Hi All - Thanks for the great topic! I think that that 'pure belly dance' can certainly be used as a fitness tool, but I would certainly try to stay with the dancers rather that the fitness gurus. Unfortunately it seems as if lots of 'fitness folks' think they are qualified to teach belly dance by watching a few DVD's or taking a few classes.
The great thing about the dance is the amount of resources from fabulous dancers we have available on DVD and streaming. If you are unable to find a great class in your area I would check out any of the Cheeky Girls Production DVD's produced by Michele Joyce. These tend to be fabulous resources at a very reasonable cost. www.cheekygirlsproductions.com/store/home.
You can also purchase these DVD's though Amazon.
Aziza's Belly Dance Practice Companion is one of my all time favorite workouts. The 21 minute shimmy drill will not only kick your rear, but it will also increase your stamina and range of movement as a dancer. Hands down this is one of the best purchases I have made as a dancer. (Believe me, I have close to 100 instructional DVD's- It's a sickness really :) www.bellydance.org/shop/aziza-ultimate-bel
This is also usually available on Amazon, however it is temporarily out of stock.
Workshops are another great resource. I was petrified for my first few workshops- but the dance community is so fabulous! They are almost always welcoming and you can generally find workshops that cater to all levels. I would suggest checking out a belly dance specific forum to find out as much information about the workshop instructor as you can. www.orientaldancer.net/
are great forums to learn about workshops, DVD's and instructors that you can take advantage of.
Also, Suhalia Salimpour has streaming classes online. www.suhailaonlineclasses.com/about/
It is expensive, but you certainly get your money's worth if you take advantage of the classes. I will definitely say her classes are not for the faint of heart! They are HARD, but if you are looking for the fitness aspect, she will certainly kick your butt- I think of her as the 'Jillian Michael's' of belly dance. There are a lot of folks that love her style/hate her style- but she will make you a strong dancer!
Sorry to go on for so long- just finished this season of Project Belly Dance (Belly Dance Reality Show- Awesome!!!) www.topbellydancer.com/s2e1.html
So I am a bit pumped at the moment!
"Dance like Nobody's watching"
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