Teressa-Belly Dance Artist in Toronto

Blog

So What Really Happens in a Beginner Bellydance Class?

It’s that time of year again! A new session of bellydance classes is fast approaching and this September, I have 3 Beginner classes running! Now I know that when you’re first starting out a new class, it can be intimidating and perhaps you’re like me and want to know as much as you can about the class before you even set foot in the dance studio. With that in mind, here’s some info on what my Beginner Bellydance classes are all about:

First off, if you’ve never danced before (ever), don’t be afraid as this is the class for you! I start from the very beginning with lots of explanation and breakdown of movements. I’ve been in my share of “Beginner” dance classes that were actually more like classes for “Intermediate Dancers Who Danced as a Child” with very little explanation and breakdown of what I was doing. Thankfully, these have never been in a bellydance class, but happens quite a bit in other dance styles. So it doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 30, 40, 50, or even 60 and you’ve never been in a dance class before; we’ll get through it and have tons of fun while at it! Bellydance is one of those great dance forms that everyone can do!

At the Beginner level, we always start with a cardio dance-based warm-up. Usually, this consists of big movements to get your muscles working. I’ll also start to include some bellydance movements in our warm-ups, such as big hip circles and hip accents, as well as footwork, that we continue to use throughout the class.

After warming up, we do conditioning for our bodies doing various exercise to strengthen our dancing. For example, we may do a series squats and pliés to firm up our leg muscles so that they’re prepared to do sharp shimmies and hip accents, or work on our abdominals with crunches and other related exercises so that we can create beautiful ooey-gooey movements with our bellies!

After our warm-up and conditioning, we learn a few new movements (usually 3 or 4), with a through explanation and breakdown. We then put our new dance technique together in a short combo/choreography at the end of class. This way, you can start learning how the movements fit with the music and start bellydancing right away! This session, we’ll be learning a short bellydance routine so that by the end of the 7-week session, you’ll have a fun 4 minute dance to practice with (and show off to all your friends if you’re feeling brave)!

Come on out and try some bellydance! Classes are starting next week:

Sundays, 11:00 – 12:00 pm                           Starts Sept. 12th

Mondays, 6:30 – 7:30 pm                              Starts Sept. 13th

Thursdays, 7:30 – 8:30 pm                           Starts Sept. 16th

Visit our Classes page for more details on locations and prices!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Why I love Bollywood! (And Why You Should Come out to my Bollywood Classes!)

I’m so excited to be teaching my 2nd full session of Bollywood dance classes here in Scarborough this September. I tried out my first session of Bollywood classes this past July and it was so much fun because of all the unique and funky choreographies I was able to create. Although Bollywood has much in common with Bellydance, such as big hip articulations, and some hand and arm movements, it’s also completely different in the way the entire body interprets the music and moves. Modern Bollywood dance styles are heavily based in western jazz and even hip-hop styles. It’s an upbeat, exciting dance form with lots of high energy movements, jumps, kicks, and crazy fusions!

That’s the thing I love about Bollywood: You can be so creative with it and make it whatever you want it to be. Some songs have a strong Latin flavour, some stay within a traditional classical Indian musical framework, while others have lots of hip-hop elements, and of course, you’ll even find songs with a slight bellydance leaning. Bollywood is truly a fusion dance style and choreographing a Bollywood routine is so much fun because you can throw in so many different elements from various dance genres based on the song you choose!

In my upcoming classes, we’re going to be working on learning a choreography of a medley of some of my favourite Bollywood songs including Jai Ho, Nach Baliye, and Mauja Hi Mauja. There’s going to be lots of fusion in this one with a bit of Latin, lots of jazz, a hint of hip-hop, and because I’m a bellydancer, we’re going to throw some of that in as well. I’ve been taking lots of jazz and hip-hop classes recently, so you’re sure to find some new combos that blend the genres together. Come on out to class and join the fun! Remember, no experience is necessary!

We’ll be dancing Sundays, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, starting on Sunday, September 12th, at Dance Fusion Studios. Check out our Classes page for all the info and details.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Summer Festivals in Scarborough

On Saturday August 7th, 4 of my students and I had the opportunity to perform at 2 community events here in Scarborough; the first at the Taste of the Woods Festival at the Warden Woods Community Centre and the second at the Scarborough Village Summer Festival. It was a great chance for us to learn new choreographies and revise some of our old favourites.

The first show at Warden Woods was a great start to the day; we arrived at the centre just before noon and found our stage to be the grass in front of the centre (luckily, I had thought this through beforehand and made sure that we all wore shoes), so we were all set for our natural setting. The only challenge was that our grassy stage was on a slight slope, which made dancing a bit more challenging as we had to make sure we didn’t fall backwards down the slope as we shimmied and undulated! However, we all had a fantastic time performing and the audience seemed to really enjoy it as well (I also heard that there were a few in the audience who even knew the words to some of the songs we were dancing to!). I performed a bellydance entrance piece fighting with my veil against the wind, while my students Camille, Elizabeth, Miriam, and Susanne performed a pop song and a drum solo. We also did a little audience participation and found some natural bellydancers in our audience!

For the second show at the Scarborough Village Summer Festival, we did a similar show to the first, but the girls also had to perform a short veil choreography to the classic song, Tamra Henna, while I also added an upbeat modern Egyptian song to the repertoire. Now I should know better than to try to manoeuvre veils outside with the winds blowing and I should really know better than to force my students to do the same…but yet, there we were, with our veils battling the fierce winds on stage. Audiences love props and I love happy audiences, which meant that veils would just have to be a part of this show!

I performed first and my veil developed its own challenging personality that I couldn’t control, then the girls took to stage as I worried that perhaps I should have really rethought the whole veil situation. However, they were all lovely (although I’m not sure how they felt) and the veils looked totally in control! Afterwards, they said that my veil didn’t look like it was out of control either, but we were all just thankful that it looked much better than it felt. The rest of the show was great as we danced and got the audience involved once again, teaching them how to do hip circles and shimmies.

At last, after our 2 shows, we were finished! We took lots of photos, which can be found here.

We also made it into the Scarborough Mirror! Here’s a photo of Miriam and Susanne performing:

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

How to be a Good Belly Dance Student

So you’ve discovered the beautiful dance form that is Bellydance…and now, you can’t wait to learn more, perform more and become an amazing dancer! This is fantastic!Now, all you have to do is be a good student, right? But how?

Belly dance takes lots of time, energy, practice, and most of all, commitment. Belly dance is a dance form like any other and thus, takes years of dedication to perfect. Througout my years as a bellydance student and now as an instructor, I’ve gained some knowledge on what it takes to really become a good bellydance student. Here are 5 great tips that are sure to help you on your way to belly dance success:

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Welcome to the Belly Blog!

Hello,

Welcome to our Belly Blog! I’m so excited that I finally got around to starting this as I’ve been meaning to for at least the past year. This is going to be one of the most happening spots on the website! My goal is that the blog will give you a glimpse into our little bellydance community here in Scarborough, from classes/workshops I’m teaching, performances we’re doing throughout the city, bellydance resources and tips, and even learning a bit about my amazing students! I hope you’ll find it informative and a fun read! So jump in, take a look around and see what we’re all about!

Also, if you have a bellydance question for me, please feel free to send me an e-mail at teressabellydance@gmail.com and maybe it’ll even get featured in one of our Q & A blog posts. Don’t be shy, ask away! Anything from technique, performance stuff, history and culture, costuming, or anything else that you think might relate.

Teressa

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off