The best way to learn belly dancing is in a class with a teacher, as she will be able to give you feedback. However, you may want to complement your teacher’s instructions with some extra input from various resources. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, it is also possible to find a lot of online resources and information to add to the training you receive while attending a class. Below I list some suggestions to find resources and instructions online to start learning from home.
One technology which is fast changing and can really benefit you as a dancer is online video. There are some great resources online these days for learning various aspects of belly dance, including on Youtube and other online videos sites. Youtube has many videos with short online belly dance demonstrations and tutorials. In addition to online instructions, you can also find plenty of performances on Yoututbe which can give you a lot of ideas and inspiration for new moves, styles or choreographies. Online video services are a great resource for using to learn from and by watching Youtube on a Smart TV or connecting a laptop up to your large screen television, it can almost be like having your own belly dance teacher in your own living room. I would also recommend to have a large full size mirror in the same room so that you can view yourself as you try to practice and isolate certain moves which you are copying from the videos. This can be a great free way to learn belly dance.
Example of a great lesson you can get online and view and learn from for free (even with the traffic noises in the background).
Videos are not the only online resource for belly dancers. The internet is an amazing resource for you to learn this form of dance from and there are numerous options for finding good quality resources online. Amazon.co.uk and amazon.com seem to be dominating the marketplace and for finding belly dance products the situation is no different. For DVDs I have actually found that many of the best ones are only for sale on the American site and thus it is possible to buy from amazon.com and to get them delivered to the UK. Delivery can take 4-6 weeks but it does mean that you can find some very good instructional DVDs not available from the UK. Ebay is also an option but I have found the options fairly limited and have tended to find the best CD, DVDs and books to be on Amazon, including through the re-sellers who choose to sell through Amazon.
There are a lot of belly dance websites online but most quite understandably are shop fronts as it were, to promote individual dancers or dance groups or specific events. There are few sites online offering information to try and be an information portal. Perhaps this website as I gradually add what I hope is quality content, will help to fill this void and provide an independent and useful resource for dancers. I have started to write longer and what I hope are more informative posts, a good example the post on visiting Egypt as a dancer. If there is a subject to do with belly dance which you would like to read more about and which you feel is not covered anywhere online and which would be of genuine interest to others with this same passion, please just email me and I will write about it.
it is now possible to take lessons online with a qualified or high level teacher. We all tend to have a camera on our laptop these days and tablets such as an iPad or Galaxy tab now have front facing cameras. Set up your tablet on a stand and attach with speakers and microphone and you can dance and get tuition in real time. A good choice is to use the same ideas I mentioned in the videos section whereby linking your computer or tablet up to a large television and having a full body sized mirror, so that you can watch the online teacher but also as needed, view yourself and how you look when trying to isolate certain moves such as hip shimmies. I have personally found that by using a mirror to observe myself as a I dance, that it had a definite impact and really helped me to see where I was going wrong and what I was doing right. The impact of using a mirror can be quite surprising, in a very positive way. In the UK, you can buy a 168cm x 76cm mirror for under £100. from a company such as the mirroroutlet.co.uk.
There are three sites in particular that at the moment I can recommend if you want to learn belly dance online. They are:
– Rachel Brice’s site Datura online. This site is specifically for those interested in tribal dance and Rachel is a very well known and respected American tribal dancer and teacher, who also danced with the Bellydance Superstars for a few years. She studied with Carolina Nericcio, the founder of American Tribal Style.
– Suhaila Salimpour also has a website with online classes. Her site offers a good variety of dance tuitions, very professional and run by different teachers, including Suhaila herself, to broaden the range of skills and styles that can be learnt. Suhaila’s site is for those interested to learn general American cabaret style. Suhaila Salimpour is a dancer famous worldwide, based in California, USA, and daughter of Jamila Salimpour, an important figure in the history of American belly dance. Check Suhaila’s site here.
– If you prefer to learn from a wide variety of different teachers around the world, Powhow may be the site for you. Whereas Rachel Brice’s and Suhaila’s classes are usually pre-recorded, in Powhow you can find live classes in many types of disciplines, including belly dance.
If you need any help building your own site so that you can promote your own classes just email me and I can put you in touch with the web designer I use (my husband). He can help you to put up a basic site and which you can easily update using WordPress. You can if you wish build your own site and I would recommend to start by going to themeforest.net where you can buy a pre-made template and which you can get a site live in a weekend if you have some basic I.T. experience. There are some plugins you can quite easily use these days to start your own forum for dancers and this can be a good way to connect with other dancers. Another option is to join one of the big sites such as internations.org and build connections with other belly dancers worldwide. This is perhaps a creative way to get to know other dancers but it can be a wonderful way in this post-modern world to connect with others worldwide who share a passion for Arabic and oriental forms of dance.
If you want to build an online community, also it is worth mentioning social media such as Facebook. More and more dancers nowadays use Facebook to create groups, pages and events to connect and exchange ideas with each other across the globe but also with the local community of dancers. I find it a useful tool for keeping in touch and you can also create a special belly dance profile, different from your personal one. Another social media that is gaining popularity is Google Plus, while Linkedin is also popular but more for business related issues (for example you could promote yourself as a freelancer there or your dance related business). All the time new social media site are launched and trends change constantly. The ones I have mentioned seem to be the most popular at the time of writing, but it is worth keeping an eye out for new trends.