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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What should I wear to a Belly Dance class? Do I need any special "equipment"?
  2. Where is the studio located?
  3. What if I (have to) miss a class?
  4. Should I start with a technique or a choreography class first?
  5. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Profressional Level. How can I progress?
  6. How to join a troupe?
  7. Why am I not receiving emails from you?
  8. Where can I get a coin sash/finger cymbals/silk veil/harem pants/costume?
  9. Is Belly Dancing a good exercise?
  10. Are there any physical limitations connected with Belly Dancing?
  11. Is there any "age limit" for starting a Belly Dance class?
  12. Can I take a Belly Dance class if I'm pregnant?
  13. Are the classes co-ed?
  14. Can I observe a class before I sign up for a 5 week course?
  15. Can I bring my child(ren) with me?
  16. Can I visit and check out the studio?
  17. If I join a class, will I have to perform in front of people?
  18. If I want to perform my new Belly Dance skills, where would I dance?
  19. Can I make money as a belly dancer?

What should I wear to a Belly Dance class? Do I need any special "equipment"?

Lightweight workout clothes , or a leotard and tights are fine. I make & sell belly dance clothes. Dressing up is lots of fun, but you definitely don't need to & it is not a requirement. I have some students who come in sweats while other students love to wear the harem pants, dance skirts and cool tops. I personally love to be fashionable while dancing ;) Where else can you exercise while looking so exotic & beautiful?? Somehow sweating and getting a major workout isn't so bad when you look so fabulous! :)

As far as footwear is concerned, you will be dancing on a hardwood-like suspended cork floor. Although some students dance either with socks or barefoot, I encourage students to invest in a jazz shoe, jazz sandals, or ballet practice shoes as class footwear. Tennis shoes are not allowed, socks slide on the floor and bare feet tempt painful injury to your precious tootsies!

Coin sashes for that added touch

As for special equipment : students will find a large scarf, shawl or coin sash very helpful (for sale at our studio). These items are used for hip wraps - a visual aid for both the student AND teacher. Other things you'll probably want to add to your dance "collection" are finger cymbals (4 of them, not 2, and don't get the cheap ones with round holes, your fingers will thank you), called zils or zaghat and a veil (silk please, other fabric has the elegance of a bedsheet) - which you'll get to toss and twirl (when needed for a class, we special order them in bulk to keep cost down). If you want to know if a particular prop is required for the class you will be taking, check out the schedule of classes & then click on the dance you will be learning. When you click onto the name of the dance, you will find a description of that dance & if a prop is required.

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What if I (have to) miss a class?

Well, good and bad news. Due to the 5 week course structure, we can not offer you an individual make-up class, nor credit for any missed classes. However, instructors go over the previous material at the beginning of each session as a refresher. Further, detailed choreography notes are available for registered students, and we sell DVDs with the choreographies on them.

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Should I start with a technique or a choreography class first?

Week 1-3 are similar for both types of courses in that you learn basic moves and combinations of moves. In a choreography class, in weeks 4-5 the moves are put into a sequence to form a simple beginner level dance to a particular piece of music. Some choreography classes introduce props such as the veil, finger cymbals, and candles. You can see and hear video and soundclips of most dances in the dance description page. A technique class keeps practicing moves in isolation, while a choreography puts the dance moves into context.

What it comes down it is your ultimate goal - if you want to dance, obviously you need to take a choreography class. Having the goal of learning a dance also drives you while taking the course and gives you some feeling of accomplishment after the six weeks - you know a new dance. This dance can be performed at one of our student nights or our studio shows. A lot of students take the technique class as a supplement to a choreography class, and some use it as a fun way of workout-exercise.

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Can I make money as a belly dancer?

We offer two types of workshops that prepare you to earn money as a belly dancer:
First, the Restaurant Belly Dancer Workshop. Here you learn how to prepare for a gig at a restaurant, how to approach the owners, how to deal with competition, how to deal with guests, taxation, etc.

Second, the Bellygram Workshop shows you how to make money dancing at birthday parties, fundraisers, office parties, etc. We cover a range of topics including security, taxation, different client cultures, etiquette, competition, how to get gigs, and so on.

We have arrangements with restaurants that allow us to bring in 'apprentices' for training purposes, and prepare you in role-playing exercises and simulations for the real thing.

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Where can I get a coin sash/finger cymbals/silk veil/harem pants/costume?

We have a small vending area in our studio where we sell all of the above at discounted prices. Specialty items like finger cymbals are orderd at the first day of class.
Due to our competitive prices, we have more and more requests from people that are not our students to come to our studio and "shop". Please note that you can do that only during the transition time between classes, or 15 minutes before/after a class, when we have a dedicated salesperson working the vending area. You should call ahead to confirm that someone will be able to help you, and please make sure that you come on time.

Another venue to get belly dancer supplies is at regional shows, where sometimes traveling vendors set up shows.
Friendly warning: When ordering 'great bargains' from overseas (i.e. Egypt, India, or Turkey), please remember that a) shipping times are rather long (weeks to months), b) expensive, and c) items also have to pass through customs (that you cover), and don't forget that d) return policies in these countries are not up to American standards, and a-c apply again. Don't forget to give your measurements in metrics (!). Try to only buy from reputable dealers, and make sure to use credit cards only (never money orders). Note that Paypal refuses to cover Turkey and Egypt, and that Bidpay is in fact the same as a money order, i.e. doesn't protect you in case of fraud.

Where is the Studio located?

We have three studios: one is east of downtown Atlanta at Little Five Points (near Jimmy Carter Library/Candler Park), one is near Symrna/Marietta at the Windy Hill Exit of I-75, and the other is up north at the "perimeter" between Perimeter Mall and Spaghetti Junction (Intersection I-285 and I-85) just south of I-285 exit 30.
We created a detailed map with directions for you to print.
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How to progress in our studio

Beginner Level:
Classes at this level at designed for novices and assume no prior background knowledge. A typical choreography combines a limited number of moves to a short piece of music (less than 3 minutes). To assist you, you will receive detailed choreography notes, and you can purchase a video that shows the entire dance.

Intermediate Level:
Requirements For Entering Intermediate Level:
Students must have completed a minimum of four (4) six-week courses: three (3) beginners level choreography courses and one (1) other of your choice at the Nazeem Allayl Studio.

    You must have mastered all of the following skills:
  • Camels (stationary, traveling, and reverse)
  • Mayas, RVF8s, hip circles, HDKs, directional hip pops, hip slides
  • Isolated shoulder shakes and shoulder shimmies
  • Isolated Knee and Hip shimmies
  • Choo Choo Shimmies
  • Head Slides
  • basic arm and hand positions.
  • basic traveling moves like the grapevine, step-step-steps, and step touches.
  • Arabesques
  • The ability to spot during turns
  • Proficiency in working with a 3 yard silk veil, including Veil Turns
  • Proficiency in playing the zils, including traveling while playing basic zil patterns.
  • Proficiency in basic layering (shoulder shakes w/ chest drops/lifts, camel step-step-steps, knee shimmy w/ hip slides, etc.)
Advanced and Professional Level
Requirements For Entering Advanced and Professional Level Courses:
Troupe membership in either Nazeem Alsabah, Nazeem Almassah, or Nazeem Allayl.
    In addition you must have mastered all of the following skills:
  • All of the list above
  • Omis
  • Proficiency in turning (multiple turns, high speed turning)
  • Higher Level of Veil work
  • Higher Level of Zil Playing
  • Basic ability to Improvise -- i.e. Students should have started the process of reading moves in the music (adding the question Why to their dance vocabulary)
  • The ability to learn a choreography & staging quickly
  • Performance Experience -- please e-mail Schadia for specifics.
  • Significant dedication to at-home practice

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How to join a troupe?

Nazeem Alsabah is our amateur performing troupe. We typically hold two to three times a year open (to our current students) or closed (by invitation only) auditions for Nazeem Alsabah, usually in late Spring and late Fall, sometimes in Summer. We recruit from within, so there will never be open auditions for our professional troupes Nazeem Allayl or Nazeem Almassah.
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Why am I not receiving emails from you?

Problem: You signed up for our email distribution list to be notified about events, or you gave us your email when you registered for class, yet you do not receive email from us.

Solution: Most likely you gave us an email account that is not working correctly. This is usually the case with hotmail or other free accounts that you don't check frequently enough, so that it is full when we sent out our email to you. It could also be that we entered your information incorrectly. In this case, please send us an email in that regard from the account you want us to use so we can extract your exact email address.

Spam: We will never sell nor give away your email address to anyone, and only send class or performance related emails to you.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Full privacy guaranteed.

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Is Belly Dancing a good exercise?

Belly Dance is excellent exercise. Not only do you work your body, but you also work your mind. There are so many interesting things about this ancient dance!

Belly dance combines natural, body-friendly movement with yoga, ethnic and modern dance. The result of this unique synthesis is a dance which gives your body an anerobic and aerobic form of exercise.
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Are there any physical limitations connected with Belly Dancing?

Starting a Belly Dance class is like starting any other program of physical activity; check with your physician first! People who should definitely talk to the doctor are people with back and joint problems; obesity; pregnancy and, of course, people who haven't exercised for a LOOONG time.
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Is there any "age limit" for starting a Belly Dance class?

Unlike a lot of dance classes, there isn't an age cap on starting a Belly Dance class. Some instructors will take children (but not me *) through senior citizens. The majority of Belly Dance enthusiasts are females between the ages of 20 - 55, but there is definitely some room for variation in this population.

The minimum age for our studio is currently 18, with possible exceptions in special cases (16 w/parental consent).

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*) I love children. However, I've found that while children LOVE belly dancing, they have problems with learning a choreography, and since I teach choreography, children are not suited for my types of classes.

Tahyea with Child

Can I take a Belly Dance class if I'm pregnant?

Please, check with your OB/GYN first before starting a Belly Dance class. With physician approval, there shouldn't be any reason why you couldn't take a Belly Dance class as part of a pre-natal fitness program. (Where do you think "Lamaze" originated?)

If you do start (or continue!) dancing, DO take it easy while you enjoy the benefit of a good abdominal workout! By adding Belly Dance to a pre-natal fitness regimen, you'll be the envy of your Lamaze class come delivery time!

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Samora w/Noah

Are the classes co-ed?

Joshua is a male belly dancer in Atlanta - he might teach men.
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Although some belly dance teachers teach both men and women, I do not.

My classes are for women only. Sorry guys!

Male bellydancers
are just not the same

Can I observe a class before I sign up for a course?

Well, yes and no. I do not let anyone sit and watch a class. I find it SERIOUSLY disrupts the flow of the class and makes the students participating feel awkward and self-conscious. I am just not willing to do that to my sweet students! So sorry, no observers.
First day tryout: I do however have a "special try out policy." You can come on the first day of a six-week course, participate in the class, pay a pro-rated fee based on the current 6 week course rate and if you would like, walk out the door and never come back. This hardly ever happens, but it is a policy that I have.
You can only do this on the first day of a six-week course, because otherwise we will be working on choreography and you would not be able to fully participate. And, the "special try out policy" is only an option if the class is not filled up with pre-registered students. If you would like to take advantage of the "special try out policy," do make sure to give me a call or e-mail me the day before the start date of the class you want to attend. You will need to make sure there is a spot available for you.
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Can I bring my child(ren) with me??

We would love to have a seperate room with a hired caretaker and the appropriate insurance so you could bring your child(ren). However, as we don't have either, we refer to the above: No men, no observers, and no one under the age of 16 is allowed in the studio during classtime. If you are interested in such an arrangement, we would like to know, so in the future we might offer a class that is suitable for mothers with children. So send us an email to if that's a service you would like us to add.

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Can I visit and check out the studio?

Well, yes and no. Sine we do not allow observers (see previous entry), you can not stop by during class time, and since the studio is only open for classes, that means that you can only "peek" in the short time before/after class (Doors open about 15min before class, and stay open for about 1/2 hour for people to pack up and leave. You will not be able to talk to anyone, as the instructor will be busy registering students, answering dance questions, etc.

But - you can save yourself a trip and simply follow this link for a series of pictures, and if you need to talk to someone, call us at (404) 638 6530 between 10am and 10pm.

Left: Picture Gallery, Center: Full sprung warm cork floor, Right: Wall to wall mirrors
More studio pictures

Pictures from the Open house at the perimeter studio

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If I join a class, will I have to perform in front of people?

No, our students are not required to participate in shows or perform in front of an audience. Also, we do not allow spectators or visitors in the studio, not even for "waiting to pick up someone", and never men. If you come to class for exercise and companionship that is perfectly fine. If you do want to perform though, we do provide ample opportunity to do so! :)
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If I want to perform my new Belly Dance skills, where would I dance?

If you DO want to dance, we organize three shows a year in which our professional and amateur troupes are accompanied by groups of beginners' level students. These groups are put together about 6-8 weeks before the show and practice only for that particular show. Once a month, we also have an amateur night for students at Nicola's Restaurant for our regular students. Auditions are held usually the Friday before, see our calendar for exact dates.

For students who want to perform on a continuous basis and are committed to putting in some serious practice time, we also have a student performing troupe called Nazeem Alsabah, and their sister troupe, Nazeem Almassah.

Nazeem Alsabah and Nazeem Almassah perform at shows that we organize and re also invited to perform at shows both inside and outside of the dance community. They also perform every at Nicola's Restaurant - see calendar. Want to learn more about Nazeem Alsabah, Nazeem Almassah, and our professional dance troupe Nazeem Allayl? Check out or visit the events link.

There's lots of dance happening if you know where to look!
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