So you've decided to take your first belly dance class. You're registered and ready!
Here are three tips for making the most of your rookie experience.
Go for fun comfort
Comfortable clothing for dance will help you be less self-conscious and more confident. I recommend yoga pants and your favorite shirt.
Why yoga pants? Your instructor will be able to see your posture better and provide correction. You'll feel free to stretch and move.
Most dancers dance barefoot, but if that isn't your style, purchase jazz or ballet slippers or yoga socks with grippy feet.
If you can, find a hip scarf. Coin belts instantly add fun and pizzaz, but some instructors prefer quiet hip scarfs, so take both just in case.
Be Prepared for the Whole Class
Arrive early, but not too early! Entering the space ten-fifteen minutes early gives you time to use the restroom and situate your things without cutting into the instructor's prep/setup time.
For your first day, check on the ETA with normal traffic at that time. Many classes start toward the end of rush hour, so prepared to add some travel time.
Take water! Halfway through class you might have a break or need to hydrate. I've had many a toe cramp due to dehydration in class.
Most instructors have a five-ten minute stretch at the end of class: taking your own yoga mat is a great option.
Turn Your Negative Self-Talk into Positives
Taking a belly dance class is brave if you struggle with body confidence! Start with encouraging yourself to be proud of that courage.
When you struggle (and you will!), acknowledge the struggle as part of your growth, not as yet another failure in a long line of failures (or whatever litany your self-critic spews).
Definitely don't let your fear dominate your conversation. Constant self-criticism and complaining will discourage other students and draw attention to you and away from the purpose of the class: enjoyment and learning.
However, you should ask questions around your struggles--if you have a question, others will too!
Taking a belly dance class can be life-changing; preparation and the proper attitude are keys to enjoying the first few steps into that new world.