Student FAQs

Hipscarf

These FAQs refer to Desna's regular weekly classes, which are not running at the moment. The information below may therefore be out of date.

Hipscarf

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Do I have to show my belly?
There is no need to reveal your belly, unless you want to!

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What should I wear to class?
The main thing in class is that you feel comfortable and that Desna can see the movements you are making, so t-shirt and leggings / tracksuit bottoms are ideal (but not too long, please leave your feet visible!). Some people like to bring a hipscarf to tie around their hips, but there's no need to splash out if you don't feel you want one. If you want to tie something round your hips, a lightweight scarf (such as chiffon) will do. With temperature in mind, it's also worth bringing a couple of layers that you can remove as you warm up, or put back on as you cool down! For the classes held at Ludus bare feet are preferred, but the hall at the Gregson Centre currently hasn't got an ideal floor surface, so Please bring some flat, soft-soled shoes to dance in - ballet slippers are ideal

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I have to travel a way to get to the class - does it matter if I'm a few minutes late?
Each class begins with a thorough warm-up, which raises the pulse and body temperature and mobilises the joints to prepare the body for dancing. This is a crucial part of the class, and missing this could increase your chance of injury. I therefore require everyone coming to class to be present for the warm-up! Desna is present at the venue at least 10 minutes before the beginning of a class to collect payment, answer questions, etc, so don't worry about arriving a few minutes early!

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Can my friend come and watch the class?
Sorry, but no. Many people coming to bellydance classes feel quite self conscious already because they don't know everyone in the group, without the added pressure of having other people watching them! If your friend wants to watch to see whether they would like to try bellydance, perhaps they could join the class for just one session - that will give them a much better idea!

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How old do I have to be to come to classes?
Currently Desna's classes are geared towards adult students, and are open to people over 14 (and students under 16 need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian). Young people and adults tend to learn in different ways, and at different speeds - if you are a young person under 14, or a parent / guardian to a young person under 14, please consider bringing Desna to your school or youth group to run classes or workshops. You can find out more about what Desna offers to schools, youth and community groups on the workshops page.

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Do you give feedback?
Yes, Desna gives feedback in class - both individually and to the group. She assumes that if you're attending a class, you want to learn, and you can't learn without feedback of some kind! And one thing Desna must do is let you know if you're using unsafe technique or are in danger of injuring yourself. However, if you don't want to hear what Desna thinks you can improve, feel free to let her know (although you will have to hear the safety stuff).

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I want to practice at home...what music do you recommend?
This is a list of CDs that Desna either uses in class or recommends to beginners.

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How do you keep students up to date?
If, for instance, Desna have to cancel a class due to illness or family emergency, she will ensure that she emails students to inform them. Those students that don't have email, she will ring. Otherwise, this website is kept up to date with class dates and times. Please keep an eye on the home page, as this is where announcements about changes to the schedule will be posted. When Desna know about events in advance she will make an announcement at the beginning of class. Outside of term-time Desna keeps in touch with students via email.

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Do you teach private lessons?
Yes, Desna offers private lessons. Please take a look at the private tuition page. The main points to note are that Desna doesn't recommend private tuition for beginner students, and she highly recommends you bring pen and paper with you to private lessons so you can record what has been covered and get the most out of the session!

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How do I find out more about the different styles of bellydance?
The best way is to watch performances by as many different bellydancers as possible, whether in real life or on DVD/video. Lauren Haas of the USA has put together an excellent series of articles, with accompanying video clips of different styles of bellydance and related folkloric dances - take a look!

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I've been bitten by the bellydance bug - what can I do to learn more and progress quicker?
The key to progressing quickly with bellydance is to practice at home between classes. Try and get hold of some the recommended music and practice what we have learned in class. It's also really important to start going to other teachers. They will have different perspectives and teaching techniques to Desna, and this will help you to get a thorough grounding in bellydance and begin to develop your own style. An excellent way to sample the teaching of many UK and international teachers is to attend large scale bellydance events in the UK such as Jewel of Yorkshire and Fantasia. Information about workshops, haflas and teachers in the UK can mostly be found on facebook. There are numerous groups devoted to bellydance in the UK.

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Are there any bellydance groups or networks I can join?
Yes, there are several! Northern Arabic Dance Association (NADA) are a membership organisation covering the North of England and Scotland - they organise workshops, lists teachers in different areas and publish a magazine devoted to bellydance. Another membership organisation is MOSAIC, which has more of a national reach, and also publishes a magazine devoted to bellydance.

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What online resources do you recommend?
There is loads of information available on the internet - some reliable, some not. The websites listed on the links page are valuable sources of information, but they are listed because they might be helpful, not because they are the final arbiters of 'facts' about bellydance.

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More resources:

Music: A list of the music Desna uses in classes / recommends for beginners

Reading: A list of the books that Desna recommends for students

Articles: Articles that Desna has written either for students or for other publications

Links: Links to other websites that can give great in-depth information about bellydance