Answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Our most frequently asked question is
"How do you say 'Ghawazee' and what does it mean?"
The word ghawazee (singular, Ghaziya) means "invaders" and the Anglicised pronounciation is gah-WA-zee. It's also spelled 'gawazi' and 'ghawazi'.
The ghawazee have alternately been referred to as a class of people, a group of families and a tribe. Originally migrants to Egypt, the ghawazee were banished from Cairo in 1834, and most moved south to the Said region in Upper Egypt. They were well known for their dancing and music and provided entertainment for community events and celebrations in the towns where they lived.
If you'd like to find out more about the Ghawazee, there are a great number of articles here on The Guilded Serpent Archives.
DO I HAVE TO SHOW MY BELLY?
You don't ever have to show your belly in bellydance, but sometimes (depending on the style you are performing) you will have to cover it.
BUT, I'M TOO FAT/ SKINNY/ OLD/ YOUNG/ STRESSED OUT/ UNCOORDINATED/ TALL/ SHORT SIGHTED/ ETC TO BELLYDANCE!
Short answer? You're not.
Long answer? Bellydance looks different on different people, and that's one of the things that makes it such a great dance form. There is no "correct" body shape for bellydance. In fact, through bellydance, you'll come to look at your "flaws" in a very different way, and learn to appreciate what makes you uniquely you.You're never to old to learn something new, and never too young to start. Bellydance is a low-impact, high energy dance form making it accessible to people of all ages. You don't have to be "the best dancer ever" to enjoy dancing, nor for people to enjoy watching you perform. Everyone is capable of being the best dancing version of themselves. With a little patience, perserverence and practice, you'll be amazed by what you can achieve - and have a lot of fun in the process!
ARE TRANS-WOMEN WELCOME IN YOUR CLASS?
Of course. All women are welcome to join our classes and participate in all of our events and activities. In fact, any body who wants to dance is welcome - men, women, children, people who identify as non-binary or gender-diverse. Ghawazee Moon Bellydance is an LGBTIQA+ friendly school. If you want to learn to bellydance, then we want to teach you. If you have any concerns or specific needs, please do send us an email or give us a call/text so we can talk about it and make sure we do everything we can to ensure a comfortable and supportive learning environment for you.
CAN MEN BELLYDANCE?
Absolutely, and men continue to be welcome in our classes. We teach both men's and women's styling and styles. If you're keen to learn to bellydance, we are keen to teach you. Whilst our school is very women-centred, men and boys who wish to join us in sharing this dance are more than welcome. If you're not sure about classes yet, you can always start with private lessons.
HOW DO I ENROL?
Head to the Classes page. You'll find classes available, levels and the registration form there. Check the Calendar for term dates if you're not sure where we are in the term. If you'd like some advice or more information, call/text us or send us an email - we're happy to help.
I'VE DONE SOME BELLYDANCING BEFORE, AND I'M NOT SURE WHICH LEVEL OF CLASS I SHOULD ENROL IN?
We recommend people who aren't sure come along to two classes in their first week, and decide at the end of the classes which one will suit you better. You will need to organise this by giving us a call on 0403020796 or sending us an email. You will need to register online in one of the classes to be enrolled for the term - it doesn't matter which one. There is no extra charge for the second class to check levels in the first week.
CAN I DO A TRIAL CLASS?
Yes. However, we don't encourage trial classes for beginners, as it does take at least half a term to begin to feel comfortable in bellydance posture and movement, and we'd hate for you to give up before you've given yourself a chance to learn! If you're really not sure, you can take a trial class in week 1 or 2 (if there is space in the class) at $20 for 1 hour classes, or $15 for a 25/40min (kids/littlies) class. This cost is deducted from your term fees should you decide to continue for the rest of the term. You will need to call/text or email us to book your trial, and to make sure there is space. Full term paying students receive priority for enrollment.
CAN I JOIN PART-WAY THROUGH THE TERM?
You are welcome to join part-way through the term. Students enrolling from week 3 onward are entitled to a pro-rata discount. You are cautioned - particularly in classes that have been learning a choreography - that you may feel 'behind', so it's important to be patient with yourself while you catch up. Private lessons are available during the week or on weekends by appointment. Private lessons can help you catch up with the rest of the class. If the class is focussed on technique (most beginner classes) then it is much easier to step in part way through.
WHAT IF I'M GOING TO MISS A HEAP OF CLASSES?
Ghawazee Moon Bellydance classes run alongside the school term, with 9 weeks in each term. If work or travel will mean that you will miss classes, you may be better off purchasing a 10-Class Pass ($190) or doing drop-in classes ($20 class) during that term. In the case of a missed class due to illness or your best friend's birthday party, you are welcome to do a make-up class at a different class at the same or lower level within the same term as the missed class assuming there is space in the class - you will need to arrange this beforehand.
CAN CHILDREN REALLY BELLYDANCE, ISN'T THAT INAPPROPRIATE?
Short answer, yes they can, and no, it's not.
Shira has two great articles that will give you some background and also answer some questions about children, in particular young girls, learning bellydance/oriental dance/raqs sharqi.
From our own students, we have seen nothing but positive outcomes for young people who learn to bellydance. Our focus is on what our bodies can do, not on what they look like in comparison to other people. Young dancers gain confidence, make connections with other young people, and are encouraged to work with a growth mindset.
CAN I WATCH MY CHILD'S CLASS?
Classes are a space for dancers to learn and make mistakes - an essential part of the learning process - with other dancers who are also learning and making mistakes at the same time. Whilst your child knows you, and probably feels comfortable making mistakes around you, other students in the class don't know you, and your presence may make them feel very uncomfortable.
If your child feels nervous, and has indicated that they need you in the room (or sometimes dancing with them) that is ok for the first couple of weeks. Once they have settled in, then you can sit with other parents in the waiting area to not be a distraction to your child or others.
If your child has special needs, and you are their carer, then we can make special allowances around your child's individual circumstances. Please make sure you contact us first so we know the best way to help your child enjoy their journey in dance.
WHAT SORTS OF COSTUMES DO CHILDREN & TEENS WEAR?
Our youngest dancers begin their journey with folkloric dances of the middle-east. These costumes generally consist of long skirts, long pants, covered bellies, and generally covered arms.
Our youth classes expand their repertoire into Oriental and Fusion styles. The costumes for those styles will generally have long skirts or pants, generally sleeves, and belly covers. Some costumes will have an option to not cover the belly. The decision to cover or not cover on the stage is at the discretion of a parent until the child is 16. Though most parents are happy for their child to choose for themselves, the school will support the decision of the parent if there is a conflict. The only exception is if the parent would like their child show their belly (or any other part of their body, eg: arms, legs), and the child would prefer to cover. We do not require any student to show any part of their body they do not feel comfortable showing. We will happily make changes and adaptations to costumes to ensure that each dancer feels their best, and most comfortable, on stage.
WHAT DO I BRING TO CLASS?
For Beginners, your dance bag should include:
Intermediate Students should also have:
Advanced Students should also have:
WHAT DO I WEAR TO CLASS?
It's good to wear layers you can remove as you warm up and replace before you leave the dance space. This is important year-round. You'll need:
Do not wear jeans or short skirts.
DO I HAVE TO PERFORM?
Performance is always optional. If performance is not your thing, there are lots of other ways to be involved - helping with makeup, helping backstage, decorating spaces, front of house assistance, etc.
WHEN CAN I PERFORM?
We have an annual showcase each year that all students are welcome to perform or participate in. Most beginners will be able to perform at least one dance at our annual showcase at the end of 6-12 months of classes.
We also regularly perform at Floriade and the Multicultural Festival, as well as other smaller community events. As these performances generally have a limited performance time allocated, we cannot always offer these opportunities to all students. As students, you are not expected to be "perfect", but if you do opt in to a performance, you are expected to practice, turn up for any rehearsals, arrive on time, have all required costuming, be well-presented, and stay to the end.
WHERE DO I GET COSTUMES?
We make a lot of our costumes, and have crafternoons through the year to help students who are new to making. You can buy basic costuming (such as circle skirts) online, and there are retail shops in Goulburn and Sydney who sell bellydance costumes, props and related items.
The school has a small collection of hip scarves and zills/segat available for students to purchase. We also have a large costume & prop collection that is available for students to hire. The hire fee is generally between $5 and $10 per dance to help with the costs of making, replacement and maintainance.
DO YOU DO CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS FOR COMMUNITY GROUPS PARTIES AND HEN'S NIGHTS?
Yes we do! We even bring along the dress ups! You can check out our Bellydance in a Box - Mobile Bellydance Workshops for details.
We have different bellydance style and costume colour themes available for Party Workshops (Hen's Nights, Baby Blessings, Birthday Parties), and we can tailor a custom workshop to fit your needs. Party workshop prices start at $15 per person. Take a look at our workshop options and add some sparkle to your next event.
We have options for one-off workshops and ongoing classes for school & community groups. Bellydance is great for men and women, boys & girls, young, old and everywhere in between. Prices start at $6/pp and are negotiable depending on the needs of your group. These workshops and classes are ideally personalised to suit your needs. So do contact us to talk about what you're looking for. Send us an email, or give us a call on 0403020796.