Tips For Bellydance Teachers

On the business side:

  • Decide on and stick to your payment and refund policies.
  • Sign contracts with any assistants, trainee teachers, or new teachers.

  • Be a professional - start and finish all your classes on time.

On the creative side:

  • Stay at least ten steps ahead of your students. Achieve this by continuing your own study of dance. Attend classes and workshops of not just Bellydance, but of all different types of dance so as to keep learning.
  • Choreographing is a craft that requires practise, so always have new choreographies in progress.

On the teaching side:

  • Your attitude will determine the atmosphere for your classes, so be warm, friendly, and down-to-earth to create a welcoming class environment.

  • Gain your students' confidence by:

    • Learning their names.

    • Using positive language.

    • Being reliable and reassuring.

  • Keep your students motivated by:

    • Making classes fun.

    • Being enthusiastic.

    • Praising them liberally.

    • Finding new and interesting ways for them to practise old skills.

    • Giving options for people at different levels so that no one feels left out.

    • Helping them reach big dance achievements via small steps.

    • Acknowledging effort, even if it doesn't lead to success.

  • Help your students reach their dancing goals by:

    • Planning your lessons.

    • Having well-structured classes.

    • Working them hard from the beginning to the end of the class.

    • Finding a balance between drilling old skills and teaching new ones.

    • Correcting your students. They're not there to be mollycoddled and falsely flattered with non-stop praise. They're grown adults who are there to learn - teach them well by kindly correcting their mistakes.

  • Communicate with your students effectively by:

    • Being clear, consistent and concise.

    • Using not just language, but facial expression and body language.

  • Teach your students how to use props. (NOTE: So many teachers neglect teaching zills, but it's an important aspect of Bellydance. When teaching zills, wear yours but have your students either just use their fingers or only have a zill on each middle finger. That way you're the only one making noise and they'll be able to hear and follow your playing.)


  • As the saying goes: befriend in haste, repent at leisure. Choose your Bellydance friends wisely.

  • Steer away from making friends with students. However, friendships can sometimes develop (you are all adults, after all) so if you end up being friends with a a student, set some ground rules about how the friendship is to be conducted during class.

  • Be prepared for the disheartening experience of training advanced students as performers and teachers only to have them turn their back on you or act ungratefully in some way. It's a sad reality and happens all the time.
  • If you're lucky enough to find a more experienced teacher who is willing to advise you, listen to her carefully so that you can learn from her experiences.
  • If you become a mentor to a new teacher, you might have the awful experience of having your mentee turn her back on you when she gets to the point of feeling independent. This type of thing happens all the time - unfortunately most people are very ungrateful once they feel they no longer need your help.

Look after yourself:

  • As a Bellydance teacher, you're in the health and fitness industry, so it's important that you're the picture of health and fitness.

  • The feet of a dancer are where movement starts and finishes. Your feet are one of your most valuable assets in dance, so don't teach barefoot. Protect your feet by wearing flat ballet shoes or jazz sneakers in class.

  • Too much of a good thing can be detrimental. With Bellydancing specifically, I'm talking about over-flexibility in the spine caused many hours of Bellydance every week. Counter this by strengthening your core with Pilates and Yoga.

  • When teaching many hours of class back to back, take a towel to wipe down sweat and deodorant to keep fresh. Stay hydrated and energetic by drinking and snacking between classes. Teach 55 minute classes so that you have five minutes between each class to have a quick drink and/or a little food. If you're teaching a full day workshop, instead of a big break for lunch, have a ten minute break at the end of each hour. This also prevents you and the students from becoming ravenous by lunch time and having a big meal which does nothing but make you feel heavy and sleepy for the remainder of the workshop. For minimal mess and maximum nutrition, the best drinks and snacks are: water, pure fruit juice, nuts, seeds, grapes, berries, bananas, and crackers.

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Quick Mediations For Workaholics
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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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