How we choose the movements for classes, is an often asked question.

Outside of our beginner course, Jessica and I give very serious consideration to which movements to teach in each level. Our beginner’s course is set out in 10 weeks and every year we relook at the movements we teach in that the course. These are base movements, Jessica and I feel are fundamental to ensure you avoid injury.

We choose the choreographies for our social class very carefully. The Elementary course is broken into 14 weeks sections, we have designed this level for those ladies who don’t want to be professional dancers. Who just want to dance!

Here we work the movements according to the choreography the class is learning. We use choreographies that are moderately challenging so that the ladies always feel like they have accomplished something once they have mastered a dance.

When we look at the various factors for choosing the movements, one of our first considerations for an existing class is:

Who is in that class?

Next, we relook at why that person is dancing with us:

What are their goals?

Jessica and I no longer automatically move a dancer from our social classes into our level classes. If a dancer would like to continue onto level classes, we have a very frank chat with them. We like to know the why and their goals. This helps us when we look at the movements we plan to teach, with the choreographies we create and teach. Because very often, it’s with a dancer in mind.

This, of course, means a little more prep work than if we had a standardized syllabus. We believe that by doing it this way, we are then helping our dancers, be the best dancers they can be!

When we look at the level classes, we have intermediate and we have advance classes. We do our very best to stay on top of trends and new developments within the genre “belly dance”.

There is so much that falls under this umbrella and we are very conscious that most of the dance is not our own heritage or our own culture. In the intermediate and advance level classes, we introduce you to the props! We start talking and teaching about the very different kinds of music, the different regions.

Jessica and I do our best to introduce a sense of respect for the cultures that these dances originate in.

  • We teach the basic rhythms found in “Oriental music” (OK, Jessica teaches this! I am somewhat tone deaf and really struggle with hearing the music).
  • We teach the basic foot patterns for the more traditional dance’s, we talk about how the dance has evolved over time.
  • If we can get it, we showcase a traditional video of what we are doing.

We obviously don’t always get it 100% right, but we strive to make class environments fun, a little challenging and a great dance workout.

Melanie Wallis

Melanie started dancing and performing for Janka’s Oriental Dance Studio in 2006.  Under the mentorship of Janka Kliment, Melanie began her training to become an Oriental Dance teacher in 2008 and completed it under Asja Samia in 2011.  Melanie is also a certified health and fitness instructor.   Following Janka’s return to Slovakia in 2013, Melanie and Jessica chose to carry forward the vision of their friend and mentor.  They purchased the studio and continue to teach the art and beauty of the dance to all aspiring belly dancers.