REPARTEE - 2006/2007/2008
(8th November 2008)
'Learn from the turtle - it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck'
AFRICA - AUSTRALIA – CANADA - NETHERLANDS - U.K. - U.S.A.
Your website is very inspiring! I am a 59 year old woman and after seeing you and your web page I started to learn belly dance.
I became another person; a lot ore confident and stronger physically and am now addicted to dancing.
I took this video with my web cam. Unfortunately I cannot memorise a choreography – maybe in time….
Thankyou for showing me that it is never too late for belly dancing!
Zaida: You are truly inspiring! You move beautifully. You are a natural.
A POSITIVE RESULT
I re-read your book for the zillionth time and although I have been a bellydancer now for 23 years I always refer to myself as a perpetual student as we never stop learning.
I persevered with one of your ideas for performance venues at retirement homes AND FINALLY GOT A POSITIVE RESULT. They even sent me a lovely letter as confirmation!
I am now busy with organising a
bellydance rally in my little corner of the
I am advertising for all dancers, whatever their age and experience to take part - basically, the audience are the entertainers!
P.S. How is your husband getting on with learning bellydance ? - All success to him!
Zaida: how lovely to hear from you. My husband
It keeps your mind young and you do not believe what the mirror tells you. I always say ‘They cannot make mirrors like they used to’.
I had one other man attend one of my classes, but he never came back.
I think he
was expecting a lot of nubile dancers in the
Glad you are entertaining in the retirement homes. They are a very appreciative audience. Often my dancers are older than the audience, but a whole lot fitter.
The personnel in charge of entertainment in the homes - the Diversional Therapists - now contact me at the beginning of the year and book dates for the whole year, so all our Thursdays are bespoke. I try to keep our performances to Thursday mornings, that way my dancers know which day to keep free of other activities.
Of course, if you are working with younger dancers, you would have to consider night or weekend performances.
I still get requests from other organisations, such as Meals on Wheels or the Carers’ Group, to entertain at their annual functions, so we are kept very busy.
We don’t have time to ‘think old’.
Belly dance is a life saver.
I LIVE, EAT AND BREATHE BELLY DANCE
Dear " Zaida"
I live in The
I do teach, but I always say to those who want to learn that I am still learning but can pass on what I know. My most enthusiastic pupils are a group of girls aged between 6 and 10.
For 4 years I have been trying to gently promote interest to minimal success. But I also perform and make very professional costumes although I am not educated as a seamstress / my interest in sewing started at age 5 and I have developed my skills since then, much the same as dance.
In my 23 years of bellydance I have only ever had 5 lessons. My first so/called teacher was more interested in gossiping with her mates than teaching and the second, most recent, wanted me to start in her BEGINNERS class ONLY because she had not taught me herself and was reluctant to accept that some dancers do have more experience than her. That’s normal. I spent 3 lessons doing JUST hip-drops. That was just too easy and the teacher did not bother to show the other students. She just left that to me.
I did some ballet at age 11 and got most marks for the freestyle section. That’s probably why I find choreography so hard. I just dance from the heart!
But with all these negative attitudes around me I still carry on simply because I LOVE BELLYDANCE!!!!!
I am also trying to get my Mum interested. She is a VERY GLAMOROUS 60 . Although we do not live in the same country I send her DVDS and show her some moves when we do see each other maybe once a year.
Before I say ‘Cheerio for now’,
I forgot to mention that I was also born in
So yes, I live eat and breathe bellydance against all odds, marriage break-ups, etc...
But now I have a great man who is totally supportive and I have just persuaded him to learn to play Dumbek for me!!! what progress!!!
All continued success to you Zaida.
Can you give me some suggestions for dance venues. Mostly, I dance for other Muslims - I am one also, but some other places are always welcome.
Zaida: How lovely to hear from the
Choreography for a solo dance is totally different to choreography for a group dance where you have to consider the ‘group mind’ and also the technical abilities and disabilities of the group.
For my solo, I learn the music and find that the actual dance changes every time I dance in a different venue for a different audience, and also my own mood affects the outcome; but knowing the music, I know what is coming next and can fit a move to it.
For the group dance, I try to include
‘group’ movements where they are all doing something more or less
similar – I don’t try for the Riverdance/ballet style where they
have to be in complete unison – to me that is just everyone dancing the
teacher’s dance – then they have segments where they have Free
The circle also prevents anyone from ‘hiding’ in the back row as they all end up in the front at some stage as the circle rotates. This also prevents the self-styled Divas from hogging centre stage.
I would suggest you dance to the tune you want to use for your group, and work out a basic structure, then let the students try it and you can then delete what they cannot manage and add moves they may suggest.
If they feel they ‘own’ the dance, they will take more interest in it.
As for venues, the aged care homes/nursing homes always welcome entertainment. This will put you in the public eye and other requests will come. Of course, these are all done without charge, so if you wish only to dance for payment, I cannot help with any suggestions.
Here is an absolutely superb dancer, Sadie who has taken belly dance far beyond the ability of the average dancer, but gives us something to strive for, or just ENJOY!
SWIMMING MAJESTICALLY IN AN
How are you? Hope you’re swimming majestically in the ocean of health,
your profile at www.shira.net is good, it was so pleasant with me and also justified with the message sent to you.
Did you speak French or English? I will wait your mail
Zaida: G'Day, how lovely to hear from you. I speak only English having lived all my life in English-speaking countries.
'Swimming Majestically in an
What a superb phrase. I must use that in my website, somewhere.
Are you in a French-speaking country? If so, you are the first to contact me.
I've taken belly dancing for the past 4 months & find the start of a belly bulge that is unrelated to any weight gain. I've been told this is to be expected, but if that is true I don't want to continue. O.K. some say embrace it, that those flat bellies aren't that great, but I still prefer it.
I have no weight problem, but do need exercise. I grew up dancing with ballet & jazz & now, years later, find that I've no follow-through with individual exercise. I need a class to stay with it. I've a back that once in a rare while "goes out", so I know that abdominal strength is needed, but don't wish to have those muscles bulge because of it. Is there something I could do in addition to the belly dancing? Or I could switch to jazz, or jazzercise, or yoga, or . . . ?
Zaida: Thanks for your email. I just love to hear from ‘beginner belly dancers’. ENJOY!
There is NOTHING on Earth more satisfying than belly dancing. You will find the true YOU!
Belly bulge and back problems both indicate posture problems. Learn the basic belly dance stance
AND USE IT AT ALL TIMES.:
Knees slightly bent.
Pelvis tucked under.
Lift your ribs.
Chin slightly tucked.
BREATHE with your abdomen, not your chest.
I cannot speak for other styles of dance, ballet, salsa, flamenco, tap, or even heavy exercise like Jazzercise, but try them all if you are curious. I use a lot of yoga and tai chi moves in my warmup routine.
Zaida, I am an older woman--just turned 59---who has fallen in love with belly dancing. I have been dancing for over a year.
I check back on your website from time to time to find nuggets of wisdom. You are an inspiration.
Please, please make some longer videos. The ones on your site are so short--wonderful but too short.
Please put them on My Space or You Tube and share them with the world.
Show those contortionists how to belly dance.
Zaida: Thanks for your lovely email. Brightened up my day. Thankyou. Your comment about the contortionists who claim to be belly dancers; I totally agree with you. Ballroom dancing has gone the same way. They have totally lost the plot. They will never feel the real flow and sheer joy of the dance; they are too busy with technique. Such a shame. This dance is so delightful to do; you don’t have to prove anything, just ENJOY!
I shall take your comments about the videos on board. By sheer coincidence, another dancer sent me the connection to her video on You Tube, same day.
The very short snippets of video on my website are deliberate as it is expensive to put long videos on your website, and also, the intention is just to focus on one particular move rather than a whole dance. I get many, many emails from women who live outside the range of teachers, so I encourage them to learn from videos and from watching other dancers where the opportunity presents itself; particularly here in Australia where the distances are VAST and the population small, because most of the country inland from the coast in not habitable, and there is so little water anyway – it is the driest inhabited continent in the world.
I will definitely ‘Shimmy on’, thank you.
Dear Zaida, I’ve just gotta get this off my chest – what there is of it. You see all of my life (I am now 73) I have been unhappy with my slim body. My weight has always been within the range of 54 – 57kg (my height 166cm) and no matter what I eat, I cannot increase my weight.
Nowadays many women are envious of me, but I do not see it that way. For almost ten years I did dance exercise to the point of being fanatical about it. In turn, it gave me some of the happiest days of my life. There have been belly dance classes going on for many years almost across the road from me and I would sometimes watch. Whenever it was suggested I take it up, I would reply that I don’t have enough of the wobbly bits. This stand off went on for several years and eventually I did take it up at the age of 71.
Just last week I was chatting with two guys of my age and I mentioned that I do belly dance. I was told “You don’t have any belly to dance with.” OK, so I laughed it off, but I am still upset, and for why? Because I have never gotten over your comment in Repartee for 1999 where you made what to me is a very hurtful comment that slim women cannot shimmy and that you ‘need a bit of loose fat in order to get a shimmy going.’ At my age one needs all the encouragement one can get and your comment was very discouraging.
Otherwise, your Website is delightful and encouraging.
Zaida: Hello! How lovely to hear from you. I truly envy you being ‘skinny’ which, after all is only your image of yourself. Other women are envious of you, so you cannot possibly look like those death’s head catwalk models. I have been told by a dietician that your correct weight is your height in centimetres, then deduct the hundred.
So you, should, in theory, be 66 kgs. You are not far off that, at 57kgs.
Also, I cannot understand why you should really care what goes on in my head. At our age (I am 70) we are past worrying about other people….
‘I Am Woman’ is a perfect attitude.
The most frequent comment I get when I mention I belly dance is, “I have a big enough belly already”, and then they pat their bellies. So it is all in each person’s attitude to life. Some feel they are too fat, some feel they are too thin. I have seen several thin dancers, indeed one was extremely thin and no matter how much she shimmied, you could not see what she was doing unless she wore a jingly belt.
Keep dancing, you have another 30 years
ahead of you. Keep shimmying. Keep ignoring people like me, I only
express my own opinions, as does everyone else in the free world.
Luckily, here in
FINDING AN INSTRUCTOR
I just came across your site today and absolutely LOVE it. I just started ME dance/bellydance/raks sharqi/raks baladi or whatever you want to call it within the last 6 months. I have absolutely fallen in love with it. I took ballet, tap and jazz lessons as a child/teenager and love dance in general, but this ability to express one's self in this dance is just wonderful!
My biggest problem is that I've had difficulty finding an instructor - the closest is about 140 miles away and I'm driving twice a month for lessons supplemented with DVDs. I've also noticed that some of the younger instructors don't want to deal with older students.
Anyway, that's another story...
I really just wanted to let you know that I love your site.
Zaida: How lovely to hear from
you. I take it, that since you are talking about 'miles' that you are in the
I rather think the
My suggestion, as it has been to many other dancers in your situation, is to form a group of like-minded women in your area and form your own dance group. If each of you study a different move from a DVD, then you can teach the move you have learnt to all the group; that way you will all learn many moves.
This is the way people throughout the history of belly dance have learned to dance - by copying each other. There is no such thing as authentic. Each tribal area has its own interpretation of the dance.
So DANCE! And ENJOY!
Hi! I’ve been asked by our local community centre to teach two classes of 90 minutes each, back to back; the first class for beginners and the second class for more advanced.
I am a bit concerned with the stamina side of things, although there is an hour’s break between for lunch.
Thanks again for your kind words of wisdom you sent me when I was looking for some support to making a decision about teaching. The enthusiasm you share is just so inspiring.
Zaida: I, like you, launched myself into teaching with some trepidation, as I felt I would absolutely HATE it….I have always hated having to show new employees ‘the ropes’, especially when they seemed totally disinterested. I would give them a little note book and tell them to take notes, and I could see they had not taken a single note. Next day when they asked a question about something I had explained the day before, I would smile and say, “Check the notes you took yesterday when I explained that”.
But with belly dance, they are so EAGER – well most of them, and the ones who do not connect, soon leave.
Anyhow, about your worries about stamina. Pace yourself. You can take the classes as slowly as you like. Rest assured, the students will have far less stamina than you. I find even young women have to sit down at least twice during a one hour session, when they first start. My long term dancers are still dancing at the end of the hour, and I once had a visiting professional dancer running a mini-workshop for us, and she was impressed with their stamina. I think SHE was getting puffed.
Try to teach your beginners 4 basic moves and put them into a simple choreography, so that at the end of the lesson, they find they are doing a dance. This will really thrill them, make them feel they have achieved something, and encourage them to come back for more.
As for your more advanced class – tell them you need to see what they know and how far you can push them. This will put them on their mettle and they will concentrate and try harder to impress. Teach them a little dance, but using more difficult moves. This will enthuse them and bring them back again and again.
With my choreographies, I have tried to use different moves in each dance. This takes them out of their comfort zones as people tend to stick to three or four basic moves and just keep repeating these moves. When they have to use a different, difficult move – or two – in each dance, they have to ‘keep on their toes’ as it were. ~grin~
Lastly, don’t SWEAT it. You have to have fun too. If you are enjoying yourself, then your class will be fun for the students.
ENJOY! You are DANCING!
MORE RELAXED ABOUT LIFE IN GENERAL
I found your first website months ago, bought your book and devoured it over the weekend.
are an absolute inspiration to those of us who are no longer in their 20s or
30s or 40s! I started to learn bellydance from videos about a year ago,
and have found a teacher locally (not easy in this very rural part of
I never danced much before because I felt like such a clumsy cow, but bellydance is different. It's smooth, and round, and sensual, and very female. It doesn't matter if I make a mistake as I'm competing against no one. It doesn't matter if it takes me a while to learn a new move or combination. I can laugh at my mistakes, I can replay the video over and over to get a move down pat. So what if my tummy sticks out? So what if my hips are more lavishly designed than the fashion crowd think they should be?
My body has firmed up quite a bit in the time I've been dancing, I stand straighter, I have more confidence, and I'm more relaxed about life in general.
Keep on keeping on, Zaida, as I'm sure there are thousands of other women who feel as I do.
Zaida: You have given me such a HUGE lift today. Thank you for your email. You have found exactly what I found with belly dancing…. it does not matter what height, weight or eye colour you are…. you can do it!!!!!!!
In fact, the skinny ones have trouble ‘showing’ their moves as they have nothing to shake. You need a bit of flab in order to get that shimmy going. ~grin~
have been dancing for 5 yrs, in
There was a bellydance class when I arrived, and I began dancing with them, but various problems such as illness and job hassles prevented me from continuing, so that for the better part of this year I haven’t done any dancing, except for what I do at home.
The teacher who took the classes has had to withdraw and the ladies (who are mainly in my age group of 35-60 +) want to continue the classes.
It has been suggested that I take over, but I have never taught in my life and tend to be a follower rather than a leader. Also I have never done a solo performance and have trouble putting choreos together for myself.
I don’t want to start something that I can’t continue, or disappoint the ladies as they are a nice bunch.
I am nearly 51 and need to get myself back in shape if I am to take on classes. Can you give me any suggestions or advice? I would need to work out a warm up routine and then decide what we would do after that. The class usually runs for an hour and a half.
really want to do this, just as much for my own benefit as theirs, and also to
fit in with the community which I am finding difficult to do since we had 16
You have a great website. I have printed out your Stamina info, which will be helpful.
Thanks for hearing me out.
Zaida: I too resisted becoming a teacher – people kept urging and urging and I kept resisting until finally I decided to ‘give it a go’.
I LOVE IT!!!!!! I find I am really good at it. This is a major surprise to me.
To see a raw beginner, who cannot tell her left from her right, who cannot move any part of her torso, who cannot even ‘hear’ the music….. to see her become a dancer…. to see her become an entertainer – THAT is exciting.
As I tell all the women who write to me with similar queries to yours……
You only have to stay ONE MOVE ahead of your class. Teach them what you know and learn one new move now and again so you can show them ‘something new’.
Take the Egyptian Walk. I could NOT grasp that move. I asked each of my 3 successive teachers how they did it and they would just DO it and say, “Like this”, and I still could not grasp it. Eventually, one of my own class found she could do the move and I made her break it down so I could understand what she was doing. Now I can do it. Now I can teach it….!!!!
I have just had a woman from Canberra – on holiday here with her son and his wife – the daughter-in-law urged her to come to a bellydance class (I think to get her out of the house) – this woman was here for a month – had 4 lessons and came to 2 of our performances (danced with us) and now she has gone back to Canberra to start her own group with her circle of friends.
As for choreography. If you find that tricky…. involve the whole class. If one of your class turns out to be a natural, let her take charge of the choreography, but make sure she unveils the choreography to YOU first, then you teach the class, else she will take over the leadership of your class. ~grin~
Talking about choreography – I don’t ascribe to the rows of dancers all trying to imitate the teacher, all trying to do the same move at the same time, all trying to look like Riverdance. That is not what belly dance is about. Belly dance is essentially a solo dance – the only reason we do it in groups is that there is not enough time to let each dancer dance a solo. Also, when you watch a row of dancers, you find you focus on one who catches your eye and the rest just VANISH.
I choreograph my dances to encourage each dancer to dance HER dance within the structure of the dance. I have a basic skeleton so they look cohesive, but each dancer may interpret the move according to how her body works
For instance, shimmy walk – some do it beautifully, some are hopeless and just sort of stagger around. That is O.K.
I am not out to produce the ROYAL BALLET, I am out to produce entertainers.
All my dances rotate in a counter-clockwise circle, so that each dancer passes in front of various members of the audience and she cannot try to hide in the back row – there IS no back row. By rotating in a circle, they don’t have to try to keep strictly in time with each other and can bob and twirl and hop and skip as much as the music makes them, without disrupting the flow of the dance.
They learn the routine and change their moves according to the routine, but they don’t have to do the moves EXACTLY the way I do them. We are all built differently and our bodies move differently – I encourage that.
Don’t feel you have to have a wall full of certificates to teach. All you need is enthusiasm. The girls will learn according to THEIR enthusiasm. Some are much more committed than others. That’s O.K. It is their lives, their choice.
Don’t sweat it. Just ENJOY. Promote a sense of FUN and you will have achieved more than many teachers achieve.
Oh! Warmup routine. I have picked up many small exercises from various sources – physiotherapists, Bowen Therapists, books, TV programs…. whatever. As soon as I see an exercise which I feel will be advantageous for my dancers whose ages range from 43 to 73 and most have stiff hips or shoulders, I incorporate that move in my warmup. Correct breathing. Correct posture. Shoulder movements. Hip movements. Chest movements….. you name it. I do NOT do floor work.
THESIS (part 2)
Thankyou for the reply you sent me a few months ago about why women belly dance and the benefits of it. It proved very useful, and now I would like to ask you another question which I hope you can help me answer if you can draw from your own personal experience or however you'd like.
I've been asked to find out perhaps if there are outside influences such as the media, celebrities etc. which affect women's choices as to whether or not the choose to belly dance. When I first started belly dancing, my age (being 15 at the time) drew my old teachers attention to the fact that a couple of years before I joined her class, a lot of girls my age simply took up belly dancing because they had seen "Shakira" on the TV and her demonstration of moving her hips in such a way that it was not belly dancing as they had thought and soon dropped out of my teacher's class because of this, it was a rude shock to them to find out a lot of older and larger women were embracing such a beautiful and sensual dance. Have you ever come across something similar? Or do you believe otherwise?
Thankyou very much for your time!
most of the outside influences relating to belly dance - at least in a
smaller city in
However, the tide is turning and now the most common reaction is, "Oh?! Where do you teach?"
This year, and we are only into May, the requests for my belly dance troupe to perform at many and varied venues has so proliferated that we now have to accept bookings on three days a week. Previously we kept the bookings for public performances to Thursdays, so that all my dancers would know to keep Thursdays free. We are Older Women so we dance in daylight hours. This is our PLAY TIME - we are all retired and having FUN.
I agree with you, I have seen a Shakira video and that is not BELLY DANCING. Belly dancing is much, much more than just shimmies - you never stop learning.
This form of dance has evolved over the centuries to help women with their plumbing problems and childbirth. Remember that, previously, in intensely religious Arabic countries, no man was allowed to see a woman's body unless she was his wife, and no woman was allowed to become a doctor, so women had to help themselves.
Most of the belly dance moves focus on the torso and thus the essential organs needed for LIFE are given a massage and are kept functioning at optimum level. To this end, the dance was not limited to skinny, beautiful, nubile women. Western women are now discovering the health benefits of belly dancing and are embracing this FUN method of exercising....... in their droves. As I always say, your age, height, weight or the colour of your eyes have no bearing on whether you can become a belly dancer.
I asked a friend of mine, who is as passionate about belly dancing as I – to offer her opinions, and she said I should say something about the Arabic music – as I used to be a professional musician (Saxophone); and singer (alto).
I never think about the music as it SPEAKS to me. I hear all the tiny nuances in any particular tune and the hesitations and differing tempos and the excitement and the sensuality of the various moods of the music. Arabic music is so HAPPY.
However, I find that most of my students simply cannot HEAR the music. All they can hear are the drums. I ask them to do a particular move on a high trumpet sound and they cannot hear it. I simply cannot understand how they CANNOT hear it. I have even taped a short sequence with the relevant high trumpet sound and asked them to do the move when they hear the trumpet and they still cannot hear it, even after several practices.
Arabic music is totally different from Western music, which is rigid and has rigid counts and a specific number of notes and beats to a bar. Arabic music if FLUID. They don’t bother with octaves and counting and exact repetitions of phrases, they play from the heart not the head, and if the flow of the music and the energy of the dancer moves them to speed up or slow down, they do so. There is a counter-play between the musicians and the dancer. This is what makes Arabic music and Arabic dancing so unique and spectacular. You are never sure what will happen next and no matter how many times you dance to a particular tune, it will never be the same, twice.
THESIS (part 1)
I am a 16 year old and have been Belly dancing for two years now and I am interested in learning more and more about it which leads me to my enquiry. For my year 12 major assessment task for Society and Culture I was hoping to write a mini thesis on the comparison between why older (35+) women belly dance or choose to do it as to younger girls like myself.
I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me shed some light or what your opinion is on the subject.
Thankyou - look forward to hearing from you.
Zaida: I only ‘discovered’ belly dance in 1996 at the age of 60 – you would have been 6 years old then?????
The woman demonstrating was 72 and I thought, “If SHE can do that, then so can I”, and a real passion was born.
This dance, working on the torso and not just arms and legs as in other forms of dance, keeps all the internal organs functioning as they are intended to function – this leads to excellent health. The flexibility and stamina engendered by the dance keep a body from becoming ‘old’, and the flexibility of the hips ensures excellent balance when walking and climbing or descending stairs. Especially when descending stairs.
If belly dance were a regular pastime for all women, there would not be the need for all these hip and knee replacements. Women would not fall and harm themselves. Good health would be perceived as the ‘norm’ and not the exception.
Belly dance is also therapeutic for women who have experienced trauma in all its shapes and colours, from child abuse to even worse savagery. Women gain a feeling of self-worth and feel strong enough to take control of their lives and put their traumatic past behind them. Belly dance heals the mind as much as the body.
TRAINING AND CERTIFICATES.
Dear Zaida, did my first solo dance; I was a bit nervous at first until I got into it. It was a friend of mine at her church there was about 20 ladies it went down very well and they want me to do it again I didn’t charge them anything as it was just a one off my friend wants me to go into full time belly dancing but that means going for training etc. she thinks you don’t need training I tried to tell you have to have a first aid certificate and you need to go on a course and also you have to go to workshops every now again to update your dance routines but she will not listen what do you do.
Zaida: Each country has its own laws – so perhaps you do need a First Aid Certificate if you plan to teach.
Your friend is absolutely right! You only need to know how to dance. To know the basic moves and learn more as you go along. Belly dancing is not like ballet where you have to do a move EXACTLY SO!
Belly dance is an individual dance and if you ever get a chance to watch the DVD called Bellydance Superstars you will see what I mean. They are all doing exactly the same moves (as solos, not in a line), yet each dancer looks totally different from all the others.
You see, our fast twitch muscles and our slow twitch muscles may be concentrated in different parts of our arms and legs or wherever they hang out. This is why some people become sprinters and others become marathon runners. The sprinters have more fast twitch muscles in their legs and the marathoners have more slow twitch muscles in their legs. Hope you can follow this little scenario.
Anyway. You and another dancer may learn exactly the same moves, but when you dance, your dance will look totally different from that of the other dancer, simply because your body moves differently.
This is why I never ask my dancers to dance in a line and try to do the ballet thing of all being in time with each other. As long as they are all doing hip figure 8’s or a hip circle or a chest circle or a hip flick or a camel, I don’t care whether they are all synchronised or even if their various moves look really weird…. that is their body, shaping the move.
for taking extra training classes in order to become a
‘professional’, that is just a money-making scheme by some
teachers. Unless the laws in the
If you study carefully with a particular teacher, you will be dancing that teacher’s dance – not your dance.
I have found workshops to be a waste of money and time, as there is too much input in too short a time and you get so tired you cannot absorb what is being taught. It is better to learn slowly, at your own pace. However, you may enjoy the feeling of lots of belly dancers all involved in belly dancing at the same time and place. The sense of ‘belonging’ can be very uplifting, so treat it more as a social event than as a serious learning experience. You will learn some good moves, but when you consider the amount of time spent and the usually high cost, then you may return home feeling ‘was it worth it?’.
You will never stop learning. You will see a dancer doing a move you like and you will teach your body to do that move. There are many, many video’s out there.
Have a look at www.worlddancenewyork.com she has a couple of excellent DVDs.