Sahara Dance

FAQ

Answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about the studio and our raison d’étre.

Saharabesque!
Saharabesque!
Under A Desert Moon
Sahara Dance Student Showcase

What should I wear to class?↑ top

Wear whatever makes you feel beautiful! Comfortable dance clothing such as stretch pants and a fitted sports/tank top or t-shirt is recommended for dance technique correction.

Loose clothing (such as sweat pants or long t-shirts) prevents the teacher from seeing if you are executing the movements correctly. A hip scarf is recommended to frame hip movement as you develop those fabulous shimmies, but you won’t need one for your first class. Please do not wear glass beaded hip scarves as they can break and cut feet.

You can dance in bare feet, ballet slippers or non-marking rubber-soled jazz shoes (no black-soled, street or hard-soled shoes please). Be aware that some non-marking shoes do scuff our floor. To keep our floors healthy, we will ask you to remove shoes that damage the dance floor.

Sahara Dancewear and hip scarves are available for sale at the Tenleytown, Downtown, Silver Spring, and Virginia studios.

What is Sahara Dance?↑ top

Sahara Dance is a boutique dance studio dedicated to creating a community for belly dancers and elevating the art of belly dance. We dance to share the joy and beauty of Middle Eastern dance through artistry, thoughtful innovation and quality classes. We opened Sahara Dance to create a community around the shared vision of belly dance as an art form.

Our recipe for quality belly dance classes includes:

  • consistency among faculty in following a shared curriculum
  • low student-to-faculty ratios
  • thoughtful lesson plans and choreography
  • high-quality performance opportunities for students
  • a commitment to growth as dancers and individuals

Come join us as we shimmy in the next generation of belly dancers!

What style of belly dance is taught?↑ top

A unique blend of modern Egyptian, American and Lebanese style dance characterizes the signature Sahara Dance technique. Particular emphasis is placed on body awareness, proper alignment and clean movement execution.

Class structure is based on a Western format of clear movement breakdowns, drilling the basics, hands-on corrections and integrating movements through combinations, choreography and improvisational exercises. Above all else, Sahara Dance celebrates the joy, femininity and individual expression inherent in Middle Eastern dance.

Where are the Sahara Dance studios?↑ top

We have five studio locations: Sahara Dance Central, Sahara Dance Downtown, Sahara Dance Dupont, Sahara Dance Silver Spring, and Sahara Dance Virginia.

Sahara Dance Central, our main studio, is located in Tenleytown on the Red Line metro. The address is 4433 Wisconsin Avenue. Parking is plentiful and the Metro is just minutes away!

Sahara Dance Downtown hosts classes on weekday evenings and is located at 914 G Street, NW, next to the Chinatown/Gallery Place Metro.

Sahara Dance Dupont Circle hosts weekday evening classes and is located at the Washington, DC JCC. Classes are held in the Irwin P. Edlavitch Building on 1529 Sixteenth Street, NW, (16th and Q) and is accessible from the Dupont Circle Metro.

Sahara Dance Silver Spring is located at the Maryland Youth Ballet on 926 Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring, MD. It is accessible from the Silver Spring (Red Line) Metro and plenty of parking is available in the Wayne Avenue Garage (between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street).

Sahara Dance Virginia is located at Theater on the Run on 3700 South 4 Mile Run Drive in Arlington, VA. It is just across the bridge from Shirlington shopping area. There is a parking lot behind the building, with an entrance from Nelson Street. The entrance to the building is from the parking lot, under the blue awning that says “Cultural Affairs.”

When do classes start?↑ top

Classes are taught on a semester-based curriculum, with three semesters each year. New classes begin in January (16 weeks), May (15 weeks) and September (14 weeks). Within each semester, we offer two half-term sessions (7 to 8 weeks) of Beginner I Belly Dance Technique, drumming, and other specialty classes. Please visit our classes page to see our current schedule of classes.

What if I miss a class?↑ top

We know how busy and unpredictable life can be, so we offer a flexible make up policy. You may make up missed classes in any open technique or specialty class at the same level or below during the current session. You can even make up a class before you miss it. Full/Closed classes are posted on the website, and are not eligible for make ups. There is no need to arrange your make up class with the studio, just let the studio assistant know that you are making up a class and present your class card to be punched.

*Make up slots are available on a first come, first served basis. If classes are cancelled because of inclement weather, you may make up the class as stated above. Missed classes must be made up during the same session and can not roll over to future sessions. Please plan accordingly to make sure you can take all of your classes before your session ends.

Do you offer drop-in classes?↑ top

We do not offer drop-in classes. Our classes are enrollment-based, and follow a cumulative curriculum (i.e., each lesson builds on material learned the previous week). However, we do offer a one-time $20 guest pass for out-of-town visitors or students wishing to try a class before registering. There’s no need to set up the guest pass in advance. Please check our current class schedule to find an available class. We recommend arriving ~15 minutes before the class begins to set up the guest pass with the studio assistant. We also regularly offer one-day and weekend workshops.

Which class should I take?↑ top

Most students new to belly dance or seeking a belly dance refresher should start with a Beginner I Technique class. We offer two half-term Beginner I sessions each semester (Zeina in the first half; Aziza in the second half). Each session runs 7- to 8-weeks, and covers completely different material. You can start with either session. After completing both sessions of Beginner I Technique (Zeina & Aziza), deciding on whether to move up or repeat a level depends on your dance intentions. Read more about our class levels. If you have questions, please contact us to discuss placement.

Is parking available at the studios? Are they Metro accessible?↑ top

Parking is usually plentiful at Sahara Dance Central (street parking), Sahara Dance Silver Spring (Wayne Avenue Garage), and Sahara Dance Virginia (parking lot behind Theater on the Run). There is limited street parking at Sahara Dance Downtown and Sahara Dance Dupont, both of which are easily accessible by the Metro, red line.

Sahara Dance Central, Sahara Dance Downtown, Sahara Dance Silver Spring, and Sahara Dance Dupont are all easily accessible by the Metro, red line. Sahara Dance Virginia is not Metro-accessible.

Do you offer belly dance performances
at weddings, bridal showers, etc?↑ top

Yes, members of Sahara Dance Entertainment regularly perform at bridal showers, birthday and bachelorette parties, weddings, festivals, and embassies throughout the DC metro area. To inquire about performance rates and availability, please contact us.

Do you have to be thin to belly dance? Full-figured?↑ top

No way! Belly dance is great fun and exercise for everyone of all ages, shapes and sizes. The movements are natural, friendly and flattering for all body types. Come see for yourself!