Developing your dance online

By Ishtar Dance on Monday, January, 22nd, 2018 in Dance Coaching, Dance Inspiration, Learning, Uncategorised, Your Dance Body No Comments

Online learning has become a big feature of the internet, and although I still strongly believe that everyone needs some 1-2-1 tuition, especially when taking up a new dance form, or wanting to develop once’s technique, you can’t ignore how easy it is to find information online these days. So in this article I want to flag up some of the pros and cons of learning online, sharing some sites for your further dance development, as well as information about my new interactive online course and tips for how to get the most from any online course you may be attending.

Pros and cons

The main ‘problem’ if you like with learning from pre-recorded videos and written articles, is that there rarely is a way for the instructor/creator to correct the student or ensure that they have processed the information as intended. I have seen many women turning up to class with self-taught technique from videos and online tutorials, who then become very frustrated when they realise that some of the basics, including their posture, is wrong.

Unlearning things take a lot more effort than learning them in the first place, so I always advice people to supplement their online learning with ‘live’ classes too (whether online or in person).

It can be very difficult to be critical of your sources if you don’t know much about the topic, but it’s nevertheless very important. This doesn’t just apply to dance videos, but any information obtained whether on- or offline. Checking and knowing your sources is key and you can read more about that is my article Why it’s import to know belly dance history and culture  

Having said that, there are many great online resources, which are worth a look…

Online dance sites


It’s one of the obvious first places to start looking for inspiration, free classes etc. But because there’s so much content on there it can be difficult to find the good stuff amongst all the ‘popular stuff’, which just happens to come higher in the searches. If you’re just looking for choreography inspiration then it’s easy, but if you’re looking for good instructional videos you’ll need to do some more digging. Here are a few of my favourites:

JWAAD Belly Dance Training offers free technique videos as well as inspirational performance videos. The emphasis is on good basic technique. Visit the channel here.

Ishtar Dance Academy and yes this is my YouTube channel, also features a wide range of dance technique videos, and the emphasis here is also on good dance technique, poster and development. New videos are being added all the time, so check it out on a regular basis, message me to say what you’d like to learn or sign up to my email alerts for when new material is added. Visit my channel here.

Bellytwins, the lovely Neena and Veena, are based in Los Angles, so if you fancy a bit of Hollywood glamour check out their channel for beginners, workout and performance videos. I’ve had the pleasure of dancing with these lovely ladies and experience their fantastic technique first hand. Most of the YouTube clips are tasters for their on-demand videos, but there is still plenty of inspiration and free learning to be had. However, this is very Hollywood, so not to everyone’s taste. Visit the channel here.


On PowHow you can take a live class with instructors from all over the world. Some famous and well known belly dance teacher like Sadie Marquardt use this platform to teach their classes, and it can be a great way to learn with someone that you admire from the convenience of your living room. Visit the site here.

Articles is one of the pioneers of knowledge sharing about bellydancing online, and her website remains a very useful resource on all things history, costuming, music etc. Visit the site here.

The Gilded Serpent, is like the previous website, a trusted instition online when it comes to all things bellydance. Not the prettiest or most user friendly, but a treasure trove of information. Visit the site here.

There are obviously many other fantastic sites worth knowing, also some that I use on a regular basis, but if I haven’t mentioned them here it’s merely because I feel there’s a lack of explanation about background, origin, technique etc.

Interactive Online Course

So online learning can be fantastic because it means you can do so without any place and time restraint. You can learn from teachers all over the world at almost any time that suits you.

I’ve been running private lessons via Skype and FaceTime for several years now, and the results that my students have had have been incredible. Many have asked me to run courses online, but to be honest, I wasn’t sure I could deliver the quality and personal feedback that I feel is necessary to each student in order for them to grow until now. I’m therefore excited to launch my first ever highly interactive Advance Your Dance Online Course aimed at improver/intermediates, who want to take their dancing to the next level. It will be structured and tailored to the needs of those signing up, and therefore I’m keeping places strictly limited. You can read more and sign up here.

If you have your eyes on another online course, then there are a few things you might want to consider in order to gain the most from it:

  • Make sure that there’s opportunity for individual feedback before, during or after the course, or at least some kind of follow up process.
  • Will live session or classes be accessible afterwards? Will they expire or do you need to download them in order to access them? Make sure you get value for your money as you are likely to miss some of the sessions, because life always gets in the way!
  • Will you receive notes or have to rely on your own? Ideally you should have both, as you will miss things off during class, but at the same time it’s good to make your own notes as you will remember and make sense of information in a different way to what may be sent to you.
  • What technology is required? Have you got a strong enough internet connection? Fast enough computer? Will you need a external loudspeakers or mic? Try to set up a test call or make sure there’s enough time in the first session of your course to get this right, so you don’t waste time fiddling with the hardware.
  • Book the time in your diary. Sounds obvious, but if you get material and videos sent you still need to allow yourself time to catch up and digest the information before the next step of the course.

Have you already attended online classes? Have you got any experiences you want to share with fellow dancers? Or is there anything you feel I’ve missed off in this article? Please use the comments section below to let me know, so we can keep knowledge sharing and dance development going.

Happy dancing, learning and growing your own dance potential!



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