In a recent article, I addressed the #1 thing new students tell me after their first class.

In this article, I’m sharing the second most common sentiment of new belly dancers, which is:

how surprised they are, when they take their first peek down the DEEP belly dance “rabbit hole” 

And how that same rabbit hole continues to send more experienced belly dancers on a harrowing trip to disillusionment. 



At first glance, belly dancing seems rather simple, right?

Then you start classes – and quickly discover there is so much more than just torso movements. 

There are:

  • traveling steps and transitions
  • layers of movements
  • choreography
  • improvisation
  • performance skills
  • costuming
  • music and rhythms
  • various regional styles
  • props
  • politics
  • history
  • cultural context

I could go on and on.


Even at this length, the list is dizzying, isn’t it?

I’d be willing to bet, all dancers, at every level, feel like there is SO MUCH work to do.

So, don’t feel too bad about not feeling up to the challenge because that’s a very typical response to a list of this magnitude.

While we can’t immediately shorten the ever-growing list of dance-related things we could potentially learn or improve on, we can glean some applicable wisdom from Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat as we start [or continue] our journey down the rabbit hole. 


Alice asks, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

Cheshire Cat says, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to” 

Alice replies, “I don’t much care where—” 

Cheshire Cat retorts, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go” 

Alice further explain, “—so long as I get somewhere” 

Cheshire Cat affirms, “Oh, you’re sure to do that if you only walk long enough.”

The Cheshire Cat is telling Alice, whether you have a desired destination or not, you will eventually get somewhere, as long as you keep going.


Navigating the belly dance journey is EXACTLY the same.

You just need to pick a destination (or not) and follow that bliss, where ever that little rabbit might lead.

And you absolutely DO NOT have to have the goal of becoming a pro dancer or teacher. 

In fact, you can simply love dance for dance’s sake and enjoy learning and growing JUST FOR FUN, by accomplishing short-term, more easily attainable mini-goals, and you can still arrive at a wonderful destination and be a fabulous dancer.


I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have big dreams, but…

The important key is focusing on the smaller actions that move you toward the larger goal.

Because thinking about the BIG GOAL too much [and how much we have left to learn] can quickly discourage us.  

Of course, in the beginning of your adventure, my best advice for every new dancer is to adopt the first priority of thoroughly learning the basics.

Just honing in on that ONE thing – building a strong dance foundation.

From there, you can potentially go anywhere and end up “somewhere.”


That is the beauty of the journey – seeing where IT takes you.

In my own experience, I’ve never found that trying to control my destiny or setting long-term goals to actually work for me.

I never set out to dance professionally, teach, or even own a studio.

They just all kind of happened and I did what was necessary along the way.

I feel it’s far more exciting and fun to flow in the feminine energy – ride the roller coaster with my hands up and laughing hysterically – than trying to plan out all life’s details.

Besides, the universe had much more interesting things planned, than even my wild imagination could conceive.

And I can confidently say, I’ve gone somewhere over the last 20 years. LOL.



Experienced dancers or dancers who have learned the basics, what about you?

Do you know where you’re going?

Again, it doesn’t matter, but what does matter [to get anywhere] is staying the course.

Unfortunately, there is NOTHING that can cause dancers to retire their hip scarf faster than feeling overwhelmed and discouraged that they have so far left to go to reach their goal.  

My advice is to NOT look at the laundry list as “all the stuff you need to do/to learn to be ____________ (a good dancer, a pro, a teacher, anything)”

Because this is NOT true! 

It’s not an accurate measure of how good of a dancer you are. 


You can be a good dancer, well before you ever check much off your list.

Instead, REFRAME your “laundry list” as items you can learn and apply to enhance your dance.

✔ Useful tools to add to your dance toolbox.

✔ Fresh inspiration.

✔ New ways to keep your passion growing and thriving

They are the rabbit you follow – called BLISS!


Yes, there will always be scary or slow-moving times along your path, but let the bliss encourage and motivate you to continue your journey.

I promise you’ll get somewhere! 😍



But hold up, didn’t the Cheshire Cat also mentioned he preferred the shortcut?

Yes, he did!

And why not take the shortest, fastest route possible.

That’s exactly what I designed the Ahlam Academy curriculum to do.

Get you dancing better, faster while not skimping at all on all the other important stuff you NEED to know.

In fact, our students are frequently blown away by how much they’ve learned in our program compared to others, who have danced as long as they have or longer.


Here’s what some of our students say about our program:

The amount of knowledge I get from the instructors and the amount of support from the other students have surpassed all my expectations.” – Asha S. / Sunshyne

Anna is incredibly thorough in her training. She does not just teach the moves, but every aspect of Middle Eastern Dance. From history, choreography, costuming. props, performing etc...” – Christy D.

This place is incredible! The dance instruction is top-notch, and you also get a deeper knowledge and understanding of this art form.” – Sarah J.

Anna is one of the most knowledgeable teachers I’ve known. She is kind and professional and will give you wonderful advice! Please look no further if you plan on taking a dance class, you won’t be disappointed!” – Valeri C.


Are you ready to take the shortcut down the rabbit hole with me?

Come dance with us! Check out our class schedule right now and sign up