Your First Belly Dance Class: What To Expect
So you’ve found a good belly dance teacher, and you’re armed and ready with a smile and a hip scarf, but suddenly have shaking hands as you head into the class. You might even wonder if you should go through with it or turn around and go home. A little bit of nervousness is to be expected; you are venturing into new territory.
Take a few deep breaths and don’t worry if you are not a size two or don’t have long, flowing locks, a.k.a. ‘belly dancer hair’. Once you step into the class, you’ll realize that belly dance draws a diverse group of interested students in all shapes, sizes, colors, and you may even find a man or two attending the class. Take comfort in the fact that most of the other new students will also be hesitant.
A commonly shared fear is that of exposing the belly. Many new students are afraid they’ll have to, but a good, supportive teacher will alleviate those fears and not force her students to do anything that makes them uncomfortable. She will understand that the first class is the hardest.
British-born Victoria Whitecotton, who now lives and teaches in Texas and has been dancing for four and a half years and teaching for one, “felt the same way. Walked in to my first class in 2004 wondering why I was there. I was worried I'd be laughed at or something. What I discovered, however, was that every other woman in that room felt exactly the same way. Over the course of a few weeks, we all loosened up and had a lot of fun! I now teach beginners myself, and I constantly try and reassure them because I remember quite clearly how I felt in the beginning.”
Once the lesson begins, you might feel awkward or clumsy when doing the movements, but please keep in mind that no one is born a belly dancer. Try to relax and have fun and remember, it takes time and practice. One way to help alleviate some of the nerves is to sign up for a class with a friend. This way, you can be awkward and nervous together.
As time goes on, you will become more comfortable with the movements and with yourself, and perhaps when the next new student starts the class, you will be the first one to offer up a smile and a quiet whisper to let her know that everyone is nervous their first class and not to worry because it will pass.