GOT QUESTIONS? WE'VE GOT THE ANSWERS. 

I've decided to try Bellydance, what can I expect? 
We’re so excited for you! This could be the start of a lifelong passion and a journey that could totally alter your life not to mention bring you so much joy and satisfaction. Bellydance can be transformative if you let it in. Just remember not to be hard on yourself. Anything new is challenging.  Give yourself lots of time to learn and be patient with yourself. Learning the basics is key to advancing, so put your energy into building a strong foundation of skills. This may mean you take the Foundation 1 course multiple times over as most students do.  Don’t worry about that.  Just pace yourself. Try to attend your weekly class without missing a week. If you do miss a class try to do your make-up class within the same week so you don’t fall behind on the curriculum. And of course, practice what you learn at home. It's all about building muscle memory and this this will help you build strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination. Most of all have fun!

What is each class like? 
The course builds week to week and a short review of the previous week takes place after the warm-up.  Next a new family of movements are taught that relate to both upper and lower body. You'll be training the particular muscles required to execute every movement. And because we don't stand in the same place for an entire class, you'll also learn different travelling steps and ways to transition from in-place movement to across the floor including turns. Students love all the drills and combinations that glue one movement to the next and typically we have a few follow-alongs in every class.  Prepare to get sweaty, focus and have fun. Questions are always encouraged in the class. The teacher will discuss the music being used, the rhythms and tempos so the student begins to develop an ear for the Arabic beat and music we dance to.  Of course all the staple movements that you may associate with bellydance such as hipwork, figure 8s, undulations, bellywork, and shimmies are covered but there is so much more to Bellydance that we're sure will pleasantly surprise you. 

Can people see me dancing in class from the street? 
Because we are lower level there are no outside windows for people to see through. The studio offers you total privacy when you are taking the class. We do not allow spectators and students waiting for the next class have a lounge area in which to wait which is situated off the dance floor. 

What should I wear to class?
Wear something comfortable that you can move freely in. We recommend something form-fitting so your instructor can see your body moving. Leggings, Yoga pants, tank top, t-shirt, or crop top. It is not mandatory to bare your belly, that’s entirely up to you.  Bring a scarf to tie around your hips. We dance in bare feet or use ballet slippers or dance sneakers. 

How do I register for my classes?
We require advance registration for all our courses.  You can register online through our web site. Send an e-transfer to info@bellyup.ca or register direct at the studio.  Drop-ins are permitted in most classes. Please check our schedule for those classes that may not permit drop-ins.  Drop-ins can pay direct at the studio upon arrival. 

What forms of payment do you accept?
Website payments are through PayPal.  E-transfer. Credit card at studio with Square Register. A credit card convenience fee will apply. Cheque or Cash. 

New Students
There is a one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $15 payable at your first class.

Refund Policy
Absolutely no refunds, transfers, extensions, carry-overs, credits on classes, workshops, or unused classes. Once you are registered all sales are final. You must use your classed during the session which you are registered for or you lose your unused classes. 

What happens if I miss classes?
We offer 2 make-up classes per session you are registered for.  Simply drop into another class at the same level and sign in as a make-up at the front desk. There are no make-up classes for specialty classes that run only once a week.  

Where are you located and what are your hours of operation?
BellyUp Burlington's entrance is at Pine & Pearl Street of the Village Square. Our actual entrance is on Pearl Street and we are lower level to Specs on Pearl. There is free street parking after 6:00pm. and weekends and there are several parking lots available to use in the surrounding area. 

Some of my co-workers want to register for classes? 
We offer corporate rates for 5 or more from the same company. Email info@bellyup.ca and we can provide you with discounted rates.

Are your classes for all sizes and age groups?
Our classes are best suited for adult women or teens. Our students are all sizes, ages, shapes and nationalities and we come together to share the universal language of Bellydance. New Moms can also bring babies if they are worn during class in a baby carrier. Students under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Will there be men in the class? 
Our classes for women. Occassionally we may have a live drummer accompanying the class in which case the students are notified ahead of time. 

What are the levels of classes? 
Please read through out class descriptions page for information on class descriptions and levels. 

How long is a session and how soon can I get started?
Session length depends on the season but typically they are 12 weeks in duration unless otherwise noted. Advance registration is required to secure your spot. Drop-ins are welcome in most classes (email us first). You are welcome to join mid-session pending space availability. Prices vary on jump-ins mid-session. 

Can I try out a class before joining?
We offer a free trial class if you are brand new to BellyUp and have never taken classes with us before. If you have been to us before, and want to try a different class, you can do so at the drop-in rate of $22 including HST.  To book a free trial class email info@bellyup.ca 

Which level should I register for?
Please refer to our Class Descriptions and Levels page to find the level best suited for you.  If that information does not answer your question feel free to call or email us. Generally all our students regardless of experience start with our Foundation I and Foundation II course to learn the full vocabulary of movements and steps we teach at BellyUp. Building a strong foundation from the beginning is the most important thing. 

How many students are in a class? 
A minimum of six students is required for a class to run. Our classes can range in size from 6 to 20. BellyUp reserves the right to cancel or change a class that is under-registered.  Our studio is very spacious and there is plenty of room for students to have space. 

How long will I have to stay at each level? 
This is largely based on you, how fast you learn, how many classes you take each week and how much you practice outside of class. Generally students who do not practice and only take one class per week can look to advance one level per year. Each level has a wide range of technique that keeps classes challenging and the students growing. Expect to stay at a level long enough to master what is being taught. Your Instructor is always there to offer advice, guidance and private classes if you require and will always encourage you to move on when she sees that you are ready for more challenge. 

How long will it take until I can belly dance?
That depends on you, and how much time you can devote to practice. After 12 weeks of classes you'll know some basic movements that you can use on the dance floor for sure. Continuing beginners usually stay at that level for for 1-1.5 years. If you want to perform professionally expect at least 3-5 years of training. Belly dance is a difficult dance form to learn, and the more you practice the faster you'll progress. It may look easy but it's a very specific way of moving your body and it takes time for your body to absorb the movements. We encourage you to enjoy the journey of learning this most beautiful dance form. BellyUp offers students performance opportunities at student haflas and recitals and those who achieve performance level can enlist in BellyUp's Entertainment Agency and be booked for events, weddings, parties etc. 

I'm Middle Eastern and know how to Bellydance. What level should I take? 
While you may be very familiar with the music and common rhythms found in Middle Eastern music, dancing at parties and weddings is much different than the training for stage and performing that we provide. It is a lot like saying "I'm Russian therefore I'm a Ballerina". Learning the art form is much different than social dancing. Students no matter what their background who have never taken professional Bellydance training before should start with our Foundation Level I and move on from there.  We're certain you'll be challenged throughout the entire session but it is your decision which level you would like to enroll in. 

I've never taken Bellydance before but I've taken other dance forms? 
We think it's great that you've studied other dance forms and hopefully that will help you in learning the art of Bellydance. But just like when you were learning other forms of dance you started out as a beginner, you need to do the same thing with Bellydance. Bellydance is a very particular way of movement and even though you may have taken Tap or Ballet for many years, the vocabulary of movement for Bellydance still must be learned from the roots. 

How many times a week should I come to class? 
That is totally up to you but if you are able to attend more than one class a week you will certainly see more advancement in your Bellydance skills. 

How do I know how I am doing/progressing in the class? Will I get individual feedback? 
Your instructor is the best judge of your progress in relation to the rest of the class. If you have concerns about how you are doing, we recommend you schedule a private consultation with your Instructor to go over your progress and map out a plan for your advancement if this is important to you. Please keep in mind that students come to class for various reasons and not everyone cares or wants feedback. If you want more from your dance and would like your Instructor to give you on-the-spot correction whenever they see something just let them know you are open to feedback during the class.  Your Instructor will always call out corrections throughout the class and we suggest to all students to assume that all constructive feedback being offered is meant for everyone to benefit from. 

Is there a student recital? 
BellyUp typically has one if not two recitals or shows each year for our students to perform in. No one is under pressure to perform but we encourage you to attend either way!  Students will learn a choreography during the 12 week session prior to the event and then there will be several rehearsals leading up to the show. Your Instructor will determine the attire or costuming for the specific routine and advise their students. The studio can provide some costuming assistance or the student can purchase their own costume from BellyUp or other sources. If you are registered in more than one class it is your choice to perform multiple times in the recital. The studio reserves the right to charge a fee for student participation in recitals to help offset the studio costs of theatre rental and associated show expenses, rehearsal coaches, studio time outside of classes, provision of practice videos for students, music licensing fees, and loaner costumes. 

I would like to perform
Students interested in learning to perform have a lot of opportunity to do so at BellyUp. First, please make it known to your teacher that you would like to pursue performance training and they will be happy to discuss with you the training you will need to get you on the right path. We have a popular Student Performer Class that is offered for students at Level 3 and up. We have frequent Hafla's at the studio where students are encouraged to perform, plus we have student performance nights at local restaurants. In addition, the Studio has one or two student recitalseach year and all students are invited to perform. 

How do I learn what is happening at the studio in terms of events and workshops?   
A weekly update of things going on at the studio, in-house flyers and posters, our web site and social media are all ways we keep our students abreast of all the happenings and events at BellyUp. We encourage you to be on our mailing list and stay tuned on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for up to the minute details on things coming up that you will want to be part of.  

Can I have friends or relatives watch me in class?  
All classes are closed to spectators. It is dfficult for students to retain their focus when they are being watched. Some students are very sensitive to this and we respect that. 

Can I take private belly dance classes?
We offer both private and semi-private belly dance lessons as well as in-class assistance. CLICK HERE for more information and for rates. Email info@bellyup.ca to book a private lesson.

Will I lose weight from belly dancing?
Students have lost weight from regular belly dancing classes if done in combination with a  proper, well-balanced diet.  

Will I get a good workout from belly dancing?
Belly dancing is an awesome way to increase core strength, tone and sculpt, improve posture and poise and build your stamina. It is a medium level aerobic exercise. All the upper and lower body isolation work and combinations/sequences of steps are also fantastic exercise for the brain!Bellydance builds stamina, coordination, grace and poise and so much more.

Am I fit enough to Bellydance? 
It is never too late to begin bellydancing, ever no matter what shape or size you are! 

How physically fit do I need to be to start taking Bellydance classes?
Before starting any new workout or physical activity you should talk to your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to start bellydance classes. We think you'll find that most physicians will encourage you to start bellydancing and look upon our dance form very favourably as a wonderful way to get in shape and stay that way.

I'm already pretty fit, can I start right away? 
If you are already in good health and have a pretty good level of fitness there's really no reason to wait. Feel free to enroll in a bellydance class right now. 

Will my body be flexible enough right now?
Maybe not. But with regular classes this is what is going to help increase your flexibility and stamina. 

Will I be strong enough to do everything my teacher asks of me?
Unlikely to start with but you will be able to do the basics. Mastering the moves takes some time. Be patient. Practice! 

Will I feel comfortable with my body?
That depends mainly on you. Lots of bellydancers struggle with this issue and it has nothing to do with size, weight, or muscle tone. Moving in the Bellydancer way builds body awareness and self confidence over time. How quickly that happens is really up to you. Our major message is that you embrace the body you have, honour it and let it enjoy the movements. 

I'm not that flexible, or strong, or comfortable enough, should I do some things to get more flexible, strong, and comfortable first?
If you feel particularly weak or stiff, or if it will make you feel more confident, by all means,  up your level of overall activity safely or add simple stretching to your daily routine in the weeks before you begin your first class. But it’s really not necessary. You see as you practice or train in bellydance classes, you gain body awareness while working on the kind of movements, flexibility, strength needed for the dance form. You will find some things in class difficult if your muscles are tight and some stretches difficult without the proper technique. A lack of strength will make some things challenging but sometimes the best way to build the strength needed is to practice the skill (provided you are practicing it properly with guidance from your teacher). With time and focus it will all become easier. And for many of you, participating in a rich and expressive art form that develops your flexibility, awareness, strength, control, and a host of other benefits, that process is more than enough. You will be getting all the benefits and enjoyment of learning to bellydance. We have several practice companion DVDs on sale at the studio. So if you can only make it to one class per week, you can dance along with the DVD at home which will help build muscle memory and make you more flexible and stronger for your next class. 

Is Bellydance class really enough for me in terms of getting fit?
Since we don’t know what your specific fitness goals are what we can say is that any balanced fitness routine includes aerobic fitness, strength training, core exercises, balance training, flexibility and stretching to improve aerobic capacity, body structure, body composition, balance, muscular flexibility and strength. That combined with proper nutrition helps to make one healthy and in good physical condition. A typical bellyydance class certainly includes most of the above but not consistently because we first need to teach you the technique before you can actually string all the moves together enough to get all the benefits. A technique class is not designed as a fitness class, and therefore does not necessarily address ALL of your fitness needs. This is particularly true when it comes to aerobic capacity or cardiovascular endurance. We are teaching bellydance as an art form first and foremost. The fact that it does have some great fitness benefits is really the icing on the cake. The more training time you put in on the dance floor, the longer you train to become more technically advance, the more you can do and therefore the vigorous the dance level can become. 

If you are planning to start earnestly training in bellydance by taking daily classes or multiple sessions each week you should start to see benefits very soon. If you are only taking one class per week and not bellydance training in between you should expect lesser results. You can consider cross-training to help you reach your dance and fitness goals. There are many cross-training options for dancers. Just be sure you are getting enough rest and not over-doing it! One way of really getting the fitness benefits of bellydance is to take Unlimited bellydance with us so you attend 3 or more classes each week. Not only will you see your fitness level increase but your proficiency in the dance form should increases greatly as well. 

Can I belly dance if I'm pregnant?
Historically belly dance was used as a fertility dance and also to prepare a woman for childbirth. It is a perfectly healthy form of exercise for the mom-to-be, but of course always get approval from your physician. In the third trimester we advise you to exclude shimmies, hip drops and fast travelling steps from your class and stick to the very soft, and soothing movements...figure 8's are great for the reproductive system and your digestive organs. And undulations are wonderful strengthen your abdominal muscles for the baby's delivery. Many of our students who are new moms have told us how useful their belly dancing skills were during labor.

Can't find the answer to your question? Call or email us. Now, what are you waiting for?  Come join us on the dance floor!


Class Etiquette


Why Bellydance class etiquette is important? 
We've laid out some helpful rules of class etiquette for our students since you may not have taken dance classes before at a professional dance studio or you may require a refresher. Please take time to familiarize yourself with these rules which we feel are most important to giving you the best class experience possible. A bellydance class is a cooperative endeavor. For everyone to enjoy class and learn successfully, it helps to be in agreement on some basics of behavior. However, for those new to the class environment, it's common that some aspects of dance etiquette may take time to pick up on. By providing a bit of info in advance, we hope we can make it easier to get off to a smooth start. It's to be expected that we'll all make mistakes at times. So remember to forgive your fellow dancers their missteps in class! It's almost guaranteed that sometimes they're forgiving yours. We want everyone to be good company in our classes.

Basic Courtesies in class include the following: 
Be on time.
You may enter class no more than 10 minutes late. Find a spot for yourself at the side or back of the room and continue with the class. Do not come and take a spot in the centre of the class when it is in progress. 

Sign in and pay before class.
It's important to sign in and pay (if you're a drop-in) before your class! When everyone doesn't do this in an organized fashion, it creates more headaches for the studio staff than you might realize.

Don’t bring food, gum, or beverages other than water on to the dance floor. 
This rule helps to keep things clean and maintain the studio flooring. Bottled water should be tossed in the recycling box after the class or taken with you. Bottled water is not to be placed on any of the seating.  Place on tables or on floor off to the side. Not wear people may trip over.

Turn off your cell phone.
This is strictly enforced. Any audible ringtone will bring you negative attention.

Maintain good hygiene.
For those who are in any doubt this means being showered, deodorant, freshly cleaned dance wear. No aggressive fragrances and if you are a smoker we appreciate your efforts to not attend class with the strong smell of cigarette smoke on your clothing and body. Your fellow dancers will appreciate this. 

Maintain a positive attitude.
Keep a positive mindset in class. Ongoing, audible self-criticism is inappropriate. Gossiping and negative talk will not be tolerated. 
Most dance teachers are sensitive to energy.

You may not realize this but dance teachers tend to have one thing in common and that is that they're aware of and highly attuned to the energy of the people around them. It's very difficult to teach a class of tired, low, draggy students and carry them for an hour class or to have to contend with tension between students (such as when people are jockeying for space). So if you can, it's worth mustering some energy in class on a day when you may be feeling tired or crabby. This is noticed more than you might think, and very much appreciated by your teacher. 

Leave your troubles at the door. 
If you're in a bad mood or you've had a rough day, most teachers welcome you taking their class to de-stress! Just let go of negative energy as soon as you can once you get to the studio. Leave all the stress of the day at the door or better yet in your car. After all, that's why you came!

Don’t leave and come back into your class.
This is a firm rule at most formal dance studios. Remember that this is a studio and not a gym. If you wander out (say, because you're feeling frustrated, want to check your phone, see a friend in the hall, or want a water break when the teacher hasn't given one), you may not be permitted to rejoin the class. A quick and occassional restroom break is likely to be understood. Habitually coming in and out, however, is just disruptive. And regardless of why you left, refrain from asking the teacher to repeat what was taught while you were absent.

Don’t leave early.
This is a firm rule at many dance studios.  Remember this is not a gym. If you have to leave early for some reason, be sure to tell your teacher before the class starts and situate yourself close to where you'll exit once you need to leave. 

Showing Consideration for Your Instructor

Keep your teacher’s instructing space clear.
The rectangular area between the front row of students, the sides of the room, and the mirror is your teacher's instructing space. Please respect your teacher by not setting water bottles and other personal belongings along the front wall of the studio.  Think how you'd feel if someone placed obstacles in your dance space!

Respect your teacher’s personal space.
Leave some breathing room between your teacher and the front row of students. The instructor should be able to move forward and backward as well as side to side as they demonstrate the dance without running into anyone. If there's extra space at the front (or class is extremely crowded), the teacher will usually invite the class to move forward. Do not stand directly behind the instructor. You are blocking the view for others and the instructor is unable to see you and offer you correction when needed. 

At the other extreme, when a small class clings to the back wall, it makes teachers uncomfortable. Don't leave your instructor all alone at the front of the room! Keep them company.

Don’t chew gum.
Given that gum is almost universally banned from dance studios, we are no exception. No gum at all! 

Don’t talk while your teacher is teaching.
Please don't chat while the teacher is speaking or demonstrating. And be aware that teachers usually can see and hear the people at the back of the room. If a student asks a question this is not your invitation to start chatting with the person next to you. Be respectful, listen and learn from the question and the answer. Talking before class or during water breaks is fine. Just be aware enough to quiet down when the teacher is ready to start.

Don’t film in class without the instructor’s permission.
Please don't casually whip out a camera and start taping during class! Unless you have standing permission from your instructor, it's important to ask first. Note taking is permitted after the class not during. 

Show Consideration for Your Fellow Dancers

Refrain from correcting your classmates.
In your desire to be helpful, be careful not to correct another student's movements, or critique their dancing! In dance class, only the teacher gives corrections.

Where to stand in the class. 
In dance class, more advanced students typically should stand in front. Let them ahead of you at the beginning of class, even if you were there first. You'll find it more helpful to have them in front. Avoid taking a spot at the front of a dance class until you've taken it enough times to know you're consistently able to get the moves. 

If an advanced dancer arrives quite late to a full class, it's considerate for them to stand in the back if necessary to avoid blocking the window of a dancer already there.

Try not to take your place too close to others.
Always try to find a spot where you have a space buffer on all sides. Lines should be staggered so that you're not standing right next to anyone else.

Be careful not to stand directly behind someone. During the learning portion of class, when you want to see yourself in the mirror, you'll be tempted to push into the space of the person next to you. Also, be on the lookout for classmates behind you! Once someone else has taken their place, it's inconsiderate to select a spot directly in front of them, blocking their view.

Try to preserve people’s windows.
Be aware of the people behind you, including those who arrive after you, and try to position yourself so all of you can see yourselves in the mirror. Keep an eye out during class, as people often shift around a little within their spots.

Don’t move around during class trying to find a better spot.
Once you have a spot, it's yours for the duration of class. It may not be ideal, but try to work with it. Often shifting around a little within your spot will help you see the teacher or find a window. Don't move around the studio trying to find a bigger space or a better view of the instructor.

When someone leaves their spot during class, for instance to get water, their spot is not up for grabs! If the class practices the dance while someone is off the floor, it's okay to take advantage of the extra space if you're already next to it. But always let the spot's owner return!
On the other hand, if a dancer leaves their spot before class starts, however briefly, and someone walks in and unknowingly stands there, the spot now belongs to the newcomer. Don't try to reclaim a spot from someone who took it innocently.

Watch your space when dancing.
Learn to develop spacial awarness of others. Being aware of others' dance space while practicing is important and considerate. Avoid penetrating the line of dancers in front of you, and try not to crowd them. If you're unsure if you're too close, you may wish to check your space buffer with the person in front of you against the space left by more experienced dancers.

During the learning portion of class, if it's very crowded, you may need to mark the footwork in order to avoid colliding with others. Under overcrowded conditions, don't make large arm gestures, kicks, and so on just because the choreography calls for them. Dancers are expected to restrain their movements as much as necessary for safety, without being asked.

Try to avoid stopping unexpectedly.
When you don't know where to go, it may feel natural to stop moving until you do. But it can be quite jarring and unexpected to another dancer who's headed toward you. So when lost, try to follow along in the right direction, even if you're not doing the moves. 
Be cautious in marking among people who are standing still.

If you practice the routine or otherwise perform dance moves among classmates who are standing, always take responsibility for where you are in relation to others! If you "need to" violate your neighbor's personal space in order to complete your movements, stop.
Applaud for your classmates when they perform.

Remember to applaud for your fellow students when they finish on the floor if you are rotating groups! People forget more often than you might think, so don't look to others' behavior as your guide. It's always a good thing to support your fellow dancers!

What to wear to class? 
Your teacher will appreciate being able to see your body. Your legs, your feet, your belly, your arms and how you are moving in order to give you correction and help as you learn. Coming to class in a baggy tshirt and sweatpants will not help matters. Baring your belly is entirely up to you and there is no pressure to do so. Acceptable dance wear includes: Form fitting tshirt or tank top. Leggings. Sharifwear. Bare feet or ballet slippers or jazz sneakers. No Isotoners or slippers or socks. They are unsafe for turns and travelling. Invest in proper footwear and dancewear so you can learn to move as a dancer and turn freely on the floor.  Also tie something around you hips. Hipscarves are for sale at the studio or improvise.