That’s really neat! I took an “African Dance & Diaspora” dance history class in college (my university allowed you to major in African Dance) and it was really neat learning about traditional West African dances (from a dancer who was born and raised in Sierra Leone) and seeing how slaves brought their culture with them wherever they went. From praise houses being built on a small empty floor to serve as a drum for their feet to the way young men courted young women. It was fascinating.
That. Is. Awesome.
I wish you all the luck in the world!
What’s “circle of death”?
And that’s awesome! What sort of dance do you do? What do you hope to do with it as a career?
Yay! And no, you can be totally covered. You just don’t want something that’s super baggy around the knees. I’m not sure how much you cover, but you shouldn’t have to worry about it too much. And yes, Muslim ballet dancers exist! Talk to your instructor on the first day (or e-mail them about it before the class starts) to make sure they understand, and feel free to go above their head if you’re given trouble about it.
There is no such thing as “too fat” for a dance class. I’ve taken classes with people of a variety of weights, heights, ages, etc. 50-year-old women, 12-year-old boys, girls with ligament issues, and more! Your weight may make things like leaps more difficult, but it won’t stop you from having fun. Also, as a class at college, if you totally hate it, you can drop it in the first few days (or a couple weeks, depending on your school) without any repercussions.
As for tips, the biggest thing is to enjoy yourself. Wear something that doesn’t conceal your knees, as your teacher needs to make sure you’re not twisting them, which could lead to serious injury. Bring a water bottle. Make sure your hair is out of your way, and as the class progresses to turns, you’ll want to make sure a ponytail won’t whip you in the face. Trust me, it hurts.
And no, beginner classes won’t end with pointe shoes. Many of my classmates had never even seen pointe shoes in person before my teacher brought hers in at the end of a semester to perform a bit for us. Most teachers require a few years of ballet experience before even considering putting you in demi-pointe/pointe classes, though it’s different for everyone.
I really hope you consider taking a dance class! They’ve always been a joy for me!
Eat a banana (or something else with potassium) before class to help with muscle cramps. Drink a lot of water. Don’t feel bad if you only start out doing a little barre work en pointe at first. Have Icy Hot or Tiger Balm or something like that ready for the aches and pains the next day.
But congratulations! You’ll have a blast (especially once the blisters and calluses help with the pain)!
Here’s a quick series to help pointe hopefuls gain the necessary strength in their ankles and calves.
Suhaila Belly Dance Fitness Fusion Jazz DVD
length:34 minute workout
Skill level: Beginner (I’d say advanced beginner-intermediate)
workout level: 5/10 (drills had my legs burning)
sweaty-ness level: 2/10
Dance Skills: 10/10 (highly recommend!)
special features: yes, 3 performances from the company and Suhaila
would I buy again? YES
thoughts: Although sometimes I get frustrated with Suhaila on this DVD, it’s only because she looks so damn happy the whole time, and me, I’m like:
yah, lets just say I’m not as cute.
But nonetheless, this DVD is great for Bellydancers! Especially for those who have been taking bellydance classes for some time and want to expand your dance vocabulary to include some classical western dance.
on the other hand it would also be a good choice for a ballet/modern/jazz dancer who wants to check out bellydance, because the language of the DVD will be familiar.
This is a fitness DVD, but not too strenuous of a workout. I did sweat for the last 10 minutes of the workout, but not before that. Although this DVD says it is for beginners, I feel the level of technique would be frustrating for most true beginners. Therefore I would recommend it to all bellydancers who have a bit of training under the hip scarf ;)