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From the movement to the dance; from the dance to the performance; from the performance to be an art.
Prof Dr Hassan Khalil
What to wear in class?
Comfortable exercise/ yoga like clothing is the key to feel good to start your practice (no need to expose your tummy).
Academy attire: The academy T-shirt, your favourite leggings, gym or yoga pants & a hip scarf, that comes with your BellyFun pack. *TO ORDER THAT, please get in touch!
‘Your favourite top & pants makes a good start!’
Footwear: Bare feet, non-slip socks, jiffies, ballet flats or flexible dance shoes that you only use indoors.
Alternatively purchase a treasure from our own academy shop 😉
Water: No need to bring a water bottle as we always have water in a jar ready to drink, unless you prefer to bring your own.
When will I be able to Belly dance as I see in videos? How quickly will I learn everything?
The dance path is like a self- development journey. There is no set time for a student to show her improvements. It normally depends on how many classes a week she can devote herself to and how much home practice she does. Often who join ourclasses can expect to learn the essential moves of BellyDance in 6 weeks, especially if student also tries our complementary classes like our monthly workshops, Bootcamps.
Of course as any dance modality, it takes time, commitment and patience to really master the movement vocabulary and the speed will depend of the student more than on the class itself. However, with our BellyEssentials Course we find that within 6 weeks your repertoire of BellyDance moves and technique understanding will become more real. COMPLETE beginners are expected to attend three LEVEL 1 before moving up to LEVEL 2. AND FROM level 2 onwards, can teacher will advise when it’s best to move to upper levels.
Most students then grow by following up all the other terms and courses that comes after BellyEssentials.
Always remember in the Belly Dance world we are always learning new things, this is an ongoing path!!! *rush is one of the main Belly dance enemies*
The main dance path curriculum goes as follows:
BellyEssentials – BellyBasics1/2/3– BellyBeyond 1/2/3 – BellyFusion/ BellyRhtyhms– BellyCore – BellyElements – BellyGoddess – BellyFlow which is the intermediate level. If you want to continue mastering the art of Bellydance you go forward to upper intermediate with BellyFantasy and you start the dancer development journey with BellyChoreo – BellySoul – BellySilver – BellyGolden – BellyDiamond.
In all classes we show you, step-by-step of each of the movements you need to master, learn fun drills and we then teach you how to connect the moves together so that you finally see yourself “BellyDancing” rather than learning individual movements.
In class the teacher is constantly assessing your development! Always make sure she knows when you find something difficult – we love supporting our students through their moments of challenge. Our Haflas- students showcase is another way to assess our students!
Performances & Events
Book a dazzling and authentic performance and be entertained by our Academy director Sara McDonald & her dance group “Shakti Tribe”.
The BellyDance Academy Belfast delivers quality performances that will captivate all ages. Our art promises is to bring an exquisite and fun highlight to your special occasion that will long be remembered.
*Hen Parties – we can offer a package that includes the studio booking as well as the party that will suit your plans.
Show duration ranges from 10 to 30 minutes/ 1hr according to client preference, size of the function and suitability to the occasion.
Workshop duration generally ranges from 20 minutes to 1 hour and is easily tailored to suit your specific requirements. A short performance can be added as a spectacular finale to close your session on a dazzling note.
What to expect?
Our Showcases incorporate several dance pieces. Each dance piece involve a routine that has an unique touch and colourful character giving the performance a highly entertaining edge. Our choreographies are practiced to perfection, and are created by Sara. Our solo is full of emotion & soul. We perform with authentic costumes that gives an extra feeling to our showcase.
Variety of styles
Shows present a variety of styles according to the event set up. They may include any of the following: Classic Egyptian |Modern | Folkloric | Candle Dance | Turkish Dance | Veil Dance | Drum Solo Dance | Audience Participation | Finale
Performances & Appearances
Birthdays | Weddings | Engagements | Hens’ Parties| Children’s Parties | Christenings | Name Days | Restaurants | Cafes | Stage & Theatre | Cultural & Community | TV & Radio | Media Events| Festivals | Expos | Kindergartens | Schools | Universities | Hospitals & Aged Care | Family Celebrations | Social & Corporate Functions | Interactive Shows | Workshops | Speaking Events | Meet & Greets | Team Building | Ice Breakers | Christmas & New Year’s Parties…to name a few!
- About the Academy
- Is Bellydancing for Me?
- Classes & Workshops format
- How to Enrol & Pay
- Who will be my teacher?
- Timetable & Term Dates
The BellyDance Academy Belfast is located in Stranmillis – South Belfast; it is easy to access by car, bus and feet. Just look for Shakti Wellness Studio.
Director and founder Sara McDonald opened the doors to a new way of living Belly Dance in Belfast back in 2011. Although she has been practicing Belly Dance for about 14 years. Her Belly Dance path began in her homeland, Brazil, but over the years she had the luck to learn from amazing and well known Middle Eastern Dance Teachers. Among many, she had studied with teachers like Serena & Hossam Ramzy, Manca Pavli, Yasmina Nammu, Tamar Bar Gil, Carolyn Evanoff … She has trained with Sadie Marquadt in Raqs Flow level 1.
Sara had the pleasure to organise the first International Belly Dance Festival in Belfast and brought over the Egyptian legend Dr. Hassan Khalil.
The academy offers weekly courses for different levels, various kind of workshops throughout the year and organises Bootcamps, Haflas, Events, and a lot more.
Our aim is to bring joy, dance, culture exchange and empowering women through movement, health tips and a healing and fun connection, that grows within a safe environment of sisterhood! We offer more than just dance & workout classes, we offer a new way of reconnecting with our body & mind!
Students are normally women of all ages and every walk of life. Most of them have no previous dance experience when they first join the classes. Generally, our students are women who have different interests when they sign up for a course:
- They may be enthusiastic and passionate about cultivating their self-development through dance. They get the BellyBug and want to BellyDance as much as possible. They become interested in its history and styles and they tend to grow towards a performing student.
- Others are often busy in their day-to-day life yet make time to switch off from their routine to pursue their own interests while des-stressing and creating new friends.
- Some just like to try something new and exciting. They are often pleased with the side effect of regular classes: a happy fit elegant figure!
- They may come just to enjoy themselves and have fun and engaging activities
- And we have those that are not afraid of learning a new skill from scratch and enjoy seeing themselves develop and thrive to learn more about their sacred feminine and about the dance technique as well.
All of our classes and workshops are taught in an easy-to-follow format that teaches you the movements of BellyDance step by step, taking in consideration that each individual is unique in its learning process. Our courses, workshops, master classes and bootcamp have an authentic format which gives you a natural sense of progress in your dance development. It involves warm up (Yoga – Pilates and Stretching inspired exercises), Drills and routines which covers Belly Dance vocabulary/technique, Sacred of this feminine dance form, Conditioning, Relaxation, Cool down and much more …
It motivates you to come back to the academy each week wanting a bit more; it’s what I call, the “BellyBug”. BellyBug is that inner call which makes you want to dive and immerse yourself in learning the art of BellyDance more deeply and allowing the true feminine self come up from within to flourish effortlessly.
Belly Dance brings a sense of self- esteem, health and wellbeing! Few of the main benefits are: emotional and mental health, fitness improvement, and conditioning & strengthening the entire body, support weight loss, coordination, improve memory and concentration, body awareness and gives you a sparkling touch of your feminine self!
Our curriculum is divided in terms, each course offers a set of terms for those wishing to learn and develop their own BellyDance skills.
The path starts with:
*BellyBasics (3 terms)
*BellyEssence (3 terms)
*BellyBeyond (2 terms – Upper beginner)
*BellyFundamentals (4 terms – mixed levels)
*BellyJourney (not divided by term but by student development – improvers)
*BellySecrets (next step)
Enrolment is normally done through this website! You first choose the course that suits your level and you complete the booking.
We will receive a PayPal confirmation with your name and payment. On your first day of class, you are requested to arrive at least 5-10 mins earlier to fill in the sign up form.
Payment is done every term; our term normally last 5 weeks sometimes 6. We have found that having a shorter term allow students to commit even though every course consists in a minimum of 3 terms. You will receive a reminder from your teacher that Early Bird for the following term is up which will give you some time to be prepared to book again. If you rather not continue with BellyDance than once the term is over you can discontinue with classes.
*Drop ins* We normally don’t accept drop ins in our classes; it takes much longer to learn BellyDance if you don’t commit to a full term of practice although we understand that many people do what they can due to other commitments, so we have decided to open for a maximum of 5 people per course that can drop in. Just send us an email!!!!
Email for further info is: email@example.com
PAYPAL through the website
Bank transfer (contact us via email to request our bank details)
Cash (only for current students that wishes to sign up for the next term or when agreed with complete beginners)
Cheque (same as above)
Sara is the senior Belly Dance teacher as well as the director of the Belly Dance Academy Belfast. She has over 10 years experience of teaching and performing Belly dance. Sara had the luck of start belly dancing at a very young age; She can in first contact with this amazing dance form, when she was studying Physical Science at the Uni in her homeland, Brazil. She had been already been recommend by her gynecologist to start belly dancing for womb health, but its was only when she first watched a belly dance showcase that she felt in love with it. Sara was just turning 17 when she attended her first class. Her weekly commitment started with 1hr every weekly, but this immediately changed to 2hrs class twice a week, plus weekend rehearsals. All she could think about was shimmying, turning, isolating her muscles, sewing her costumes and so on.
Her studies started with local Brazilian teachers, that used to teach Lebanese and Egyptian style. She also immersed herself by attending all workshops and events that had guest belly dancers and it was when she dived into the deep learning process with teachers such as Fatima Fontes, Yasmina Nammu, Geeta, and many others. When she moved to Europe, initially to teach she become a full time member of a dance group “Jorayo” and she performed on a weekly basis travelling around Italy, and delivering Belly Dance performances as well as Brazilian – Latin dance performances.
In the meanwhile she had focused herself on perfecting her dance and stage skills, and she started attending various workshops, courses, dance training – Sara studied with well known teachers such as the Egyptian Legend Dr. Hassan Khalil, Serena & Hossam Ramzy, Tamar Bar Gil, Caroline Evanoff, Yasmina of Cairo, David of Scandinavia, and many others. She also studied Tribal fusion with Kasia Jarosz and attended an intensive with Manca Pavli.
Sara is certified in Raqs Flow – Sadie Marquadt Level 1 training and she is also the director and organiser of the first International BellyDance Festival Belfast that took place in February 2016.
By attending Sara’s classes, you receive her direct instructions and feedback. You will be able to learn her new teaching methods. She has been working on her own dance programme called “BellyLove”; In a regular class, you will cover warm up which involves Yoga, Pilates and stretching inspired exercises, as well as Belly dance vocabulary and rhythm studies through technique, Sacred and Sisterhood aspect of belly dancing, relaxation and conditioning few others Sara’s secrets and surprises.
She is a fair believer that in order to help dancers developing a solid, strong, clear, feminine, empowering, flawless and elegant foundation, students need commitment, practice, passion and connection to this unique dance form.
Sara hopes you will have lo ts of fun in class!
(*During maternity leave – Natalie will be replacing Sara’s beginners class)
Our Academy delivers 5 weekly BellyDance Classes every week
2016 ACADEMY TERM DATES
Term 1 – Winter (Starts in January)
Term 2 – Spring (Starts in April)
Term 3 – Summer (Starts in July)
Term 4 – Autumn (starts in September)
2016 CURRENT TERM: TERM 4 TIMETABLE
7.30pm-8.30pm – BellyBasics (Level 0 & 1) with Natalie
8.30pm-9.30pm – BellyEssentials (Level 2) with Natalie
6.15pm-7.15pm – BellyJourneys with Sara (mininum of 1yr of B. Dance)
7.15pm- 8.15pm – Shakti Tribe class (closed class)
6.15-7.15pm – BellyDance Beginners
TERM: 5 weeks | CLASS DURATION: 1 hour | CLASS CHANGEOVER: 15 minutes
CATCH-UP CLASSES: If you miss your regular class, you will unfortunately have missed that week. If another beginner course has space for someone to replace the missed class, then you may attend the the compatible class before the last day of enrolled term – YOU NEED FIRST TO CONTACT US TO CHECK AVAILABILITY BEFORE TURNING UP AND RISKING TO NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND CLASS.
LEVEL PROGRESSION: 0-1 Complete Beginners & Beginners (BellyBasics) | 2 Elementary (BellyEssence) | 3 Upper Beginners (BellyFundamentals) | 4 Improvers (BellyJourneys) | 5 Intermediate (BellySecrets)