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General Belly Dance Questions

How do I find a qualified belly dance teacher?

Belly Dancer Dahlia

Dahlia

Check Shira’s informative web site (www.shira.net) for extensive details on where to look for instructors. Keep in mind that belly dance is still so new to the United States that no formal standards have been set to qualify teachers. Therefore, there are all degrees of belly dance expertise out there ranging from inept to expert. Each teacher has her own unique personality, approach to the dance, and style. Don’t be afraid to ask potential instructors about their belly dance experience, methods, etc. You may have to try different belly dance classes until you find the teacher you like best. And if you’re really interested in exploring the wide range of belly dance styles and benefits, you may want to study with a number of instructors.

Of course my videos are an excellent way to learn how to belly dance.

Is the belly dance degrading to women?

In my opinion, I do not feel that the belly dance is degrading (it's just the opposite - belly dance is healthy and life affirming). In ancient matriarical and *partnership cultures (where men and women are equals), women - the belly dance was highly respected (they worshipped the Goddess, after all!). In more recent cultures, with their patriarical views, women and belly dancing have often been trivialized and exploited. Now that attitudes towards women are changing again, it’s easier for belly dancers to receive respect. It really depends on the individual belly dancer and how she presents herself.

*For more information on ancient and modern partnership cultures, I highly recommend reading "The Chalice and the Blade" by Riane Eisler.

Can men belly dance?

Yes. Although belly dance is often considered a feminine art form (because of it's flowing, circular lines and emphasis on the belly/childbirth aspects), there are masculine styles of the belly dance and costuming for men. There are a number of excellent male belly dancers that teach and perform these styles.

Return to the frequently asked questions about the belly dance.

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