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Frequently Asked Questions

CoVID SafeAre dance studios open again?

Yes, many studios are open again! We'll be running in-person classes from Monday 20 July at several locations around Sydney. So far, we can confirm Chatswood, Sydney CBD, Rozelle, Miranda and Roselands. Stay tuned for updates about our other locations.

We have a COVID-Safe Plan so that you can attend with confidence, knowing we are working to keep you safe. However, if you prefer to stay home, our classes are also streamed online via ZOOM. Choose what's best for you.

Can I learn online?

During the health crisis, dance studios were closed. We discovered that interactive online classes were a fabulous substitute, so we'll be keeping that option for you. Live-stream online or virtual classes mean you are present in real time with your instructor and classmates. It isn't pre-recorded. You can ask questions and get feedback; we can laugh and learn and be silly together as always. It's the next best thing to being in class together!

How does it work?

Classes are live streamed via the Zoom platform: it's easy to use and allows you to see and (optionally) be seen by the teachers as well as your dance buddies. Live streaming means it's happening in real time: it's not prerecorded. You can ask questions and get feedback; we can laugh and learn and be silly together as always. It's the next best thing to being in class together!

For details and easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up Zoom, please see "How it Works".

How do I join?

How much is it?

However, you only pay full price for your first course. After that, all additional courses for the same person in the same term are HALF PRICE. See the Enrolments page for further details.

I've taken a few classes before, or I dance at home - I need an advanced level.

Hold your horses... Like all art forms, bellydance is deep and complex. There's just so much to learn! We actually recommend that students take Fundamentals classes for at least a year. Our signature Bellydance Fundamentals Technique class is perfect for all levels, including those who've grown up dancing but never taken formal lessons, or coming from a diffferent dance style. If you have more experience, we'll challenge you to bring more control, nuance, elegance and musicality to your dancing. And your teacher will let you know when you're ready to try the next level.

Can I watch a class first?

When you are our student, we want you to feel completely safe and comfortable. I'm sure you wouldn't want somebody watching while you're learning! That's why we have a strict no observers policy. But there are several videos on this website, as well as an active FaceBook Page and Instagram feed. If you're still not sure about joining, have a look and a read through all of the info here, to get a feel for our vibe in class.

I can't come every week, do I have to pay for all 10 classes?

Right now, enrolments are based on the 10-week term. There are a few reasons for this. First, this is how you will learn and benefit the most from classes; second, it motivates you to keep coming; and third, because of the restrictions around student numbers in studios, reporting requirements in the COVID era, and technical complexities of online classes.
If you can't come every week, contact us and we can discuss your options.

What should I wear/bring?

Wear comfortable, stretchy clothing that doesn't restrict your movement. Dance pants, gym pants, yoga pants or leggings are recommended for the bottom half so that the teacher can see what your legs and knees are doing. Avoid jeans and skirts. For the top half, t-shirts or singlets - you don't have to bare your tummy!

For bellydance, bare feet are fine, but bring along some socks, jiffies or ballet slippers for turns and for when it's cold. A colourful, jingly scarf for the hips can help you get in the mood and see how your hips are moving. If you have any other exotic accessories you'd like to wear, feel free!

Zumba ® fitness classes involve slightly higher impact, so jazz sneakers are recommended. If you don't have any, good sneakers with non-marking soles will do. Make sure they aren't too grippy to stop you turning.

For Yoga, we recommend a yoga mat and some other props, but we can also help you find substitutes around the home. Likewise, while you can use hand weights and a yoga mate for Bellydance Fitness, a towel and a couple of water bottles will do the trick.

And whichever type of dance or exercise you're doing, always bring a bottle of water.

But I'm too old/young/overweight/thin/unfit...

You're ready to start bellydancing, Zumba Gold or even yoga just as you are! Dancers come in all ages, shapes and sizes. It's common for classes to include girls as young as 4 and as old as 75, and of all fitness levels.

If you haven't enjoyed traditional fitness activities, you may find a new passion for movement when it's accompanied by exotic music, colourful veils, and tinkling finger cymbals. Even if you're already physically fit, bellydance provides a new physical and mental challenge as you learn to move your body in new ways.

Zumba is a higher intensity class than bellydance, but it's still Zumba Gold, which is the the gentler, lower impact version compared to in gyms. We will gradually increase the intensity level as the weeks pass and your fitness improves. The moves can also be modified for those who have injuries to look after.

Starting a new dance class is like starting any other program of physical activity: check with your doctor first and let the teacher know, especially if you have back and joint problems, are very overweight or unfit, or are pregnant.

Our only high intensity class is Bellydance Fitness, and we recommend having moderate fitness already (as well as bellydance experience) before taking this class.

I've never danced in my life. Can I do it?

Give it a try! The movements of bellydance are natural to women's bodies, and in many cultures girls grow up dancing, without ever taking classes. Bellydance moves are explained so that you understand them and your own body. Zumba ® fitness moves are so simple, you can pick them up just by watching and copying - but we break them down and explain them too. You'll find dancing improves your co-ordination, posture, grace and flexibility. Our Yoga Fundamentals classes are specifically designed to be beginner-friendly, because we want everybody to experience the benefits it can bring to body and mind.

Can I, or will I have to perform?

If you want to perform, there are opportunities at the end of every second term for Fundamentals students. In the Beyond Beginners / Intermediate Bellydance classes, and in some Fundamentals classes, we'll work on choreographies for the Middle Eastern Dance Festival and other community events. It's a real treat to dress up and show your friends and family what you've learnt!

But if you don't want to perform, you will never be asked to. (Even if you take the choreography class.) In fact, even if you are keen, chances are it will take at least a couple of years of training before you're ready to begin performing solos even at student events, and you'll then need much more experience before you can think about turning professional. The focus at Inspire! Bellydance is on enjoying the learning process and the benefits that come with it, not preparing to perform.

What if I (have to) miss a class?

Well, good and bad news. Due to the 10-week course structure, we cannot offer you an individual make-up class, nor credit for any missed classes after the end of term. However, you are welcome to catch up by coming along to classes at other times (at any location, provided there is space), at any time during the term. Passes strictly expire at the end of the term of issue, so don't wait until the end to catch up. By arrangement, you can also give a class credit to a friend, to introduce them to Belly Dancing, Zumba ® fitness or Yoga!

Can men join the classes?

While men can and do bellydance, Inspire! Bellydance classes are open to women only, because many women feel more comfortable learning in an all-female environment. Men wishing to learn are welcome to contact Rachel about individual classes.

Can I bring my child(ren) with me??

Mothers are welcome to bring their daughters as young as 4 years old if they are mature enough to participate. When enrolling with a paying adult, and if space permits in the class, girls under 18 are half price. The adult is expected to take responsibility for their child and ensure class is not disrupted. Women aged 14 and over may enrol individually with parental permission (at full price). We reserve the right to charge full price for students and girls if the class is at capacity, so please enquire first to check.

If you're taking the class at home via Zoom, of course it's up to you whether your kids join in.

Where are the classes held?

Online, in your living room! Or Chatswood, Sydney CBD, Epping, Rozelle, Miranda and Roselands.

When should I arrive?

Right on time. Arrive ready to go as we are not allowed to "congregate" (ie wait around) inside the studios. But don't be late: it's important to participate in the warm-up to prepare your body for the rest of the class.

For online classes, you can tune in a few minutes ahead and chat with your classmates.

How long are the classes?

Generally classes are fifty-five minutes long, allowing five minutes' change-over between classes.

Do you teach hens' parties?

Absolutely! A bellydance class or performance is a great way to celebrate with the girls at a hens' party or kitchen tea. You will learn a series of moves that you can use later on the dance floor, and put them together into a short fun choreography.

How about parties for children?

Have an Arabian or Ancient Egyptian themed birthday party for your daughter or son! Suitable for ages 6 and up, children will be dressed up as Arabian princes/ses for up to an hour of dance class combined with some performance. Fun games are used to learn dance moves, accompanied by props such as veils (magic carpets) and (toy) swords. The children's understanding of Egypt is also enriched as they learn evocatively named moves like the Camel, the Snake, the Pyramid, Walk like an Egyptian, and Hot Desert Sand. Plus, the mother of the birthday girl/boy receives a voucher for a free class.

I want to learn faster! Are private classes available?

Yes, private classes can be arranged at any of our studio locations, or your own home. They are a personalised way to speed up your learning, to address specific needs, or develop a choreography just for you. Rates for one student are $75 per hour (plus studio hire fees or travel charges where required). Classes can also be arranged for groups, such as hens' parties and birthdays for adults and children.

I'd like to introduce someone else. Are gift vouchers available?

Yes, gift vouchers are available and make unique gifts for friends or partners. Give a voucher for a performance, a private class or a term of group classes. A free class voucher is given to every bride-to-be at hens' parties and kitchen teas. See the Vouchers page for details.

Where's that page about zills?

Here: Preparing your Zills. This is a guide I wrote for how to prepare and elasticise your zills (sagat, finger cymbals) before playing them. Enjoy!

How do I review Inspire Bellydance?

You can do a quick star rating or a longer review for us in one or both of two places:
• Our FB page https://www.facebook.com/inspirebellydance/
• Our Google page – for some reason it doesn’t work to link it, you have to Google search for either "Inspire Bellydance" or "Bellydancer Rachel", then a description comes up on the right hand side and you click “Submit a review”.
Thanks for helping other customers know what to expect!

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