If you’ve ever eaten at a Mediterranean restaurant, chances are you’ve seen a belly dancer there. Or if you’ve ever heard the powerful and transcendent beats of Middle Eastern music, you probably imagined a bellydancer in a coin belt. Whether or not you’ve seen or know what a belly dancer looks like, you might be surprised to know that this dance is everywhere! A vast amount of videos of belly dancers are available on Youtube, dances can be seen at local festivals in and outside the city, workshops and Hafla’s (which in Arabic means a “get together”) can be found in different venues many times a year! The fluidity and beauty of this exotic Middle Eastern dance is so captivating and intriguing, that for some women (and men) their fascination can lead to considering taking a class. I know I was so captivated by the dancers I saw at a parade years ago, I immediately searched for the nearest classes available when I got home that day! Although it took me a lot of courage to enroll into the class, I can honestly say now that it was the best thing I ever did. I currently dance in a troupe, teach a beginner class, and attend advanced classes to further expand my knowledge in this wonderful dance.
Because people know I belly dance through Facebook and other Social Media sites, they often ask me where they could get started themselves. I’m always flattered and very pleased when I get someone interested in the dance; I tell them I teach a beginner class and explain what the class consists of. I also always refer different instructors and belly dance events available in the Houston area as well, I realize that I help someone out even as a referral. But then I started to think about those without even the slightest bit of knowledge of belly dance, where even the simple referral and class explanation would have helped them. For those people captivated and intrigued by this dance and anxious to start learning, it can be quite intimidating not knowing where to start and might lead them to ask themselves “too shimmy or not too shimmy?”
When I first decided I wanted to take classes, I found myself in this situation because I didn’t know where to take the class, who to take a class from, and what the beginner class would actually consist of. As someone who experienced this first hand, I would like to introduce belly dance in a different manner, by including an introductory class online on a website. I propose creating a website that provides instructions on belly dance through images and videos to give people a sample of what a beginner class would be like. I envision the website being titled TooShimmy! And it consisting of the following pages: Main Page, About Me, Posture, Basic Moves, Combination, and The Houston Scene. The Main Page will include an introduction of the website and the mission behind the creation of my website. The About Me page will include background information on me as far as where I’ve been dancing who or which troupes I’ve danced with etc. The Posture page will include instructions on proper posture and positioning of the body. The following page will include instructions on 5 basic movements: shimmy, hip lift, figure 8, snake arms and the camel. The Combination page will include instructions on how to put these moves together into a short choreography. And lastly, The Houston Scene page will include information on other belly dance events, Halfa’s and Workshops in the area. While I will be promoting myself, I intend to promote my second home and family, the belly dance community. On each page I will include a disclaimer that states the following “Please consult a physician before attempting these moves” to protect myself as the instructor. Creating this website would further launch my name in the Houston belly dance community as an instructor and performer.
One might argue that there are several books available and many online instructional videos on Youtube, however they all lack the connection that you seek to have with an instructor. There is a special relationship that you build with your class instructor and while it may be difficult task to accomplish, the same relationship and bond hat I have developed with my teachers is what I hope to achieve through my website with the students. Also, the new student will have the option of continuing their classes with me which is something the Youtube videos don’t offer. I have a passion for this dance and truly enjoy sharing my knowledge to others. Belly dance creates a special connection with your body, allows you to express yourself, and allows one to express their femininity and sensuality. Most importantly, Belly dance is for any person, age, shape or size, and for any level of dancing experience. I currently teach a beginner belly dance class and therefore have experience with instruction. I intend to share my passion and love for belly dance by sharing my knowledge to those interested in the dance. And for those who were unsure of what a beginner belly dance class would be and contemplated taking a class, by viewing my website and following my videos, they will already know that the answer to the question is Too Shimmy!