are contra-indicated.  This is especially true of Americanized bellydance and Tribal styles, which are more focussed on tricks of body manipulation that look very cool, but are damaging to the body, especially the hips, back, and knees.    Many teachers are so under-trained that they cannot identify which movements would be included in this category.   Most floor work, backbends, hair tossing, etc. are going to cause permanent sometimes serious damage.
  • If you are pregnant, immediately post-partum, post-surgery, have undiagnosed chronic joint pain, have a chronic medical condition or injury, have shortness of breath, or experience dizziness, PLEASE confirm with your chosen health professional that you are fit enough to take a dance class.   Complete a Par Q form and/or Parmed-X form with your physician. If your health-care provider has no first-hand experience in dance–and most don’t–Nicola is happy to consult and discuss the details with her/him.  You may require modifications and precautions, and be briefed on warning signs.  Keep in mind many health professionals have no direct, informed interaction with dance and may be operating on assumptions.
  • Orientale dance like any dance form can be strenuous, and  may cause pain, strain, injury, or  aggravate existing problems. Rotational and twisting movements common to bellydance, especially with both feet planted, are NOT recommended for pregnancy, chronic back/hip/knee issues, or post-surgery.
  • While Nicola is qualified to help you adapt the movements, you must be prepared to be honest and to respect the limits of your body.   Many “bellydance” teachers are under-trained as dancers, and extremely under-trained as teachers of dance, lacking in any kind of training for prevention of injury.  Many believe that all movements of bellydance are inherently “safe”.
  • If you choose to participate without sharing important health information, you’ll have less fun, learn less, be distracted, and will likely hurt yourself.  You may also worsen or trigger a condition.
  • Students who use inhalers, require injections, carry an Epipen, or have other medications they may need in an acute health crisis should notify Nicola prior to class.  Please make sure that you have taken the time to explain what assistance you may require and where you will store this medication in class.
  • Questions? Please contact Nicola prior to class start.  204-957-7520
  • NO perfume or fragrance products of any kind in classes or workshops.


Shirley’s Dance Studio

255 Tache Avenue (lower level)       

Winnipeg, Manitoba






  • Many people have fantastical notions of bellydance.  That’s common.    Egyptian dance is a cultural dance form with traditions and conventions of its own.  Nicola suggest that you spend some time on Sahra Saeeda Kent‘s YouTube directory on Egyptian dance–  make sure that Egyptian bellydance is what you think it is:

Sahra’s YouTube Channel

  • Egyptian dance is fundamentally different than hybrid bellydance off-shoots such as Amerabic/American Cabaret, and non-cultural hybrids such as ATS and Tribal fusion.  It is not a “style”, and not simply the same moves done to different music in different costume.  Egyptian dance has a unique response to specific music, with certain choices of movements with that music that have evolved in a cultural context over time.
  • Please also refer to the Articles section (above, in sub-menu of this site) for more information on what to expect. Those who attend classes consistently and choose to practice will get the most benefit from the way classes are planned, paced,  and structured.
  • Those who want to try classes are encouraged to attend a minimum of 3 classes in a row.  Nicola can only offer these trials IF the numbers permit.  You’ll pay the drop-in rate for those 3 classes, but if you choose to take the rest of the session, that will be applied to the session at the Regular Rate, if at the beginning of session, or the Late Rate, if starting late.


  • ALL classes run on numbers based on those who’ve paid their tuition.   When the minimum is met, it means that Nicola can make the commitment of time and money to the studio and to the planning, prepping, and running of the course. Nicola sets low maximum numbers (9)  so that studios are not over-crowded.  This means classes run at little to no profit.
  • “Walk-in” registrations (e.g. on the start day) will be accepted only IF the specific studio space can accommodate the extra student(s).
  • If Nicola must postpone or cancel class, she can only contact those who have actually registered.
  • ONE registration can make the difference.If you have just discovered Nicola’s classes and are registering late, please confirm with Nicola by phone at 204-957-7520.


  • Tuition covers:   instructional time of each class over the total session; studio rentals; music; preparation time; supplies provided; administration costs such as banking/Paypal fees, insurance, office help; and  planning/follow-up.  
  • Fees are consistent with the average cost of studio dance and fitness classes in Winnipeg.  Fees are listed in the Class Schedule and on the Registration Form (above).  Other teachers charging less than $10 per class are undercutting which is a nasty and predatory practice, and usually means they  are not qualified to teach. 
  • Nicola will email to you the Registration Form as a pdf, upon request, if the above link is not working for you.  You may wait to fill this out in the first class if you have already paid in advance.  
  • As with other dance and fitness classes, dancers are responsible for paying for their own footwear, dancewear, costuming, and some props.  Nicola will advise on sources and provide you access to at-cost supplies. Please see Supplies for Classes.  
  • For comparison, Nicola’s colleague, Pedro Aurelio, charges $125 for 10 weeks of one-hour classes. Students must buy their own shoes ($100+)  and castanets ($25+).  Body Balance classes run $12-13 plus GST per class, at a sessional rate (session length varies).


  • PayPal, e-transferpersonal cheque (to N. Tresoor)money ordercash (in-person only).  
  • NSF fee for bounced cheques = $35.  
  • Lates and drop-ins must be paid by e-transfercash, or cheque, and require a Registration Form submitted in class.   Paypal will be accepted if paid in advance of your class.  
  • Once you’ve completed a Registration Form for a session, as a drop-in you don’t have to redo the form each time you come.
  • You can use your credit card if you have a Paypal account.
  • Only returning students may pay by installments. Minimum of 50% is due on or before class start date, and the remainder in 1-3 additional payments by the mid-way point in session.  E.g. in a 12 week session, you must be paid  by week 6, whichever works best.


  • Further up this page you’ll find a link to the Registration Form. This link is not functional for all browsers.
  • Request by email:  
  • Print the form. 
  • Complete, then mail, scan/email,  or, drop off  with your payment.  
  • Note that you need a witness for the Waiver.
  • There are many options for payment and that’s so you have both choice and flexibility–Nicola is sensitive to those on limited incomes.
  • If paying by e-transfer or Paypal, your signed registration form may be submitted in class–your digital receipt is confirmation of your payment.  Please include your phone number in case you must be contacted prior to class start date.
  • You may request a receipt if paying by cash or cheque.
  • Drop-ins do require a Registration Form.


  • Each class has a Supply List–above–  come prepared!
  • Please change  into class wear.   
  • Bare feet or dance slippers–socks and street shoes aren’t recommended on the studio’s flooring.


  • Sorry, there are NO refunds for missed classes, regardless of your reasons.  When a session is run, the studio must be paid for, whether or not you make it to class.
  • If more than one class at your level is running, you may attend a different class by the end of the next session.  For example, in Winter session you have until the end of Spring session to do your make-up(s).   Spring session make-ups may be done in Summer (if running) or Fall sessions.
  • Refunds will only be given prior to session start date, less $10 administration fee.
  • Cancelled classes/sessions will be fully refunded.  Cheques are typically shredded; Paypal and e-transfer are returned to the account holder;  cash must be picked up in person.   Students may also choose to take a credit, if offered by Nicola for future classes.
  • Classes may be cancelled/postponed by Nicola or by the studio owners. These classes may be taught by a substitute, held as practice time, or may become credits for future registration or shopping, at her discretion.
  • Students are typically notified by email and Facebook (if you have an account and have “Friended” Nicola or “Liked” Amar Egyptian Dance).  If it’s  day-of, Nicola will post on this site, on Facebook, email the class(based on registrations), and notify the studio owner.

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Contact Nicola

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.