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Anna answers your questions about belly dance, fitness, exercise, and classes
Q. Did you change names?
A. Yes, we were BodyRaQ Dance & Fitness. Now, we are Ahlam Academy of Middle Eastern Dance.
Q. Where can I buy a hip scarf to wear during my belly dancing classes?
A. Visit the Shop Now page.
Q. I want to flatten my tummy. Will Belly Dance help me do that?
A. Belly dance is a great way to burn calories, tone muscles, and gain flexibility. Unfortunately, it is physically impossible to spot reduce areas of fat on the body. The body loses fat from all over – never from one area alone. So, to lose that tummy you will need to reduce fat all over the body, by eating healthy foods, watching your meal portions, and burning off excess calories stored as fat in the body.
Q. What is the origin of belly dance?
A. No one knows its exact origin…Some say the “gypsies” (an insensitive term we don’t actually like to use anymore) brought elements of the dance from India and others say it has roots in ancient religion or ritual practices. We have no historical evidence of this. We know ancient cultures danced, but the few images we have, still do not explain “how” they danced. We do know that modern Egyptian belly dance grew from the dance style of Cairo’s street performers, known as the Ghawazee. Add in the balletic influence from Egypt’s golden cinema era, and you now have 20th century “Raqs Sharqi” (The Dance of the East), what we know today as belly dance. Turkish belly dance also has roots in Egyptian dance. Turkish dance was undoubtedly influenced while the Ottoman Empire occupied Egypt. However, the Turkish style also has elements of Turkish Romani dance, rather than the African or Arab influenced Egyptian style.
Q. What do I wear to class?
A. I would suggest you wear yoga (exercise) pants and a fitted t-shirt, but anything that you normally workout in will do. You may dance barefoot or wear some kind of dance slipper. No street/tennis shoes. You may also wear a hip scarf, though hip scarves are not required, they are a fun part of learning belly dance.
Q. How long will it take me to be a good belly dancer?
A. Well, it depends on you and how dedicated you are to learning and practicing the disciplines involved in this dance form. Having an experienced, knowledgeable teacher(s) helps a great deal too.
Q. I want to dance for my husband (or partner), will your classes teach me how to seduce them?
A. Uhm, No…. Despite what Hollywood portrays, belly dance is not about seduction. Though the moves can be sensuous at times, they can also express all human emotions and expressions. Belly dance is traditionally a folk dance done by regular folks, just like you and me, at family events and on special occasions. It’s done simply to dance and have fun, but Hollywood seems to make everything about sex, and belly dance is no exception. If you want to learn to dance sexy for your partner, take a pole or flirtygirl class, you won’t be learning “how to please your sultan” in my class.