Joharah of BellyUp has trained thousands of beginner to professional dance students over BellyUp’s 10 years as a leading specialty Egyptian dance studio. She has brought BellyUp’s dance ensemble “Ala Nar” to first place victory for two consecutive years at the Star Bellydancer of Canada Competition. BellyUp’s teaching approach is known for breaking down moves in a clear accessible way so that even the most daunting of moves can be understood. There is considerable emphasis in every class with how each movement and step corresponds with the music and the rhythms inside the music. Students looking for a high standard of technique, correction and feedback to boost their progress can expect lots of that in her classes. BellyUp students possess a broad vocabulary of movement and new students can expect challenge and plenty of exciting growth, development and even performance opportunities. But above and beyond technique, this dance form is nothing without the feeling, the expression, the nuance and the attitude. Students are encouraged to express, let go, have fun, find their unique voice within their dance.
Technique & Movement
BellyUp offers progressive curriculum in the Egyptian Bellydance style from Oriental to Folklore. We teach literally 100’s of movements and variations as part of our curriculum which is truly the heart and soul of BellyUp's overall training program. Our Technique Classes are known for their no-nonsense and well-organized approach to training dancers from total beginner to professional and competition level. Every class involves a vigorous dancer-specific warm-up and review of movements from the previous class to refresh muscle memory. The class then learns new moves, steps and concepts with emphasis on connectivity and musicality so that dancers move beyond the realm of just drilling with a sense of flow in relation to the music. Partial to full choreographies are also taught in some of the classes each session. Posture, body awareness, and breathwork is continually emphasized as students spend time working across the floor to develop precision with both turns, travelling steps and their transitions. Our classes teach Oriental dance as an art form but also for those who just want to have fun, get fit, and feel feminine! Students can expect to tone and sculpt, strengthen their core and get a great workout in addition to learning a great deal about the history and culture behind the dance. Classwear is typically leggings or yoga pants, tank top with a hip scarf and we dance in bare feet, ballet slippers or dance sneakers. We also carry a full line of Sharifwear which is training wear designed with the Bellydancer in mind.
Our sessions are typically 12 weeks in length. These are intensive courses not crash courses designed to teach the art of Egyptian dance. Interested in a shorter session? Just talk to us at the front desk and we're happy to acccomodate as best we can.
Weekend Warrior Specialty Workshops
Throughout every session we offer students a wide range of Specialty Workshops that concentrate on essential aspects of your dance journey. Designed to enlighten and deepen the student’s understanding and skill level on specialized topics such as Musicality, Performance, Improvisation, Rhythm training, Travelling Steps, Turns, Arabesques, Shimmies, Arms and Hands, various Props, Taqsim, Drum Solo, Baladi, Saidi, Melaya, Veil, performance skills and much more. Great for our both weekly students and those who can only come to train on periodically on weekends.
During each session we'll often run special pop-up classes on a variety of topics that you can join in on to experience a new style or different technique. Pop-Ups are open to everyone at a drop-in rate or as part of your class package. We notify all students in advance of Pop-Up classes and topics when they are coming up.
Visiting Master Instructors
BellyUp has been hosting the A-List of Egyptian Master Teachers for over 10 years. Weekend Intensives are held throughout the year – we literally bring the heart of Egyptian Bellydance to our students several times a year. Watch out for news on the upcoming workshops coming to our new Burlington location.
Most of our classes are open for drop-ins. We recommend notifying us if you are planning to drop-in. You can pay at the studio when you arrive.
How fast will I advance?
How fast you advance in the dance form is based on several things: the more classes you take and how much you practice in between classes plays a big role in how fast you will progress. Building muscle memory and training the body to move in a very different way is what it is all about at any level. Beginner students often like to repeat the Foundation I and Foundation II courses multiple times in order to master a solid foundation before moving on to increasingly challenging levels. We realize that everyone learns differently and at a different pace and there is no pressure to advance which is why we encourage everyone to learn at their own pace and enjoy the journey and experience. Alternatively if you have a goal in mind, always speak to your teacher for recommendations on how you can progress faster and we have the progressive curriculum of class levels to help assist in your growth and development.
Bellydance Foundation I
This is where it all begins! Foundation 1 is a comprehensive training intensive designed for students with minimal to absolutely no Bellydance experience to those with some dance experience who want to strengthen their foundation skills. Students, regardless of experience level are urged to complete the full course both Foundation I and Foundation II at least once before moving on to higher-level classes. Mastering a strong Foundation is what prepares the dancer and provides them with the building blocks for future levels. You’ll dance more confidently and your body will be well prepared to take on more intricate and exciting hip and belly work, foot patterns, shimmies, layering and much more which will be added to your movement vocabulary. We start with the roots of the dance form and build from there.
Bellydance Foundation II
After completing Foundation I students can move to the Foundation II which is an intensive curriculum designed to review and expand on all the basic movements taught in Foundation I while introducing you to even more variety and diversity of new movement along with important variations that will continue to broaden your journey into Egyptian dance. You’ll notice an increased confidence level, a higher degree of coordination, grace and fluidity and the basics will begin to feel more second nature to you. We continually emphasize posture and body awareness and will work more with arms and hands and connectivity of movement. Foundation II is all about building and strengthening a strong basic vocabulary of bellydance movement which will form the platform for further Egyptian dance exploration.
Bellydance Level III
Students at Level III are ready to explore different styles within Egyptian Bellydance. Students can choose from the following:
Oriental Dance Technique
"Oriental" is the classical term used for Bellydance, also known as "Raqs Sharki" or "Dance of the East". "Bellydance" is a Western slang term which refers to the dance form. In our Oriental Dance Technique classes, dancers will review, refine and work to strengthen their movement vocabulary with many combinations and drills with the goal of becoming more fluid and fluent with all movements and footwork in total relation to the music. Through drills and combinations, students will develop the muscular endurance and stamina to increase their ability to handle more sophisticated combinations and choreography.
Students are encouraged to augment their regular weekly classes with our Weekend Warrior workshops and specialty pop-up classes wherever possible increase their proficiency in all areas. Our broad-based curriculum literally 100's of movements and variations that effect aspects of layering, undulations, shimmies, turns, travelling steps, transitions and much more.
A variety of styles are explored:
- Oriental Entrance
- Veil Technique
- Drum Solo
- Folklore within Oriental Routine
- Drum Solo
- Taqsim & Improvisation
- Classic to Modern Oriental Styling
- Legendary Composers and Singers every Bellydancer should know
Egyptian Folklore Technique
BellyUp’s Folklore class draws from the various Folkloric styles which are traditional dances throughout Egypt and other Arab countries. Every region has its own style of dance and rhythms. Joharah introduces students to the Folkloric music, rhythms, styles and costuming and movement vocabulary with this diverse variety of styles all of which have had a great influence on Modern Oriental bellydance as we know it today. Joharah also brings in visiting Egyptian Master Instructors who specialize in Egyptian and Arab Folkloric technique to train BellyUp students.
Egyptian styles explored:
- Saidi/Assaya – dancing with the stick or cane which is from Upper Egypt actually Southern Egypt
- Haggalah – this is a social ritual dance from Western Egypt
- Ghawazee – the Gypsy style dance of Egypt
- Shamadan – the candelabra dance (Awalim)
- Melaya Leff – from Alexandria in Northern Egypt – dancing with the wrap or shawl
- Fallahi – the dance of the Egyptian farmers from the Delta region
Arabic Folklore Styles include:
- Dabke (popular through the Levant regions – a fun and high energy line dance)
- Khaleegi (beautiful hair dance from the Gulf region)
Oriental/Folkloric Technique Class
This is a blended class for students who have completed Foundation I & II and who want to develop and strengthen their skills and abilities in both Oriental and Folkloric styles. Lots of diversity of movement and music and students will enjoy the best worlds as they broaden their bellydance vocabulary.
Nuvo Bellydance - Fusion
Nuvo Bellydance is an exciting and unique contemporary Western style of Bellydance that is a popular Bellydance alternative for those who have completed Foundation Level I & II and can comfortably function at BellyUp’s Oriental or Folklore Level III and up. Great for the student with a sound Bellydance or dance foundation who is interested in discovering new and creative ways to use their Bellydance skills beyond the traditional Middle Eastern style. Danielle breaks down a wide range of moves, steps, and postures, to help the student translate the basic bellydance moves into modern bellydance language that is a unique style all its own. You will feel amazed and empowered to learn what more you can do with your Bellydance abilities. Danielle builds on her strong foundation of Egyptian dance and presses the boundaries to the fullest extent while helping students create a clean and powerful style. Danielle's many years' training and education is gained partially from the Suhaila Salimpour format which she blends with fierce passion and style but also her Lebanese, Egyptian and Hip Hop dance backgrounds. This class is fresh, fun, freeing and full of energy and power.
Student Performer Class (Invitation Only - Level III+)
The student performer class is designed to provide students with a deeper relationship with the dance form through ongoing choreography and performance opportunities. The student performer class(es) will work on choreographies in a variety of bellydance styles from Oriental to Folklore. Students placed in the performer class are preferably all in a similar place within their dance journey and level of skill. A minimum 6 month commitment is required by the members of the performance class during which time students will enjoy a rich training experience above and beyond what most experience in a regular technique class. The experience is further enhanced by being part of a group that shares a common goal and commitment and building relationships and friendships with students who share a mutual love for Bellydance. Our student performance class is a great way for students to learn, grow and achieve performance goals. Students will enjoy working closely with Joharah and members of BellyUp's professional, award winning dance ensemble "Ala Nar" to learn and create a beautifully polished choreographies where careful attention has been given to technique, staging, facial expression, style and costuming that will be performed at an end of term studio show. This a great class for the student interested in performing and looking for the challenge of learning, remembering, finessing and performing. Students must meet the technique pre-requisite to participate and be prepared for constant feedback and growth.
Registration in this class requires Instructor approval. Students in the performance group must also be concurrently enrolled in a BellyUp technique class at their level or below or as designated by the Instructor. A six-month commitment is required for performing in our annual Student showcase. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the pre-requisites for being part of the performance group.
Bellydance Level Four Intermediate Technique
This is an intermediate to advanced level technique class designed to push dancers in a wide range of areas to increase endurance, stamina, control and movement articulation, build clean performance lines and extensions, execute a variety of turns, alter energy levels and texturize with more sophisticated footwork and overall connection to the music. Increased emphasis on self-expression, stage projection and feeling at one with the music along developing improvisation abilities.
Bellydance Level V
Advanced and Pro-Level dancers and performers, including BellyUp's Ala Nar Dance Ensemble.