NEWS: Dr. Belynda Azhaar is now located in Shanghai, China.
Specialising in adult education, Belynda Azhaar brings more than 15 years teaching experience to the classroom. She is a motivational, fun, caring, and supportive teacher known for:
• her professional, methodical, and flexible teaching style;
• providing the individual attention needed for improvement;
• her detailed break-down of dance movement;
• her knowledge of music, dance, history, and culture;
• producing award-winning students (see video to the right).
"A great belly dance class! Very well thought-out, and instructor administered help to those who lagged behind to get on track with the rest. Great facilitation yet still challenging (and a good workout). I highly recommend this dance class, as it is definitely one of the best dance classes to which I have been, and I have been to many. Again, great instructor, and true authentic belly dancing. I give this 5 stars." - Denise, U.S.
Want to learn the art of Middle Eastern dance?
For information about weekly belly dance classes (Oriental, Egyptian, Folk, Tribal), please complete the form below, or contact Belynda Azhaar via Facebook.
Follow Belynda on Facebook for information on upcoming international workshops.
Dr. Belynda Azhaar, PhD, is a world-class international dancer, renown and respected for her professional, informative, and fun workshops. She has toured more than 15 countries teaching workshops and private lessons to students ranging from beginner to professional level, and had the honour of being a guest instructor at the 2012 edition of the Lelah Masriya festival in Cairo, Egypt.
A nurturing and motivational instructor, Belynda Azhaar is known for her warm and friendly yet professional teaching style, strong dance technique, cultural knowledge, improvisational skills, creative choreographies, and ability to communicate effectively with students regardless of any language barrier.
Belynda Azhaar specialises in Egyptian, World Folk, Tribal Fusion, and Theatrical Middle Eastern Dance. She has taught workshops on a wide range of subjects and styles, and can design a workshop according to your needs.
Workshop Topic Suggestions:
(technique or choreography for soloists and/or troupes)
• Arab Pop
• Balkan Folk Dance
• Bellydance Props - Wings/Veil/Fan Veil/Fans/Sword
• Classical Egyptian/Raqs Sharqi
• Dancing on a Drum
• Dark (Gothic) Tribal Fusion
• Dynamic Drum Solos
• Egyptian Dance (Raqs Beledi, Raqs Shaabi, Saiidi, Melaya Leff, etc.)
• Finger Cymbals/Zills/Sagat
• How to Choreograph
• Introduction to the Art of Bellydance
• Khaleeji (Raqs Samri, Raqs al Nasha'al)
• Middle Eastern Rhythms
• Modern Egyptian
• Music Analysis & Interpretation
• Raqs al Assaya (Cane/Stick Dance)
• Raqs Sharqi
• Scintillating Shimmies
• Spanish-Oriental Fusion
• Theatrical Dance
• Tribal Fusion
• Unleash the Actor Within (Dancing with True Emotion)
Interested in hosting workshops with Belynda Azhaar at your studio?
"Belynda is a patient, knowledgable, and fun teacher to learn from. Her ability to break down any move into little pieces makes it so much easier to learn! I also really enjoy the history and cultural aspects of what she is teaching and the way she explains how a move corresponds to a piece of music. I really like working with her and hope to do so for a long time." - Alisha, U.S.
"I am pleased (okay, okay, I am ecstatic) with the series of workshop you did in KL this weekend. The quality of your instruction is truly the benchmark I shall evaluate all my future workshops on. Many people can dance, but not everyone can teach!" - Amethyst, Malaysia
"You give such a confident, competent and structured impression, and at the same time relaxed and fun! Have taken other rhythm workshops, but this may have been the most pedagogic one yet!" - Alva, Sweden
"You are A GREAT TEACHER, I love the way you break things down and how thorough you are." - Jameelah, Malta
"Her workshops are very detailed and easy to understand and she is very knowledgable in bellydance history, myths and facts." - Jill, Philippines
Dr. Belynda Azhaar
has taught numerous
Helpful Information for Students
WHAT TO WEAR Comfortable exercise clothing which shows the outline of your body. The instructor needs to be able to clearly see your movements otherwise he/she cannot correct you. Pants are better as some classes involve floorwork, especially during the warm-up or cool-down, however some workshops (especially Turkish style) will require a skirt. Some people like to wear a hip scarf, but scarves decorated with coins and/or beads can be a hazard to yourself and others if the decoration falls on the floor and people are dancing barefoot. So undecorated hip scarves, or hip scarves with securely fastened decorations, are best. Belynda Azhaar highly recommends the use of dance shoes, however students are free to dance barefoot if they prefer.
WHAT TO BRING Notebook, or dance journal, and pen. Drink bottle. Small towel. Dance shoes (if you use them). Any props required for the class, such as veil, finger cymbals, cane, drum, fans, etc.
BEHAVIOUR Respect the instructor and fellow students. Avoid disrupting the class. Be on time. Be discrete when entering or exiting the room. Listen attentively. If you have a question, ask the instructor - they are there to help you. Write notes at the end of class or during breaks. Ask the instructor for permission before taking photos or videos.
PHOTO/VIDEO POLICY Instructors make their living from teaching. If you video their class and share the footage with your friends or upload it to the internet, you are effectively depriving that instructor of income. Because of this, most instructors these days do not allow students to video them during class. However, time will usually be set aside at the end of choreography workshops for students to film each other. The instructor also usually grants an opportunity for photos at the very end of the workshop.
Belynda Azhaar allows students to record her at the end of class on the proviso that they do not upload any video footage to the internet, or share with others.
Belynda Azhaar teaching a melaya leff workshop in Fukuoka, Japan.
WORKSHOP A workshop is a one-off class, usually two to three hours in duration, which focuses on a particular topic or choreography. Students pay a higher fee for workshops than they would a regular class, especially if the teacher is not local. There are usually two types of registration/payment offered: advance, or at the door. Discounts are often offered for advance payment. Workshop sizes can range from 10 to 100 or more of students, depending on the venue. The larger the class, the less likely the teacher will be able to give individual attention to students, and the more difficult it is for students to see the teacher. For this reason, Belynda Azhaar prefers 30 or less students in her workshops.
MASTER CLASS A master class is a workshop for advanced level and professional dancers. The material taught is more advanced than regular workshops and the student numbers are generally limited to 10-15 students. Master classes are usually 2.5 to 3 hours in duration and the class fee is higher than that of general workshops.
DRUM SOLO The drum solo, or tabla solo, is generally the grand finale of a dancer's performance. It is the time when dancers show off their isolation and shimmy skills.
FINGER CYMBALS Known as zills, or zils, in Turkish and sagat in Arabic, finger cymbals are small (metal) cymbals worn on the thumbs and middle fingers. Finger cymbals can be single or double-slotted, referring to the type of hole the elastic goes through in the cymbal. Double-slotted cymbals are generally preferred by dancers because they are easier to control than single-slotted cymbals, which tend to move around more. (See picture to the right for an example.)
MELAYA LEFF Also called iskanderani (from the erroneous belief that the dance originated in Alexandria), comes from the Arabic words melaya, the name of the large, black shawl that women cover themselves in when going out in public, and leff, which means to wrap. This dance style was created by Mahmoud Reda for the stage, and is now considered a "folk dance" of Egypt. The dance portrays a young woman coyly ignoring the advances of men in public while re-wrapping her melaya which sometimes "accidentally" falls off. Beladi music is used, and the dancer wears a dress and a head scarf.
RAKS EL ASSAYA Or raks assaya, literally means Dance of the Stick. Raks assaya is a fun and playful dance where women imitate the male stick dance called tahtib. Tahtib originates from the area in Egypt known as Sa'id (Upper Egypt), and involves men pretending to fight each other with long wooden sticks. Raks assaya is usually performed in a beledi dress to music featuring the saiidi rhythm and mizmar, but has also been incorporated into cabaret bellydance where dancers wear a glitzy two-piece bedlahs (bra and belt costume) and perform to Arab pop music.
SA'IDI Also written saidi, literally means "from Sa'id" and can refer to anything originating from Upper Egypt (southern Egypt). The saidi rhythm is a 4/4 rhythm commonly found in saidi music (folk music from Upper Egypt). Saidi dance is a type of Egyptian folkloric dance, and is earthy and energetic.
SHA'ABI Also written shaabi, refers to the style of living (including music, dance, clothing, etc.) commonly found in the poorer, lower class areas of Egypt. (The Egyptian upper class generally look down on anything considered shaabi. In fact, it's not unusual for bellydancers performing in restaurants to be prohibited from dancing to shaabi music.) Shaabi music often features Western and electronic instruments and the lyrics, which deal with everyday social issues, are sometimes political, controversial, and/or rude. Well known shaabi artists include Ahmed Adaweyah, Hassan el Asmar, Magdy Talaat, Hakim, and latest shaabi superstar, Saad. In an appropriate match for this style of music, shaabi dancers display a strong, confident, but playful personality, and use moves which are more sexual than found in other forms of Egyptian dance.
SHIMMY A shaking or vibration movement driven by the skeleton and/or muscles, and done in time with the music. Shimmy movements usually focus around the hips or shoulders. Common shimmies include the Egyptian (knee) shimmy, the hip shimmy, the 3/4 shimmy, and the shoulder shimmy.
Further bellydance related terms and definitions in English can be found here.