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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Shira's Belly Dancing Classes

in Iowa City, IA

 

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Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

Table of Contents

Questions? Contact Shira via SMS text or voice to (319) 331-2572 or via email.

Shira

 

Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

Welcome to Belly Dance by Shira!

My name is Shira, and I've been belly dancing for over 30 years. I love to teach, and I hope you'll give my classes a try. As a teacher, I believe that dance should be fun and I design my classes accordingly.

My Background

I began belly dancing in 1981, and I took weekly classes for 16 years before starting to teach. I've traveled to Egypt 9 times and to Turkey 3 times to experience the dance in the countries that it comes from. I have also studied other dance styles, and I regularly attend workshops for continuing education. See my online biography for more details.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Here are some questions students often ask me:

What style of belly dancing do you teach?

My classes are based on traditional belly dancing as seen in the Middle East, particularly Egypt and Turkey. I encourage my students to build their own personal style as they grow in the dance.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Shira

 

Do I have to perform?

Only if you want to. Some of my students want to perform, while others don't. I create performance opportunities for those who want to do it, and I encourage the rest to come watch and applaud for your classmates.

Do I have to bare my belly?

Only if you want to! Most people wear snug tank tops or T-shirts to class that cover the midriff. It's okay to wear a crop top or sports bra that bares your belly if you want to, but most people choose not to. See What to Wear to Class below for more details on suggested class attire.

When we perform as a group, we usually wear dresses that cover the midriff such as the one shown in the photo to the right, though soloists may wear midriff-baring costumes if they wish.

I'm old and need to lose weight. Can I still belly dance?

Yes, students of all ages and sizes are welcome in my class. I have seen women of all ages and sizes dancing for joy at weddings I have attended in Egypt.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Stephanie Hough Lockard, Houston, Texas.

Shira

 

Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

Which Class Should You Take?

All classes consist of traditional dancing from the Middle East. Some students take only one of these classes, while others take BOTH "Belly Dance for Exercise" AND one of the other classes.

  • Belly Dance for Exercise is intended for students who:
    • Are seeking a class format structured as a "workout" with warmup, core conditioning, strength training, and light cardio, all through traditional dance moves
    • Want a class with continuous dance movement that will promote calorie burning
    • Want a class that is NOT geared to performing skills
    • Are also taking either Belly Dance Level 1 or Level 2 and would like to augment that with a second class for practice and drills
    • Would like to learn about Middle Eastern dance styles and props that are not taught in Level 1/2/3 classes.
  • Belly Dance Level 1 is designed for students who:
    • Think it would be fun to perform someday
    • Want to learn a choreography that they can show friends and families
    • Are seeking "dance instruction" rather than "exercise"
  • Belly Dance Level 2 ("Experienced Beginners") is designed for students who:
    • Have had a minimum of 6 months of training in Level 1
    • Want to refine and polish their dance technique
    • Want to learn performing skills and want performance opportunities
    • Want to learn choreographed routines they can perform as a group
    • Are ready to learn at an accelerated pace
  • Belly Dance Level 3 ("Intermediates") is designed for students who:
    • Have been belly dancing for at least 3 years
    • Want to refine and polish their dance technique
    • Want to learn more complex choreographed routines
    • Are ready to explore performing as soloist

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Pixie Vision Productions, Glendale, California.

Shira

 

Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

Fall 2014

Shira offers classes in Iowa City on Sunday afternoons and Thursday nights.

See the Supplies page for details on what you'll need for class.

Do you have questions? You're welcome to contact Shira via SMS text or voice to (319) 331-2572 or via email.

 

Thursday Evenings

Sunday Afternoons

When

6 weeks, September 25 through November 6, 2014. (No class October 30.)

  • Belly Dance Level 2 at 6:00 - 6:55 p.m.
  • Belly Dance for Exercise at 7:00 - 7:55 p.m.
  • Belly Dance Level 1 at 8:00 - 8:55 p.m.

6 weeks, September 14 through November 2, 2014 (No class on September 28 or October 26):

  • Belly Dance Level 1 at 1:00 - 1:55 p.m.
  • Belly Dance for Exercise at 2:00 - 2:55 p.m.
  • Belly Dance Level 2 & 3 (combined class) at 3:00 - 3:55 p.m.

Where

Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center
220 S. Gilbert Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

Downtown, at the corner of Gilbert Street and Burlington Street.

Contact Shira either via email or via calling (319) 331-2572 for the location.

Price

For Iowa City residents:

  • Choose either class for $60 for the session
  • Enroll in two for $120

For those who reside outside Iowa City:

  • Choose either class for $65 for the session
  • Enroll in two for $130

Choose one class for $60 for the 6-week session, or take two classes for $105.

How to Register

The Thursday night classes are offered through the City of Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department. All registrations & payments are handled through this program.

Contact Shira if you would like to receive an email reminder when registration is open.

Contact Shira either via email or via calling (319) 331-2572 to register.

 

Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

Tips for New Students

  • If you miss one of the classes, you may attend one of my other classes as a make-up.
  • It helps to practice! I used to practice at least 3 times each week between classes when I was a student.
  • Give yourself permission to be a beginner. Don't expect to do every move perfectly the first time you see it.
  • Remember, it's supposed to be fun!

 

Explore belly dancing! Learn all about bellydance!

What to Wear to Class

It's easier to learn a dance form if you practice in clothes that fit the movements because it makes it easier to feel it when you're doing it right and it makes it look better in the mirror! So here are some recommendations to help you get the most out of class:

  • Snug-fitting tank top, T-shirt, sports bra, or crop top with hip-height leggings or yoga pants and an inexpensive shawl or scarf tied around the hips.
  • Unitard with an inexpensive shawl or scarf tied around the hips.
  • Leotard with either tights or yoga pants and an inexpensive shawl or scarf tied around the hips.
  • Belly dance practice costume. There are many variations on this theme, but a simple version would be a crop top or halter top, skirt or pantaloons worn at the hip line, and shawl or scarf tied around the hips. Click here to see a design for a sample belly dance practice costume.

In the photo to the right, I'm wearing a leotard, hip scarf, and pants. The leotard and pants are fancier than what I normally wear to class, but they give you the general idea.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by William Maclean Smith, Iowa City, Iowa.

Classroom Attire

Cultural Tip: In Egypt (and many other countries), "Oriental Dance" (the correct name for this dance form) is a social dance that people do for the fun of it at family celebrations such as weddings. At these occasions, people don't wear special costumes— they just wear their party clothes. However, when a woman gets up to dance, she grabs a long, rectangular scarf and ties it at her hips. She keeps it on the whole time she's dancing. So, tying a scarf or shawl around your hips will help you discover what the dance is supposed to feel like!

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Pixie Vision Productions, Glendale, California.

Shira

Recommended footwear includes socks, ballet slippers, Aruba's Oasis sandals (shown in the photo to the right), Hermes sandals, Scottish ghillies, or lyrical shoes. Shira usually just wears socks to class.

Avoid sneakers or other shoes with non-skid surfaces because they grip the floor too much and can torque the knees.

Bare feet are acceptable, but not recommended because some moves taught in class involve pivoting which can cause painful blisters or torque the knee if done barefoot.

Shoes worn outdoors are not allowed in the dance studio.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Pixie Vision Productions, Glendale, California.

Aruba Sandals


 

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