Belly dancing in Nigeria has gained significant popularity in recent years. This new phenomenon can be traced to the explosion in viewership of Oriental movies that portray belly dancing and other parts of the Oriental culture. 

While the popularity of belly dancing in Nigeria is still lower than that of dances such as ballet, the number of people that like the dance is growing. Now, it is not uncommon to see young Nigerian women consider at least buying belly dance costumes or taking belly dance classes, especially for matrimony.

Sometimes thought to be a part of Indian dancing, belly dancing has many benefits for your overall health and well-being. This may explain the increase of individuals in Nigeria looking for "belly dance classes near me" and "belly dancing classes near me". Many realise that belly dance is more than a dance: it can help improve fitness and mental well-being. It shares these benefits with African dance styles.

A female having an exercise
Belly dancing will make your exercise to stay fit and healthy. It is a fun way to burn belly fat. Source: Unsplash

We have created this article to help people who want to learn belly dancing in Nigeria. Let's dive into it! 

Belly Dancing Encourages Self-Acceptance

A good thing about the art of belly dancing is that it encourages students to accept their bodies. Belly dance classes rarely discriminate against body types: slender women can do the dance, same as curvy women. The slender belly dancer can flaunt her toned stomach while the curvy belly dancer can use it to accentuate her sensuality.

Many a belly dancer is usually wary of flaunting her body at the start of the belly dance classes. However, the teacher encourages them to flaunt their body since that's a big part of belly dancing. This helps build the confidence of the student and ensures they resist pressure to feel bad about their bodies.

Unlike the Western ballet dance or cha-cha, belly dancing lessons are done barefoot: the belly dancer must be able to connect with the floor directly during classes. 

Check out this article to explore other fascinating dance styles around the world.

Achieve a toned body with Belly Dancing

New research shows belly dance classes can help women lose weight. Unlike in Irish dancing where only the legs do all the works, belly dancing concerns different parts of the upper body. The vigorous movement of the hips, thighs, waist, chest, back muscles, abdominals, gluteal muscles and other body parts during belly dance lessons can help shed belly fat

In addition to helping weight loss efforts, belly dancing is effective for promoting physical wellbeing in women. For instance, it can help reduce the effects of period pain, back pain, and so on.

Belly dance can also improve your mental health: simple, enjoyable dance routines will reduce anxiety and tension, and lift your spirits every time. It also promotes better self-image, since it encourages you to accept your body.

What Are The Various Belly Dance Styles? 

Originally a Middle East practice, belly dancing has spread to different regions across the world. Over the years, this has resulted in new styles of the belly dance, each influenced by local culture. There are more than a dozen belly dance styles taught during lessons now.

A group of belly dancers
Belly dancing is for everyone. There are enough styles to choose from no matter what your need is. Source: Visual Hunt

Here are some of the belly dance styles you can learn in classes:

  • Tribal Improv 
  • Baladi
  • Theatrical/Fusion 
  • Orientale aka Classic or Cabaret 
  • Folkloric/Regional 
  1. Egyptian Raqs Sharqi 
  2. Persian Khaleegy 
  3. Arabic Dabke 
  4. Turkish Shaabi
  • Iraqi Kawleeya
  • Gothic belly dance 
  • Flamenco (Zambaro Mora) 
  • Zar Ritual 

Belly dancers of different styles often have specific music they use. This music ranges from entrance pieces, drum solos, folkloric music, pop music, etc. The counties where the styles originate from usually influences the type of music used. 

These different belly dance styles vary in origin, rhythm, tempo, and music. As such, you may need to take trial lessons to find what suits you. 

Teaching belly dancing requires different equipment to make it more effective; this includes candlesticks, belly dance costumes, fans, etc. Just as costumes are a key part of the Spanish dance, belly dance costumes are a must for anyone who wants to learn belly dancing. The belly dance costumes are lightweight and allow easy movement of the waist and abdominal during dance classes. 

The teacher usually provides these props when it's time for lessons. However, it is advisable that you have yours at home. More than anything,  having your props means you can practice routines outside the belly dance classes and learn faster. 

Basic Moves You Will Learn In Belly Dance Classes 

While you cannot learn belly dancing in one day, there are basic moves any good belly dancer must learn which we'll discuss subsequently.

Before we proceed, we must give instructions on how to prepare for your belly dance classes.  

An important part of the preparation for belly dancing lessons is exercising. Carrying out simple warm-up exercises before it's time for your class will prepare your body for dancing and prevent injuries. Here is a simple warm-up routine:

  1. Spread your legs and place your hands on the hips, then push your hip forth and back and to the sides.
  2. Work your neck muscles forward and backwards, then rightward and leftward, all in circular motions.

After your warm-up, it's time to start basic belly dance moves. The average belly dance lesson will teach the following steps.

  • The Zoheir Zaki: The belly dancer moves the hip in upward and downward motions while the legs remain straight in a lateral movement.
  • The shoulder drop: For this move, belly dancers open their arms as they bend the elbows slightly bent, then they move the left shoulder forward, and repeat the same for the right shoulder.
  • The figure of eight: The belly dancer makes a figure of eight with her pelvis while she moves her hips in a semi-circle with the legs apart.
  • The Pelvic Move: Popular among belly dancers, the Pelvic Move involves bringing the pelvis backwards and sharply forward again with your gluteal muscles which then tightens the abdominal.
  •  The trembling legs: In this move, belly dancers make quick and repeated movements with the knees while warming up.

It's easy to learn how to belly dance within a few weeks of starting classes. However, you won't become a belly dance star overnight: you'll still need to put in years of practice to advance from beginner to intermediate to expert.

Tips For Learning How To Belly Dance 

Watch videos to learn basic Belly dance moves

The growth of the internet in recent years has made signing up for classes to learn belly dance quite unnecessary. Now, you can watch videos or take an online lesson on how to master simple belly dance techniques.

Many top belly dancers in the world now have YouTube channels where they display their art and provide training for beginners. Source: Unsplash

Type "online belly dance classes" into your Google search bar and you'll get a list of websites offering to teach you how to belly dance online.

Online video-sharing platforms such as YouTube are also good tools for learning how to belly dance. On YouTube, expert dancers post videos teaching how to execute both simple and complex moves. Here are some prominent YouTuber stars who upload educational videos about belly dancing online:

  • Oldfrinx 
  • WarrenParkwoodLinden
  • Magnolia Bellydance 
  • Sahira Bellydance
  • Loretta Oriental Dancer 

A new tool many people use to belly dancing journey is a dance app. Those apps teach dances including ballet, flamenco and of course, belly dance. Try reading the reviews for a dance app before you download it; reviews will show if the app is worth it or not. An example of dance apps with glowing reviews is the Belly Dance App

Using these tools, students can accelerate their learning of belly dance techniques by practising every day and monitoring their progress.

Start Trial Belly Dance Classes

While learning how to belly dance on your own through online means is free, it can be quite difficult and stressful. Conversely, getting a private tutor to teach you belly dance at home will reduce the number of years spent on learning moves. 

With every lesson, the belly dance tutor will be able to inculcate a passion for dancing into students through inspiring, well-choreographed moves. Belly dance teachers will also teach aspects of belly dance including muscle toning, undulations and improv routines.

Taking belly dance classes with a dance tutor is a surefire way to advance quickly in your learning. Before you know it, you will master the fundamentals of belly dancing and start creating your own routines.

What are the options available?

A common tactic for those looking to learn belly dancing is to search "belly dance classes near me" or "belly dancing classes near me" online. The problem with Google-searching "belly dance classes near me" or "belly dancing classes near me" is that the online search results may be unhelpful. In worse cases, the private tutors may be kilometres away from your home, making learning with them impossible. 

A better option to spending all day searching "belly dancing classes near me" is to find a tutor through a private tutoring platform like Superprof. This beats going the "belly dance classes near me" route because it connects you with belly dances classes that are truly near you. 

Superprof gives you the avenue to choose from a pool of trusted belly dance tutors in Nigeria and around the world. Our teachers boast years of experience and have received great reviews from students so you can expect the best. Whether it's private home lessons or online classes via webcam, Superprof's has you covered.

While you are free to choose from different tutors, you must consider factors. These include the cost of tuition, location, dance style taught, level of expertise, etc. The classes may not be free, but you can qualify for discounts when you become a regular student. And besides, our tutors offer you the first lesson for free; interesting, right?

No matter where you live in Nigeria, Superprof has a belly dance teacher for you, so why won't you log on to the Superprof website and book belly dance classes — starting today?

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A Nigerian freelance SEO Writer-cum-Editor and 2019 Writing Fellow of ALWF who blends creativity with rich content to produce sterling copy — persuasive, informative, or expository. He loves nature and trains in Karate, and he loves to help others grow — individuals and brands.