Teaching Belly Dance in a kid's summer camp. Some advice?


New member
Hello again!

Soon I will start teaching belly dance to children in a summer camp. I checked the forum but really didn't find anything about summer camps specifically, and I would like some advice.

Some of you might remember that I am relatively " new" to the dances of the middle east (started classes two years and a half ago) but was in love with the dance since I can remember, and was a dancer of other genres for long before starting belly dance classes. Also, 2014 was an amazing year for me in terms of dancing. I went to great workshops, I had some fun performances and my teacher started teaching me how to teach(does this make sense? She put me to work with kids as a substitute teacher) This year I started teaching with her more often and she thought I should teach in a summer camp(she found one for me and I'll start next week)

So here's the thing. I will have 3 groups of different age groups (from 5yo to 12ish) and I will teach them one hour classes, twice a week in June(for a total of 8 classes). The camp organizers asked me to create 3 individual choreographies, one for each group for the last day activity. I know I have to keep it simple since there wont be many classes and also most of them are beginners in belly dance. Another thing is the classes will be mixed, boys and girls, and this will be my frst time working with boys. Im already prepared to give them some background and to explain that in the middle east theses dances are enjoyed by the whole family, and Ive watched many videos of male dancers, including a kid from here(Puerto Rico) and I think they are as amazing as women but not everyone sees it like that :/

Here are some questions:

1. What steps can I incorporate for the boys, that are common male steps in the ME? (Ive thought about Saidi and Dabke are good styles)
2. How to make the classes more fun, since it is a summer camp and the format is different to that os a dance academy?
3. What are fun songs that kids would love?( Hakim is in my list :)
4. Any thoughts on discipline with love?

I hope this made sense XD anyway I already made a list of the moves I will teach, I kept it simple and not too many, but instead variations of the steps. I will also include videos, and other activities such as talking about props and using hoola hoops(so they can see that everyone can move those hips :p ) becaus I think 1 hour is very long for kids.



Super Moderator
I used to teach belly dance to elementary students through the Discover Program. The kids responded best to debke and shabbi. That isn't long to teach a choreographed dance to a bunch of kids so I'd limit the song to two minutes max and movement to a maximum of three very simple shabbi combinations for the upper ages and maybe a debke step, cross step and stomp for the younger kids. I teach boys exactly the same steps as I teach girls.

Discipline: I let them know what I expect from the start and what the penalties will be for not meeting expectations. No talking while I'm talking, follow instructions, and you get to dance and have fun. Chatter with a neighbor, refuse to try the steps, or otherwise disrupt class, and go sit by yourself on the sidelines. Say all this with a smile but make sure they know you mean it.

Fun: be sure and teach them to shimmy. If that fails to get them giggling, call an ambulance because the non-gigglers are in a coma or dead. ;)


New member
Thanks Shanazel!

Yesterday was the first day of the camp and I had a nice experience. The 3 groups were very different though. My first group was full of very athletic girls that practice jazz and other dances. They were very excited about the class and were fast learners. They had fun and at the end showed me a little dance they all knew(they were friends from their school). The only thing is that they requested to have something else apart from belly dance, like pop music and hip hop. Also the two older girls in the class were the only shy ones. They were 10 girls in total.

The second class was similar, only difference is that there were younger girls(even a three year old) and 2 boys. In that class there was more energy overall, and the boys were very happy and danced very well! There were 13 kids in this class, and at the end they requested some pop and hip hop songs as well. Last class was a little bit more challenging than the first two. There were only 4 girls in there and they were a little bored and not very excited when they heard the oriental music. At the end they said they really dont like belly dance although one of the girls have taken belly dance before and that they wasn to dance to something that didnt require hips. I was a little shocked but I didnt show it.

I think overall it was a good day, and the size of the class matters(the bigger the class, the more fun they seemed to have). Also, I think they all requested different music because the summer camp coordinators didn't anounce belly dance in their flyers, instead they just wrote " dance" so probably the kids thought they meant pop/hip hop style which is the most common thing here :/ Im not sure how I should proceed with the next classes


Well, then... using belly dance technique to do those hip hop moves and sliding towards bellydance hip hop fusion... ;)