FAQ for Students:

What do I wear to class?

You should wear comfortable clothes, typically tights, top and bare feet.

Do I need any dance experience?

No. As Middle Eastern Dance is a very unique art form we have found that even dancers experienced in other forms of dance including eastern dances, need to start at the beginner’s class and move their way up. Due to the intricate movements learned and performed, the student will learn each movement step by step and will be gradually introduced into the technique of layering moves.

Am I too old or young to dance?

Middle Eastern Dance is appropriate for women of all ages. The dance can be accommodated for all types of bodies, young or old. All you need is a sense of humor and a good attitude. Check out my Teen Dancers section to find out more information on Middle Eastern Dance classes specialized for teens.

Can I dance if I’m overweight?

There is no specific body type required to either take classes or perform. Middle Eastern dance can help develop self-confidence by increasing your self-awareness no matter what fitness level you are at.

Will this form of dance help me loose weight?

Definitely. Middle Eastern Dance is a great form of exercise.

What are the benefits of your teen classes?

The classes teach teens self-confidence in a world where we are surrounded by negative media and peer influences. It also teaches them posture and coordination as well as opening their minds to a culture completely different than our own.

FAQ - General

What does Raks Sharki mean?

Raks Sharki is an Arabic term that literally translates to “Oriental Dance” or “Dance of the Orient”.

Where did the word “Bellydance” come from?

The term “belly dance” was coined in 1893 by Sol Bloom, impresario of the Midway Plaisance & “Street in Cairo” exhibit at the Colombian Trade Fair and Exposition (World’s Fair) in Chicago, IL. He did it deliberately, to titillate the dirty minds of the Mid Victorians of that era, who would pay any price to see something they thought was salacious.

In a time when people thought the words “arm” and “leg” were too risque (they called them limbs), you can imagine what they made of that! Mr Bloom calculated correctly and earned himself enough money to finance his later Congressional campaign, which he won. Unfortunately, the name stuck and so did the filthy - minded misinterpretation [that Middle Eastern Dance is sexual]. (Taken from the Article “Roots” from www.casbahdance.org written by Morocco)

Can I dance while I’m pregnant?

Yes, it is said that belly dancing began as a birthing dance. The muscles that you use and the movements that you do are all a benefit to you throughout pregnancy and in the birthing process. Not all the movements are acceptable while pregnant, for example shimmying is a no no. Yet some of the other movements in dance are a huge benefit to you and the baby. Your baby will also enjoy the feeling of you dancing. Check out the Pregnancy section on this website for further information.

Where can I see a Middle Eastern dancer?

You will typically see performances at Lebanese, Turkish and Greek restaurants. Check your local yellow pages for listings of the restaurants in your area and ask if they have dancers. Check the Performance section to find restaurants with dancers in Airdrie and Calgary.

Where can I see the Asianne Troupe perform?

Chautauqua, Airdrie Performing arts season, Airdrie home show, semi-annual Student Shows hosted by various members of the dance community as well as private and corporate functions.

Where can I see the “Arabian Market”

The debut performance of the Arabian Market was in The Bert Church Theatre in Airdrie, Alberta. We have had requests to take the show to Red Deer, Edmonton and other locations. Currently, we are looking for possible venues in various locations. Please check out the Arabian Market section on this page.

Do I have to show my belly?

Contrary to popular belief authentic Middle Eastern Dance clothing is one in which the body is covered from head to toe with accents around the hip area to accentuate the movements. The bedleh, or bra and belt set, was actually invented by Hollywood (western culture) to tantalize its viewers. This type of costuming is now widely used in cabaret style performances and has been adopted both in the western and the eastern world, due to the fact that is has become an expected aspect of the dance by tourists and viewers. This is just one segment of Middle Eastern Dance. There are many variations of Middle Eastern Dance that do not require this type of costuming such as the traditional Cane Dance and Beledi performances. Teen Dancers also typically perform in one piece or more fully covered costumes, such as a midriff blouse and skirt.

If you have a question that was not aswered here or would like more information, feel free to contact us.