Do I need previous experience to join classes at Arani Bellydance of McKinney?
Not at all! New students can jump right in! Classes are multi-level where new students are taught the basics and then options are introduced to everyone. Each student can decide when they feel ready to add on another layer of movement - such as arms - based on their personal progress. We revisit the material throughout the month so everyone gets lots of repetition and opportunity for practice. Ultimately, the goal is to have a great time and enjoy the journey.
What age range are classes geared for?
My weekly classes are for adults (18yrs+). I do welcome younger students, 16yrs + if another adult is participating in the class.
For children, I'm happy to teach workshops for homeschool groups, church groups, clubs, GSA Scout events (there is even a badge), and birthday parties upon request. Please contact me for more information.
Are classes ONLY for women?
Great question! Most people assume belly dance is only for women but that isn't the case. Arabic dance, like all dance, is universal. Men dance waltz, salsa, tango line dance, do ballet, debke, and, yes, they belly dance. Arabic dance is based in folk dance so there are many options for men who love Middle Eastern music and want a more masculine "flavor". Debke lessons are a wonderful option! However, traditional belly dance classes area the ideal fit for those who want to learn the graceful, sensual movements of this art.
Raena is supportive of all serious students, and strives to be inclusive, but (due to negative past experiences) she must screen interested male students. Please send Raena an email explaining why you are interested in classes and we will discuss your application. A referral is encouraged and extremely helpful in approving legitimate applications.
You only offer a beginner class but I have some prior belly dance experience. What are my options?
Contact Raena to discuss your situation. All dancers benefit from returning to the basics periodically to recondition to prevent injury and refresh their technique. One person's definition of "beginner class" may be very challenging to someone else. Come take a class with Raena and see how challenged you feel. If necessary, Raena will offer optional skill layers to the foundational movements in order to make your individual "dance vocabulary" more challenging. As current students advance, future classes will be added that focus on intermediate level skills and beyond.
How long before I graduate out of a beginner level classes?
Your progress depends on your goals and what you put into your dance! Once a week classes and no practicing in between means you will advance more slowly than someone dancing twice a week and investing time in their dance practice at home. On average, most dancers are considered "beginner" for the first year or two of classes. Some students don't care about their "level" as dancing is a creative outlet and they are just happy to see progress over time.
Keep in mind, even seasoned professionals practice basic drills to prevent bad habits and keep their movements clean and strong. A strong foundation is important for building on future dance skills, no matter your skill level!
Do you have babysitting? Can my child come and wait?
It's tough to get away for some "ME" time when you are a mom! There is no on-site babysitting available but you are welcome to bring a responsible person to watch your child in the waiting area. An older, more independent child is also welcome as long as they are responsible and not disruptive. Please notify Raena ahead of time as the studio may require you to sign an extra liability waiver.
What if I have to miss a class due to vacation, illness, or work?
Talk to Raena ahead of time for vacation or business travel. While monthly tuition is non-refundable, you can drop-in to another class time that month to make up for your missed class. Makeups do NOT carry over to the next month so, if you regularly miss multiple classes, you may want to consider a once a week class routine or pay PER class ($15) and join us periodically.
Uhhh, do I have to perform? OR.... OMG! When do I get to perform? I can't wait!
No one has to perform but you will be encouraged to do so when you show readiness for a debut. For those ready to share their dance, Raena will periodically offer an opportunity to participate in a local "hafla", which is an event hosted by dancers for dancers. It's a great way to show off your new skills without the stress of a public venue. Students can dance solo, collaborate on choreo and dance with some of their fellow students, or the entire group may dance together performing one of Raena's class choreographies. There are lots of options for each person's comfort level!