Merrybellies Belly Dance Class Descriptions
Jillanna has developed her classes during many years of experience teaching belly dance classes and workshops, and over a decade of study of the art of belly dance, including workshops, classes, and private lessons with nationally and internationally esteemed master teachers. Her academic background includes extensive study of African and Islamic arts, performing arts around the globe, and of course all things related to belly dancing. She earned her masters degree in Art History at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her teaching experience includes art history, writing, and fine arts as well as belly dancing.
Jillanna's qualifications and experience
Belly Dance: Ayoub to Zeffa! Technique-intensive classes providing a comprehensive survey of belly dancing, including rhythm & musical interpretation; break-down of different belly dance styles; extensive cultural and historical background; and intent focus on movements and combinations particular to specific regions, rhythm or musical forms, and dance styles. Classes are open to all levels, but are more challenging than the Beginner classes.
Beginner Belly Dance Classes: Each session includes the basic movements & posture, combinations & choreography, plus more... Beyond the very important foundation built in beginning level or basic classes, various movements are added to the dancers' vocabulary, as well as combinations, that differ daily & from class to class. Partly this is based upon who is in the class, and what they have already learned. I'm very student-focused. The variation is also based upon choreography, if taught for that class, and includes drills & technique intended to help dancers achieve certain movements & combinations plus additional skills & info related to the choreography. For example, in a class learning a drum solo, I emphasize shimmies, pops & locks, rhythms... The basic classes focus on Egyptian style. I don't mix up styles indiscriminately, and do teach recognition of different folkloric & regional/national styles, rhythms, & technique. A beginning level or basic class might also include zills, veils, canes, or another prop, depending on the choreography.
Each class warms up briefly but thoroughly to Middle Eastern music in a flowing series of dance stretches. We then progress to basic movements, and soon into combinations... We move the entire time, with some repetition but lots of interesting variation. Its good for the brain as well as the body! If we are doing a choreography, we generally focus on that for the last 15 minutes of class. Sometimes we focus more or even less on choreography, depending on the needs & interests of the class members.
ALWAYS feel free to ask questions, express what you want, and tell me when something works for you or doesn't. These classes are for you. I'm flexible, and I want everyone to find the right class and have the best possible learning experience.
Advanced Beginner, Mixed Levels, and Intermediate: Moves at a quicker pace, and introduces more layers and levels. Recommended for dancers who have taken at least two beginner level classes, or who have had previous dance experience. Many students choose to take several beginning level classes, or choose their classes based on the choreography to be taught in the class rather than the "level".
Intermediate and Advanced Level: Dancers who have perfected basic isolations & posture and have gained a vocabulary of movements, who wish to move along more quickly, may join the intermediate classes. The choreography in these classes, if included, is more complex, and is also taught at a faster pace. The combinations are more layered. Intermediate level use of props (if included) requires more skill and experience. These classes also offer more performance preparation exercises, and are smaller and more individualized. Improvisational skills are furthered (believe it or not, you're already learning improv skills from day 1 of your beginning level class). Musical interpretation/understanding, stage dynamics & presence, and other skills pertinent to choreography creation are also furthered in these classes.
Advanced students will receive additional training outside of their regular classes. Workshops, performance opportunities, and occasional advanced level classes are offered. Definition of advanced: at least 2 years dance experience (consistent, with on-going study and performances), which must include mastery of all basic isolations, ability to layer movements, some improvisational skill & experience, and musical understanding. An advanced student does not have to be a performing professional, but someone who has dedicated herself to mastery of technique and on-going study for an extended time.
ShimmyFit & Boot Camps: A workout.. Moves quickly, and provides a cardio & muscle toning workout... Does teach the isolations & combinations, with a focus on fitness. Definitely easier after you learn the moves!
Burlesque Classes: Session may focus on classic, modern, or belly dance fusion styles of burlesque technique and choreography, and cultural/historical background, pin-up style and poses, development of burlesque characters and performance art. Join us for great exercise and lots of fun.
Technique Intensives: Like the ShimmyFit & Boot Camp classes, these do not include choreography. Often these will have a specific focus. They include instruction similar to the first part of the regular classes, with additional exercises and drills.. These are best for those who have had at least one basic class. Sometimes they are mixed levels, intermediate or advanced level.
Choreography Intensives: Focuses only on the choreography and movements within the choreography.