How does it work?
Classes begin with a warm up that may involve some yoga to loosen up the body and prepare for dance. During the warm up you may also be introduced to some gentle dance moves to give you a feel for what the class will include.
After your warm up, your teacher will show you how to do some basic dance moves, as well as helping you with improvisation. You will learn to isolate certain parts of your body as you dance and to use different muscles – meaning that your whole body will get a workout.
Make sure you wear something comfortable to dance in – leggings and a t-shirt are a good choice. You will also need a scarf to tie around your hips. Most teachers will expect you to dance barefoot, so there’s no need for special shoes.
Is it for me?
Classes are tailored to different levels of ability, so whether you are a beginner or an advanced student of Egyptian dance, there will be a program to suit you. If you have previously studied other forms of Middle Eastern dance but not Egyptian dance, it is advisable to attend a beginners’ session, as dance styles can vary a lot.
If you have any injuries (in particular back or neck difficulties,) let your teacher know before you begin classes.
Egyptian dance is mostly performed by women, but there are forms that can be danced by men – so boys don’t need to feel left out.
Good to know
Egyptian dance is also referred to as ‘Raqs Sharqi’ – ‘Raqs’ means ‘dance’ and ‘Sharqi’ means ‘East’.
Particularly beautiful examples of this dance can be found in Egyptian films from the 1950s.