Belly Dance Classes at The Last Carnival
This is an intensive drills and conditioning class for beginner dancers to learn and intermediate and advanced belly dancers to enhance technique. The art of belly dance is a series of sequential classes will explore traditional belly dance movements while being mindful of proper posture and safe dance technique, providing students with a vocabulary of movement unique to Belly dance. Dancers will learn how to use space, incorporate arms, vary movement increase muscular control, engage the audience, and interpret music. There are three levels of study offered, with required accomplishments to move to the next level. Over time, students will be encouraged to develop strong and unique dance skills for performance.
Beginner Belly Dance
Week One warm-up, posture, walking, arms, slides, shimmies, grapevine, basic Egyptian
Week Two circles, lift, drop, turns, combination basic E and 3-step turn
Week Three figure 8s, twist, side hip combination: 1-2-3, basic back and paddle turn
Week Four undulations, four count, add arms to the combo
Week Five rhythms and veils
Week Six review all, work out kinks, add cha cha step
Repeat until all skills are assimilated…
No prerequisites for this class – let’s do it!!
Intermediate Belly Dance
For the nominally experienced dancer, includes exploration of complex layered movements, combinations and simple choreography, introduction to finger cymbals and various styles of Middle Eastern Dance are incorporated.
Prerequisite: one year of basic training, including muscle isolation, basic steps, familiarity with rhythms. Interview recommended prior to registration.
Advanced Belly Dance
Continued use of finger cymbals, musical interpretation, improvisation techniques, cultural nuance and other concepts in Middle Eastern Dance added to the dancer’s repertoire for the development of performance potential. Includes learning and maintaining company repertoire, advanced group and solo choreography; training in regional styles and performance opportunities.
Prerequisite: Three years or more of continuous study. Interview and audition may be required.
Summer Technique Class
A workout for Intermediate and Advanced students alike. Tuesdays 7:45-9pm. starts with a warm up, then one full hour of across the floor and combinations to add to the dancers’ movement vocabulary, ending with a cool down. Bring Finger Cymbals!
Prerequisite Intermediate or Advanced level training. Meets July 2-August 6
Belly Dance for your health:
Correct posture and muscle control is as important in belly dance as it is in other fields of dance, and enables a dancer to move the hips freely whilst avoiding lower back injuries. This will be one of the many things covered in belly dance class. Belly dance is a non-impact, weight-bearing exercise suitable for all ages. It is a good exercise for the prevention of osteoporosis in older people. Many of the moves involve isolations, which improves flexibility of the torso. Belly dance moves are also beneficial to the spine, as the full-body moves lengthens (decompress) and strengthens the entire column of spinal and abdominal muscles in a gentle way. There are also benefits that coincide with adding props. For instance, dancing with a veil can help build strength in the upper body, arm and shoulders and playing the zills (finger cymbals) trains fingers to work independently and builds strength. The legs and long muscles of the back are strengthened by hip movements.
History of Belly Dance
Belly Dance became popular outside the Middle East during the Romantic movement of the 18th and 19th centuries. Dancers from Middle Eastern countries would perform at various World’s Fairs, often drawing crowds in numbers that rivaled those for the science and technology exhibits. The Chicago World’s fair spurred North American interest in belly dance by shocking a reserved Victorian society with uncorseted dancers that gyrated their hips.
As belly dance became more popular and there were more people imitating this style there were also more people becoming outraged at what they saw as immodest. Dancers started being arrested and fined. It seems mainstream society was not ready for this dance. Often when things become taboo they bloom. As the dance evolved people started calling belly dance the Hootchy Kootchy or the Shimmy Shake and Hollywood began to capitalize on the fascination with a series of films featuring exotic belly dancing characters.”Fatima’s Dance” was one such film. It was eventually censored after receiving much criticism for it’s “immodesty”. While some movies played on the prevailing idea of dancing ladies being women of loose morals other’s, such as the silent film “Intolerance”, aimed to change the perception so belly dance would be seen as a respectable art form. But once it was set as taboo, people flocked to burlesque theaters as well as carnivals and circuses to sneak a peak of these dancing ladies. It was the 1930s as more immigrants came in from the Arab states and nightclubs and restaurants being having dancers perform too. In the late 1960s and early ’70s many dancers began teaching. Middle Eastern or Eastern bands took dancers with them on tour, which helped further interest in belly dance.
Although using traditional Turkish and Egyptian movements, American Cabaret or American Restaurant belly dancing has developed its own distinctive style, using props and encouraging audience interaction. Many modern American dancers also make use of the music of Egyptian Sha’abi singers in their routines. In 1987, a uniquely American style, American Tribal Style Belly Dance, (ATS), was created. Although a unique and wholly modern style, its steps are based on a melting pot of ancient dance techniques including those from North India, the Middle East, and Africa. Many forms of “Tribal Fusion” belly dance have also developed, incorporating elements from many other dance and music styles including flamenco, ballet, burlesque, hula hoop and even hip hop.