What is the history of bellydance?
Prior to about 1850 we really don't know anything about bellydance. We do know that from the 1850s on, there were dancers at various European World's Fairs performing what was dubbed the "danse du ventre" (literally, "dance of the stomach"). In 1893, bellydance came to America as part of the Chicago World's Fair in the "Street in Cairo" exhibit. So, while it is fairly old, and the folkloric dances it is based on from the Middle East, Mediterranean, and North Africa may be ancient themselves, bellydance as we know it is not. If you're interested in learning more, there are books and articles galore to be found on the history of bellydance.
A great place to start online is Shira.net. Shira is a well-respected bellydancer and researcher of Middle Eastern dance (bellydance), and she has an entire website dedicated to the subject. Her website is easy to navigate, easy to read, and has a tremendous amount of information - including known history.
Am I too heavy, thin, old, tall, or short to bellydance?
No, bellydancers really do come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.
But you're supposed to/not supposed to have a "belly" to do bellydance, right??
Again, all shapes and sizes are found in bellydance, both at student and professional levels. Physical appearance doesn't dictate whether you can or can not dance.
Will I lose weight bellydancing?
Bellydancing is like any form of exercise, it depends on how often you do it. If you want to bellydance for weight loss, then a weekly class along with daily home practice will be more beneficial than a weekly class alone.
I'm pregnant, is it safe for me to take your bellydance class?
As long as your doctor has cleared you for moderate physical activity, yes.
Which style of bellydance are you?
Primarily Egyptian, with Turkish and American Classic influences.
Sounds like fun! When does your next class start?
As dates and times are confirmed, I post them to the Classes page, along wiith registration information. If there are no upcoming classes planned (ex: during the Holiday season), then a notice will be posted on the Classes page along with the expected timeframe classes will resume.
How can I hire you for my event?
First, have a look at my Booking page for an idea of my rates. Then, get in touch with me via phone or email and let's talk! I'll need to know what you have in mind for your event, if there's a theme, how many guests you expect, the location, and of course the date and time so I can check my availability. If I'm available, I'll send you a Performance Agreement to sign and return to me with with a 50% deposit. Once both are received, that's it, you're booked!
How far in advance should I book you?
Sooner is better, to ensure I'm available and also to allow enough time to prepare for your event. At least two weeks in advance is best; four weeks or more is preferable for large events.
What kind of music do you dance to?
I have a large collection of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean music I pull from, with both classic and contemporary songs available. Song selections are based on the theme of your event; please let me know in advance if you have any special requests.
Do you dance with veils or play those finger thingies?
I have veils, finger cymbals, assaya (folkloric cane), sword, candle tray, Wings of Isis, and shamadan. Which props I use depend on several factors, to include the type of event, music, and location. I do not dance with snakes.
What about your costumes?
They are stage-worthy, professional costumes from both Egyptian and American bellydance costume designers. Except for Zeffa bookings, I typically wear two-piece costumes with full skirts. For zeffa I wear a more modest or "covered" look, which I can also wear for other events if requested.
Is it okay to tip you? Am I supposed to tip bellydancers?
Though not required, tipping is a traditional part of the bellydance experience. It is okay to tip me if you'd like, it's always appreciated. In the Middle East it's customary to tip bellydancers by tossing bills over the dancer's head, either one at a time or all at once, in what's dubbed a "money shower". Money showers are a fun way to do it, other acceptable ways are tucking bills into my armband or the side of my belt. You may also simply hand it to me if you prefer.
How do you say your name, anyway?
Ruya (pron. rue-yah), is a female Arabic name that means "dream" or "a vision".