FAQ

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 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.

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). 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 studios.

WHAT CLASS MATERIALS SHOULD I BRING?

Hip Scarf

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.

Finger Cymbals

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.

Veil

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.

Dance Shoes

Optional. You can dance in bare feet, ballet or rubber-soled jazz shoes (no black-soled, street or hard-soled shoes please). To purchase, see Yellow Pages listing under Dancing Supplies.

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?

Our main studio is in Tenleytown (Sahara Dance Central) and we have a location in downtown Silver Spring (Sahara Dance Silver Spring).

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 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).

WHEN DO CLASSES START?

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

DO YOU OFFER DROP-IN CLASSES?

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?

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. We also offer a 8-week Introduction to Belly Dance class, which is a broad sampling of many aspects of belly dance (movements, rhythms, styles, props, etc.). 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?

Parking is usually plentiful at Sahara Dance Central (street parking) and Sahara Dance Silver Spring (Wayne Avenue Garage).

Sahara Dance Central, and Sahara Dance Silver Spring are easily accessible by the Metro, red line.

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.

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 fullfilling experience in our studios! We hope that these guidelines will help make your experience a positive one. Questions or suggestions are welcome anytime, just drop a note in the suggestion box by the door at the studio or 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!

STUDIO POLICIES

Class Cards & Enrollment
Class cards are non-transferable and non-refundable. Class cards are not valid after their expiration date. Lost class cards can be replaced for $10. Returned checks incur a $25 processing fee.
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. Class cancellations due to inclimate weather or other events will will be posted on the homepage. 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 that is not full, at the same level or below, during the current session. Full/Closed classes are posted on the classes page and lists are available at the studio. There is no need to call, just let the person at the registration desk know that you are making up a class and present your class card to be punched.
Missed classes must be made up during the current session and cannot be carried over. If classes are cancelled because of inclement weather you may make up the class as stated above.
Substitute Teachers
Sahara Dance reserves the right to have substitute teachers for classes. All efforts will be made to provide a Sahara Dance teacher.
Liability
Sahara Dance is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged personal property. Sahara Dance and its teachers are not liable for any injuries sustained during class or on the premises. Sahara Dance reserves the right to bar any person from studio premises 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 at the studio.
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 our feet. You can dance in bare feet, ballet or rubber-soled jazz shoes (no black-soled, street or hard-soled shoes please).

STUDIO ETIQUETTE

  • Our nice wood dance floor will only stay so with your help! Please do not walk on the dance floor with shoes. Please leave shoes in the designated shoe cubbies in the reception area and keep all belongings in the dressing room.
  • Please sign in and present your class card at the registration desk at the start of each class. No student will be permitted to take class without their class card. Replacement cards cost $10.
  • Benches are for behinds only :-). Please store your bags on the shelves in the dressing room. Please do not bring valuables to the studio. Sahara Dance is not responsible for lost or stolen personal items.
  • All classes begin with a warm up designed to stretch and strengthen core muscles used in belly dance; classes end with Moroccan mint tea and sesame treats. Please arrive to your classes promptly so you will not disrupt the class in session. For your own safety warm up if you will be late and please do not chew gum in class.
  • Though parking is plentiful around the studio, cars have been broken into on streets next to the park. Please walk in pairs as you leave the studio and do not leave bags or valuables in your car.
  • Visitors are not allowed in the studio while class is in session.
  • 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.