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  1. #11
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Default Belly Dance for Exercise

    I agree to both Shira’s, lizaj’s and adiemus’ arguments and I really do understand Aziyades concerns about losing the cultural context when promoting is as fitness.

    For me, belly dancing is an exercise as much as other activities: I can’t stand running and I think plain aerobic is really boring, the only activities I really like are various forms of dancing.

    Belly dancing can be both a low and high intensity activity. In a class I may be a slob hardly getting warm by doing the various movements in a sloppy way, or I may use all my muscles to work through the movements both doing them as strong and beautiful as possible. The latter make me sweat, I breathe hard and I’m getting my heart-rate up to the cardio and fat burning zone and I’m having a lot more fun while exercising.

    I think a lot of hobby dancers forget that if you really want to maximize the effect, you have to maximize the effort, as in all forms of exercising, whether it is belly dancing, aerobic or biking. Perhaps it is easier to maximize the effect from simpler activities like biking in the beginning, but as soon as the basic belly dance movements are conquered it is up to one self to maximize the effect when dancing. I think most students forget this point.

    What kind of students you attract to your classes depends on how you advertise them.
    If you advertise you classes as an intensive work out, this will be what the students expects and they will be disappointed if they don’t sweat, breathes hard etc.
    On the other hand, if you advertise your classes as “the full package – movements, music and culture”, like Ranya Renée, I believe you attract those who are interested in this rather than those who want a slightly different workout.

    Like Adiemus says:
    Quote Originally Posted by adiemus View Post
    Belly dance IS a form of exercise and DOES help with fitness, but it won't train you for a triathlon!
    --
    Daim.

  2. #12
    Member RanyaRenee's Avatar
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    Hey there,

    Just happened upon this thread.... In most of my classes I do emphasize the "full package" as advertised. But I was recently offered a chance at the YMCA I've been teaching at for 10 years to add more classes to my schedule that are workout-oriented. Ten years ago, I was horrified when my boss at that time (long since gone) had insisted that my bellydance class should be more aerobic than it was. I have done my AFAA aerobics certification, but always focused on the conditioning benefits rather than keep-it-moving cardio. My boss left her position before she had a chance to force me to up the pace and minimize explanations.

    But this time, years later, I was able to choose to get more work hours there and have the chance to see if I would *like* doing a more workout-oriented, keep-it-moving kind of class (minimal breakdown, more cueing like an aerobics class, and the students following me in action almost the whole time, a class that is accessible to people even if it is their first class ever).

    I found that I liked it!!

    I am able to train the participants with muscle work in the usual circles, pops and bumps, as well as step combinations like what they would find in a modern Egyptian style choreography, Mahmoud Reda-style stuff, Yousry Sharif-style stuff, etc., with enough repetitions to get the hang of it, not have to think too much and work up a sweat. I still call out comments like "use your muscles for support" to remind people to dance safe, and I go and correct someone if they are looking like she'll hurt herself, but aside from that it's mostly encouragement and fun.

    The class has grown a lot in size and I have many enthusiastic participants that come twice a week. Some of them will get more interested in bellydance, some may buy tix to my shows, some may be just doing it for fun, for now. But it keeps me working and coming up with combinations beginners can get, and has inspired me to think about making a bellydance workout dvd or two. I'm still teaching my "instructional" class at that YMCA for those who want to work on choreography and do performances, already have their costume and have thus made more of a commitment. And even those people are still fine with a workout class--it is a warmup for them and they can polish moves they already know.

    So I've changed my view from many years ago that people have to know all the ins and outs and polish their technique before they can really get moving. I remember what Yousry once told me a while back about teaching beginners (or any level really)--"They want to dance, not just watch you dance." Dance first, explain later--It is often a successful proposition, at any level.

  3. #13
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I know Oreet has the Sharqui training, but it would be awesome if somebody would make a "how to teach bellydance as a fitness class" workshop for bellydance teachers who are also trainers or group fitness instructors.

    hint hint hint

  4. #14
    Member RanyaRenee's Avatar
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    hahaha, hint taken! I'll probably do one that has some basic technique instruction as well as some combos and workouts, that is fun for beginners to do, whether they are "serious" about bellydance or just trying to get fit, as well as fun for teachers who are trying to get ideas for their own classes--how 'bout that???!

    (But first I have to finish my Classical Oriental dvd!!!)

  5. #15
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanyaRenee View Post
    (But first I have to finish my Classical Oriental dvd!!!)
    YES !!! PLEASE make it soon (lol) -- I have a class full of people drooling for this one. You've already converted them all to Baladi lovers, so I can't wait to see what THIS dvd inspires.

  6. #16
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    Last year I met a a gal who used to teach me aerobics ( when I used to go for the burn and she asked me if I knew about the course to be held in a local health studio and was for fitness teachers to be become belly dance teachers in a DAY!
    Another local teacher and I set about enquiring which involved politely (well not really) telling the dance studio what we thought of them. They said they had been approached by a woman offering the course. Further investigations revealled that she had "fled" to Spain. We didn't realise how scary we were But beware Spainish bellydancers...who's teaching you?

  7. #17
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    I dont have a big issue with people selling their classes for fitness providing that is exactly what it is and only what it is.

    The point is, if it is a 'fitness' class, you do NOT need merchandise, costumes CD's or are likely to perform anywhere...

    The problem is, people DO advertise as a 'fitness class' and then people DO buy costumes and people then go out and perform in public.

    This for me is the big NO NO!

  8. #18
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanyaRenee View Post
    (But first I have to finish my Classical Oriental dvd!!!)
    Yes! Yes! **wearing out Baladi DVD VERY fast**

  9. #19
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    The point is, if it is a 'fitness' class, you do NOT need merchandise, costumes CD's or are likely to perform anywhere...

    The problem is, people DO advertise as a 'fitness class' and then people DO buy costumes and people then go out and perform in public.
    Totally agree - but for some of the participants, having the costumes is part of it (don't you remember the Jane Fonda leotards?!!) - and this is one way to make $$$ out of classes, and for the particpants to be drawn into the 'club'.

    It's not surprising that participants get confused about whether they can perform - they have the music, the movements, the costume oh! but forgot musicality, culture and so on...

    if only there was some way to prevent them from going on stage and in public.

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanyaRenee View Post
    Hey there,

    Just happened upon this thread.... In most of my classes I do emphasize the "full package" as advertised. But I was recently offered a chance at the YMCA I've been teaching at for 10 years to add more classes to my schedule that are workout-oriented. Ten years ago, I was horrified when my boss at that time (long since gone) had insisted that my bellydance class should be more aerobic than it was. I have done my AFAA aerobics certification, but always focused on the conditioning benefits rather than keep-it-moving cardio. My boss left her position before she had a chance to force me to up the pace and minimize explanations.

    But this time, years later, I was able to choose to get more work hours there and have the chance to see if I would *like* doing a more workout-oriented, keep-it-moving kind of class (minimal breakdown, more cueing like an aerobics class, and the students following me in action almost the whole time, a class that is accessible to people even if it is their first class ever).

    I found that I liked it!!

    I am able to train the participants with muscle work in the usual circles, pops and bumps, as well as step combinations like what they would find in a modern Egyptian style choreography, Mahmoud Reda-style stuff, Yousry Sharif-style stuff, etc., with enough repetitions to get the hang of it, not have to think too much and work up a sweat. I still call out comments like "use your muscles for support" to remind people to dance safe, and I go and correct someone if they are looking like she'll hurt herself, but aside from that it's mostly encouragement and fun.

    The class has grown a lot in size and I have many enthusiastic participants that come twice a week. Some of them will get more interested in bellydance, some may buy tix to my shows, some may be just doing it for fun, for now. But it keeps me working and coming up with combinations beginners can get, and has inspired me to think about making a bellydance workout dvd or two. I'm still teaching my "instructional" class at that YMCA for those who want to work on choreography and do performances, already have their costume and have thus made more of a commitment. And even those people are still fine with a workout class--it is a warmup for them and they can polish moves they already know.

    So I've changed my view from many years ago that people have to know all the ins and outs and polish their technique before they can really get moving. I remember what Yousry once told me a while back about teaching beginners (or any level really)--"They want to dance, not just watch you dance." Dance first, explain later--It is often a successful proposition, at any level.
    Is that you in the picture? Mezmerizing!!!!

    I really like your point of view, I have used a fitness/bellydance DVD in the past, and if is a well made one, it can really be fun! I just wanted some light cardio workout which would allow me to polish bellydance moves as well, and it is a perfect solution.

    And it all depends on a body type, so 6-pack through belly dance IMHO is quite possible!

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