Happy New Year
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xx from Zara and Sandra xx

A big thank you to all our lovely dance friends, readers and customers, for your wonderful support during 2015!   
Wishing you a Glittery and Amazing 2016!  
May all your dance dreams come true!

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At this time of year, when people start thinking of goals and exercise, I'm often asked about the best way to learn to dance. There is so much on offer it can be a bit mind boggling!

First, it is important that you have an idea of what YOU want and why and your budget.  You will be better armed if you think about it and have at least one or two goals so you know where you are heading. 

Here are some of my thoughts:
In my personal opinion this is the best way to learn.  There is that personal, close, special relationship which develops between a teacher and her students and between the students too as they get to really know each other. You can explore together your strengths, weaknesses and hopes for the future. GOOD teachers can offer so much to their students in a safe way, in a safe environment. They can deliver the traditional movements and correct any errors in students - especially errors which may endanger the health of the student. For tactile learners they can offer, permission given, hands on correction and demonstration.

They can open the door to exciting new social and cultural aspects and opportunities, even the chance to perform, if that is wanted. A good teacher can be a conduit to further the dance dreams of her students by her recommendations and ideas – even if this means suggesting a different teacher and “letting go” of a student. Some teachers become mentors or coaches to a student who wishes to turn professional (for performance or to teach)  to help, advise and guide them.

How to find the teacher for you?  Do your research.  Try a class or even better try a few before you commit to a full course.  Ask around, especially people you trust. Look for knowledge and safety aspects in a teacher/class. However, because we all have different dance goals and different personalities they play a part too and the fun aspect cannot and should not be forgotten!

Live or Skype private one-to-one lessons:  
A wonderful way to learn as one-to-one lessons allow teacher and student to work, in private, on the elements needed to work on. Thus the lesson is personalised to the student’s needs. The student has all the teacher’s attention. They are a good way to improve your dance and give confidence.  Again, do your research to find a teacher who meets your needs! However, you may miss the social side found in classes; budget allowing the two go together very well!
Unlike a regular class, workshops are usually a one off event.  They give students the opportunity to learn from a different teacher to try a different topic or style; to concentrate on an area of technique or to get new perspectives on the dance so they are worth budgeting for. Workshops keep your dance fresh and give new ideas to beginners and advanced dancers alike. So, if your teacher invites another dancer to her area to give a workshop – give it a go.  Another way to enjoy workshops, from a whole variety of teachers, often with some from overseas too, is to attend a festival and book yourself onto some workshops there.  

Online Videos and DVDs:
If classes are not an option these are a popular, affordable alternative. If you are a beginner then my recommendation is to start with basic Baledi.  Strong foundations are important and these moves underpin all styles which fall under the umbrella term "bellydance."  After that it is up to you to decide what you want to learn. You will need to set some goals for yourself and find the option which best fits your needs.  Without goals and without a live teacher to help and guide you, it is easy to get distracted.  Again, it is important to find a good teacher. Make sure there is a warm up or if there isn’t do your own to keep yourself safe.  Since the rise of the Internet and particularly YouTube there are so many “Belly Dance Classes” on offer, added to the DVDs you can purchase. Try to look at the tasters before purchasing a DVD. It is important that, as above, you do your research!  
I don’t think you can learn to dance from a book.  I haven’t met anyone who says this is how they learnt.  However, books are a great backup.  They can break down some moves in pictures for you to pour over and examine.  They can inspire you.  They can give invaluable background information and go deep into a topic area.  Most of all they can be fun! Check out these books

Top Tips:
1) It's your money so do your research.
2) If it's free and online check that it's good.
3) All teachers offer something, so focus on the positive and take what you can from every experience you encounter on your dance learning journey.
4) For fun and inspiration watch videos of famous dancers.
5) Enjoy!

Zara Dance is avalible for teaching workshops in your area. Why not Check out this list of workshops she offers and get in touch about hosting.  

Also if you are ever in London and would like to have a private coaching session with Zara why not get in touch, it can be a great boost to your dance. Details of private classes can be found here
I would like to share some wonderful words with you
 from participants at my recent Empowerment Workshop

"That was incredible Zara - so empowering and thought provoking, thanks so much! Every dancer needs and deserves to experience this workshop" - Molly R 

"Fab workshop Zara loved it!" - Layla S

"So refreshing to have a workshop exploring individuality of the dance and how not to let our insecurities affect our dance journey. Thanks for sharing your learnings - can't agree more and a lot of food for thought indeed" - Euvian T

You Can Book Zara and/or Zara's Zouk
to come to your event/area! 

Why not have  Zara's Zouk Mobile Souk:
Browse the Egyptian and Tribal Goodies
Try on costumes
Handle some props!
All with no pressure to buy

You can also have Zara Perform at your hafla
or Teach Workshops in your area 

Interested ?
Get in touch with Zara. There is no harm in asking!

Thank you for taking time to look at our newsletter, until next month, best wishes and happy dancing!  
Zara and Sandra xxx

PS.  Don't forget to check out Zara's Zouk for your dance needs and if you want to buy for your group/class/troupe ask about multiple purchase discounts. We have far more than is shown on the website so just ask!

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