Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about belly dancing & learning how to belly dance

FAQs about Ahlam Academy

Ahlam Academy is the only program in the Houston area offering complete courses in Oriental Dance (belly dance) from beginner to professional dancer, and the only program that offers teacher training.

All our teachers are highly trained, friendly, and professional. Their sole mission is to help you grow as a dancer and individual in a truly supportive and positive environment. 

We have all levels of classes at various times during the week, so our students are able to enjoy our classes when it’s most convenient for them.

If you wish to learn more traditional/authentic styles of Oriental Dance (belly dance) and related styles, we proudly focus on culturally-sourced dance forms from the countries/cultures of origin.     

FAQs about Belly Dancing

No one knows its exact origin…Some say the Roma 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 the later. 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 Egypt’s street performers, known as the Ghawazee. Now, in the 21st century, we have “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.

FAQs for Those Wanting to Learn How to Belly Dance

It can be, but it depends. Belly dance classes can vary greatly from teacher to teacher and class to class. Consider what a “good workout” means to you or what your physician might recommend for you. What’s most important is determining your own health and fitness goals. Then, trying a particular belly dancing class and seeing if it’s going to work for your needs.

I’m not sure about “that”, but after a vigorous belly dance class, you will likely get a better night’s sleep.

You can learn a few moves in 1 class. You could learn a beginner choreography in 1-2 months. You could perform a beginner choreography in 3-4 months. Moving beyond beginner takes more time. The more you learn & practice, the faster you will progress.

You can definitely get started learning belly dance moves on your own. However, there is much more to the art of belly dance than just the movements. f you want to get better, faster, outside guidance will help you fill in any gaps in your skill or knowledge. 

Maybe… Weight loss can be a complex issue. Staying active is only one aspect of many to evaluate when creating a weight loss plan. Belly dancing is a good choice for those that desire a challenging physical activity that reduces stress and is gentle on the body. What is most important is finding out if you enjoy belly dancing enough to make it a regular part of your week, so you can benefit from it. The best activity is the one you actually do! You want to do something you enjoy and look forward to, rather than seeing it as a chore.

Prior dance experience is not necessary. Belly dance is it’s own distinct dance form, so prior dance education in another style may or may not help you learn belly dance more easily. Many wonderful belly dancers had no previous dance experience. What matters most is the practice you put in today.

Yes, boys and men historically, have learned and continue to learn belly dancing, informally and professionally. They can become wonderful belly dancers!

  1. Live classes with qualified instructors are always best! While videos can be a wonderful resource, nothing can replace a real teacher giving you specific guidance and feedback to help you truly master the art. 
  2. Until you begin live classes, take our complimentary “Beginning Your Belly Dance Journey” online course.

Belly dancing is a wonderful physical activity to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Belly dance burns calories, tones muscles, and increases flexibility.

Unfortunately, it is physically impossible to spot-reduce areas of fat on the body. The body loses fat from all over the body – never from one area alone. In order to lose that tummy, you will need to reduce fat all over the body, by eating high-quality nutrient-dense foods, watching the size of your meal portions, and regularly moving your body will help you burn off excess fat stored in the body.

Uhm, No…. Despite what Hollywood portrays, belly dance is not just 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, we recommend finding another dance/workout class that focuses on that purpose.

No, you do not. There are lots of stylish options for both practice wear and costuming. What is most important is that you feel confident and comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. 

Absolutely not! The average student’s age ranges from 30 – 60 years old. Some younger, some older. 

FAQs for Those Coming to Belly Dance Class for the 1st Time

We 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. We have some to borrow during class until you get your own.

We sell a range of hip scarf styles, colors, and sizes at our studio.

Unfortunately in Houston, there isn’t one reliable source to buy authentic hip scarves that fit everyone. Harwin stores do have some but they are usually on the smaller side.

We suggest that you buy online from an online belly dance specialty store or an online retailer like Amazon.

Be sure to look for any measurements and compare them to your own.

We offer various class times for the convenience of our students. Class size can vary based on class type, time of year, and other factors. Some classes have only a few students, some have many more depending on the popularity of the class time. Please inquire if you have a class-size preference, so we can advise you based on current trends. 

FAQs for Growing Belly Dancers

Well, it depends on you and how dedicated you are to learning and practicing the disciplines involved in this dance form. The more classes you take, the more you practice and learn, the greater your chances of growing quickly. Learning from experienced, knowledgeable teacher(s) with a clear, concise program, like Ahlam Academy, helps a great deal too.