Here are some of the most common questions about courses, performances and belly dance in general.
If you can’t find what you are looking for please feel free to email me.
What class level is right for me?
Beginners classes are right for anyone who is new to belly dancing. You may have danced before, but as many of the basic moves are very different to other forms of dance, it is always recommended to join a beginners class first.
Open level classes are aimed at beginners as well as those who have danced for several years. The tuition is differentiated so that people at various dance levels can participate and have fun, whilst still developing their dance skills.
Intermediate classes are for anyone who have mastered all the basic moves and achieved a certain fluidity in their dance. A time frame can’t be given, as it depends on the individual and their ability to pick up new moves. But if you have danced for several years and are looking to develop your skills even further, then this class is probably right for you.
Private classes are an excellent way of learning to belly dance for those unable to attend regular classes. They are also great for existing students to improve specific moves, or their overall dance skills. Absolute beginners as well as advanced dancers will gain from a one-2-one, which always includes a gentle warm up, personal structured tuition and a cool down. Read more about bespoke learning here.
Am I too old or uncoordinated to learn belly dance?
No! Belly dancing is a gentle yet effective way to improve both your fitness levels and coordination skills. Women of all ages, shapes and sizes can learn it, but if you have medical conditions, which you think may prevent you from joining a class, please contact your GP beforehand. Read more about why you should be belly dancing here.
Do I need to sign up to several classes?
You can attend lessons on a drop in basis if you prefer, but you will undoubtedly gain more from classes if you sign up to the entire term, and discounts apply then as well.
What kind of workout will I get from taking up belly dancing?
Belly dancing is a low impact workout, which strengthens flexibility, coordination skills, as well as muscles in the abdominals, thighs and back. People are often surprised by how much of a workout they actually get by “just dancing”, and although you may not get a six pack, you’ll tone up whilst having fun! Read more about why belly dancing is such a good workout here.
What clothes should I wear?
As long as you can move freely, it’s all down to personal preference. Many like to wear leggins and a lose top, or gym wear. A jersey is also useful, as the studio is cool on the beginning, but you’ll soon warm up. For footwear see below.
Do I need to show my belly?
Most certainly not! In many countries belly dancers don’t show their midriff at all, not even when performing in front of an audience.
What shoes should I wear?
Soft, non-slip shoes, like canvas shoes, jazz or ballet slips, are better than regular trainers. Some students prefer to dance barefooted, but no dancing in socks please, as the risk of slipping is too big.
Will you be putting on a class in my area soon?
I am always keen to follow up class requests, but due to my busy schedule this isn’t always possible. Many of my students therefore travel from Woking, Epsom, Englefield Green and even London to join my classes. If you would like me to teach in your area, you could consider hosting one of my workshops. Read more here.
Where do you perform?
I perform at corporate as well as private events, but not at male only events (stag parties etc.). I often both perform and teach at birthdays and hen parties, but have also danced in clubs, restaurants and at various theatre and dance shows.
Anyone looking to add some extra glamour and fun to their event, should contact me direct to hear about prices and availability.
Do you also perform at family parties?
All performances are family friendly, and children in particular love the sparkly costumes and upbeat music!
What kind of music do you use in your performances?
I usually use a mixture of traditional Arabic music, which can include everything from classical oriental pieces to modern pop. Some times I also use Turkish and more folkloric music, but if you have any special music requests then feel free to included it in your initial booking request.
Will you bring your own music and sound system?
I will bring my own music, usually on a CD or iPod, but expect you to provide a good quality sounds system. The quality of the sound is very important to a good belly dance performance, so please make sure that your sound system can play the music at loud volumns with out distortion.
How long does a performance last?
A typical performance can range from 15 to 25 minutes, but can also last longer, or be split into sets. Please make sure to include any such request in your initial booking email.
How far will you travel for a performance?
I have travelled all over Europe to teach and perform, but whether I can make a show really depends on my schedule. Travel cost and accommodation will of course be added on to the performance fee, unless I should already be in the area, in which case I may only charge the performance.
Is Ishtar your real name?
Ishtar is my performance name, which was given to me by one of my first dance tutor more than fifteen years ago. Originally I performed as “Daughter of Ishtar” but many now know me simply as Ishtar.
How did you discover belly dancing?
I started dancing at the age of 2, and haven’t really stopped since. I was a ballroom champion, before I began exploring other dance forms. But it was through my travels in the Middle East that I discovered the wonderful world of oriental dance. You can read more about my life as a dancer here.