Free online belly dance classes – which ones are worth watching?

Free Belly Dance Classes are springing up everywhere online these days. As a beginner though it’s hard to know what is worth your time. Learning via the computer is much like learning from DVD’s, it is a nice adjunct to your learning but not a substitute to face to face classes if you can possible get to them. See my previous post on tips to get the most from this style of learning. I am not covering the obvious ‘youtube’ in this post – there is enough there alone for a thousand posts and chances are you have already looked there. Instead here are my thoughts on the website based free classes that came up tops in a recent google search for FREE belly dance classes.

Raqs TV

I did another post on this previously discussing the merits of renting DVD’s rather than purchasing them. In this instance I signed up for free and took Ruby Beh’s free class which runs for about 21mins. I hadn’t realised how many other free videos were available. Totally worth signing up for guys! There are free tasters on a number of things including stage make up, interviews and combinations. Also Ahava’s drum solo piece that my students love can be seen here too. I ran the version for those with an ‘average connection’ (internet) and had no troubles. The stage make-up page didn’t run as smoothly unfortunately but I am in a rural area so I guess you have to expect that at times.

Ruby’s video started with approximately 6mins of finger cymbals drills. 1,2,3  1,2,3 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. I think this would feel a bit like the deep end of the pool if you had never used cymbals before but would be just great for those that had mastered a reasonable triples pattern and wanted to try something new. She then does an excellent breakdown of a shoulder shimmy that would be suitable for brand newies or those revising their technique. Next she covered belly rolls and shimmies. Knowing how to shimmy was assumed knowledge and the section went for more than 6mins, so not for the complete novice but great for muscle memory and practice. All followed up by performance from her floorwork dvd. Worth a look. Ruby is a good teacher with clear instructions. She has impressed me in the DVD’s I have of her too.

Freebellydance

Online classes by Giorgia Vanessa. Giorgia teaches in English with a strong but understandable accent, she also has an Italian version. These are not professionally shot so the picture and sound quality is not great but they run quite well on my internet connection. They are more like a casual class format – not slick but I thought the 5min video on vertical figure 8’s was quite good. She can actually do the moves she is teaching (can’t say the same of some teachers on youtube!!!). I have seen figure 8’s broken down in more detail but I think how she explains it is fine and would be ok for beginners and intermediates. She is quite quirky, dancing with a teddy bear on her head in one clip for instance but I liked how the clips were unpretentious. Her style stems from both cabaret and tribal origins. She has more than a dozen clips to choose from.  If grainy video bothers you or you don’t have a quiet environment to watch them in then give this site a miss.

Leyla Najma’s Belly dance Village

Leyla najma is an older American dancer that has trained in Egypt.

You only can see her preview videos if you are not signed up – this is just her doing a before class chat. When I first looked at this site you could have 5 days as a free trial however now it is $1US for 14 days. So it doesn’t fit my free criteria. Also you get billed $17/month after that. That’s cheap rates if you like her stuff but I don’t like getting automatic withdrawals off my credit card so I didn’t trial it out.

bellydancingvideo.com

Had short, glitchy clips with very little or no instruction from clips from Atéa’s Magical Motion™ Bellydance Instruction Video Series. Look elsewhere.

bellydancelessonsonline.com

You have to sign up with a name and email address to get your 5 free classes from Charni. The sound is excellent and so is the video quality. The first 2 ‘classes’ are just chats, one about history and one about what to wear. The 3rd video is 2minutes long and she says it covers hip flicks, shimmies and how to stand!!! Whoa!! But no, it’s actually only posture she covers in the 2 mins. She favours the deep knee bend for basic position that seems to have gone out of fashion in the last few years (in favour of a soft knee but straighter leg). It’s what I was originally taught but not what I was taught in Egypt recently.  All in all, your 5 vids include some chats and about 8mins of tuition including a cool down. She has a lovely manner and clear voice, the site is slick and professional but you don’t get much for free. It’s all kind of one big ad for her $47/month classes.

I hope my students now realise why I pause when they ask whats good online! The content changes all the time and is really variable. What are your favourite free online instructional videos you have found?

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