Answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about the studio.
What if I miss a Class?
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.
*Make up slots are available on a first come, first served basis. If classes are cancelled (e.g. 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.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO CLASS?
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).
Sahara Dancewear and hip scarves are available for purchase in our online souk (store).
WHAT CLASS MATERIALS SHOULD I BRING?
A hip scarf is highly recommended to help see the movement as you develop those fabulous shimmies. Fun Sahara Dancewear and hip scarves are available for sale at the studios, or you may use a large scarf, shawl, or evening wrap. Please do not sit down in glass beaded hip scarves as the beads can easily break and end up cutting our feet. Hip scarves are available for purchase in our online souk (store).
Not required for Beginner students; required for Low Intermediate and above.Recommended professional brands include Saroyan “Arabesque” or Turquoise 2-1/8″ size; or other small, two slot designs.
Not required for Beginner students; required for Low Intermediate and above.Beautiful china silk veils are available for purchase at the studio. You may also make your own with approximately 3 yards of chiffon, silk, or lightweight, flowing fabric. Hemmed fabric is recommended. Veils are available for purchase in our online souk (store).
Optional. You can dance in bare feet, ballet or rubber-soled jazz shoes (no black-soled, street or hard-soled shoes please).
WHAT IS SAHARA DANCE?
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?
A unique blend of modern Egyptian, American and Lebanese style dances characterize 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?
Currently, we are only offering classes online via Zoom. All Zoom links and instructions are sent to students when you register for a class.
WHEN DO CLASSES START?
Classes are taught on a multi-week curriculum. Currently, new classes are scheduled in four-week series. Within each series, we offer several Beginner Belly Dance classes, as well as specialty classes. Please visit our classes page to see our current schedule of classes.
DO YOU 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), so for the most valuable experience we recommend registering for 4-week sessions. However, currently our classes are by donation so students wishing to try a class before registering can simply donate an appropriate amount for just one or two classes. Please check our current class schedule to find an available class. We also regularly offer workshops which offer a way to experience a belly dance class before committing to a series (though note that workshops are 90 minutes or two hours, so longer than a regular class).
WHICH CLASS SHOULD I TAKE?
Most students new to belly dance or seeking a belly dance refresher should start with a Beginner I Technique class. This class goes in-depth and provides a strong foundation in the basics, required for progressing to more advanced levels. Read more about our class levels. If you have questions, please contact us to discuss placement.
DO YOU OFFER BELLY DANCE PERFORMANCES AT WEDDINGS, BRIDAL SHOWERS, ETC?
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 complete the Sahara Dance Entertainment booking form. [NOTE: Our regular availability to participate may be restricted due to coronavirus-related local government guidance or regulations.]
DO YOU HAVE TO BE THIN TO BELLY DANCE? FULL-FIGURED?
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!
Policies & Etiquette
As a student, you become a part of a community of belly dancers. Our timeless art form is practiced by women and men of all ages. Sahara Dance seeks to be your home for Middle Eastern dance and we hope you’ll join in the many community events we offer such as performances, costume trunk shows, student salons and live drumming jams.
At Sahara Dance, we want you to have a fun and fulfilling experience in our studios! We hope that these guidelines will help make your experience a positive one. Questions or suggestions are welcome anytime, just send them through our contact form. Our goal is to provide a supportive and fun environment for you to cultivate the art of belly dance. We look forward to sharing the joy of dance with you!
- Class Cancellations
- Sahara Dance reserves the right to cancel any class due to low enrollment. Students enrolled will be given the option to transfer the class or receive a refund. Notice of class cancellations due to inclement weather or other events will will be posted on the homepage and/or emailed to enrolled students. Cancelled classes will not be rescheduled; students may use their class cards to make up cancelled classes as a “missed class” (see below Making up Missed Classes). Extra make-up classes may be offered.
- Making Up Missed Classes
- You may make up missed classes in any technique or combination class, at the same level or below, during the current session. Full/Closed classes are posted on the classes page.
- Missed classes must be made up during the current session and cannot be carried over.
- Substitute Teachers
- Sahara Dance reserves the right to have substitute teachers for classes. All efforts will be made to provide a Sahara Dance teacher.
- Sahara Dance and its teachers are not liable for any injuries sustained during class. Sahara Dance reserves the right to bar any person from online classes based on disruptive behavior and/or management discretion.
- Dress Code
- Wear whatever makes you feel beautiful and enjoy celebrating your body! Comfortable dance clothing such as stretch pants and a close-fitting sports/tank tops or t-shirts are recommended for dance technique correction. If you wear clothing that is loose (such as sweat pants or long t-shirts), the teacher will not be able to see if you are executing the movements correctly. Fun Sahara Dancewear clothing is available for sale online.
- A hip scarf is highly recommended to help see the movement as you develop those fabulous shimmies. Any shawl will do, though fancy hip scarves are available for sale at the studio. Please do not sit down in glass beaded hip scarves as the beads can easily break and end up cutting your feet. You can dance in bare feet, ballet or rubber-soled jazz shoes (no black-soled, street or hard-soled shoes please).
- Work at your own pace. Do not do any anything that causes you pain; if you find that you are in pain during or after class, please notify the teacher immediately. If you have any preexisting injuries or physical limitations, or if you are pregnant, consult with your doctor before taking classes.
- For online classes, please stay muted unless you are asking a question.
- If you have technical difficulties, a Sahara Dance Studio Assistant (SA) will be there to assist you.