How to Interpret the Listings

Perspective from Tanya

There are currently no official or even commonly used guidelines about what constitutes Belly Dance either in New Zealand or internationally. People who teach or perform Belly Dance are self identified. Self identified Belly Dance teachers and performers range from those who identify as "Belly Dancers" because they enjoy the costuming and overall concept of the "Mysterious East" and choose to call their personal dance style Belly Dance regardless of movement style or music. At the other end of the spectrum are teachers and performers who identify "Belly Dance" and as a specific style of dance movement originating from a specific dance form (such as below) with a rich complex history and are passionate about discovering, exploring and sharing it.

Belly Dance in neither codified nor standardised; as a result there are no official qualifications required to teach or perform Belly Dance in New Zealand. Teachers range from free spirits who may have attended some Belly Dance classes or may have "danced Belly Dance as a child", enjoy the concept of "Belly Dance" and choose to start their own Belly Dance group. At the other end of the spectrum are those who have performed, studied and taught Belly Dance for decades both nationally and internationally and have fully developed teaching techniques and sylibus to share their passion fully and safely.

This list contains self identified "Belly Dance" teachers and groups in New Zealand. We have not restricted entry. Entry on this list is not an endorsement of the teacher or group. Because there are no standardised qualifications and in order to give you as much information as possible when selecting a teacher that is right for you we have included a summary of the teacher/facilitators ongoing education in the dance. This will give you and idea of their scope of study, however, most Belly Dance learning opportunities provide a participation certificate only (i.e. no assessment of the participants achievements).


This is how the following words are intended to be understood in the Teacher Listing pages.

Class a group of people who want to learn belly dance with teacher or other facilitator
Beginner Class Beginner is a wide term with no fixed definition. Some people use it for people with only a few months experience, others require a longer term of study or even the ability to show particular skills or knowledge. On these teacher listings, the icon represents the offer of classes to new beginners. That is, classes that are available for people with no previous belly dance experience. These may only be available at certain times during the year - for instance at the start of term.
"Beyond Beginner" Class "Beyond Beginner" is a catch all term. Each group will have its own terminology eg Level2/Level3 or NextSteps or Intermediate/Advanced. The meaning of any of these terms varies from group to group. It can mean anything from someone who has completed a couple of months classes to a professional with decades of experience. It is intended that groups that offer "Beyond Beginner" classes provide students with some work beyond basic isolations and simple combinations. This may be within a mixed class or as a separate class. Some larger groups may offer a range of levels. Some may require proof of competency before joining a Beyond Beginner class (whatever they may label it). In each case it is best to check what is required - do not assume you can always join a Beyond Beginner class if moving from another group.
Professional Experience
  Professional dance experience means being paid to dance for the general public, either solo or in a troupe (but not solely as part of a student group)
  • "Regular" means dancing every week
  • "Some" is less than weekly but more than once a year
  • "Past" means you have not danced professionally for a year or more
Beledi a parallel version of Egyptian belly dance which can be less obviously technical but intimately connected to Egyptian music and culture.
Folkloric Based on the folk dance of a specific Middle Eastern or Maghrebi area, modified for stage, and performed with appropriate music, movement vocabulary and costuming.
Examples would be sa`iidi, khaleegy, debke, schikhatt, Turkish Rom.
Fusion A mix of two or more identifiable elements where both still exist but the sum is more than the whole. The mix can include movement vocabulary, music, culture and costuming.
Orientale aka danse orientale, oriental, raqs sharqi, cabaret. What most of the general public would recognize as "belly dance" with an underpinning focus as a performance dance form (regardless of whether the students intend to perform or not)
Examples would be Egyptian Golden Age, Egyptian Modern, Lebanese belly dance, Turkish belly dance, American Cabaret (aka AmCab or American Classic), BDSS
Social Orientale without the performance focus. Basic movement vocabulary is similar but without emphasis on learning choreography, stage work or costuming.
Tribal The descendents of Bal Anat.
Examples would be ATS, Fat Chance Belly Dance, Gypsy Caravan, Black Sheep Belly Dance, `Habi Ru.
Training, Workshops and Stars
  Training information is as provided by the teachers themselves. These can be (belly) dance or dance teaching related. Self directed research or video study does not count (it is expected all teachers will be engaged in this).

Only workshops taken within five years of submission are accepted. Attar only displays only the ten most recent. Some teachers would have had more. In this case it can be expected that the minor workshops have been left off.

Non-NZ teachers are identified by their country of residence eg Amera (Australia). When their country of birth is different and contributed significantly to their dance it is also given eg Dr Mo Geddawi (Egypt/Germany).

The stars relate to training/workshops taken within the last five years of more than 4 hours duration. (This is to try and weed out one hit short workshops) Unlike the training notes themselves, the stars fade with time.

Workshops vary in level taught (even with the same tutor) and people pick things up at different rates depending on a range of factors. There is also no way to accurately gauge how much work teachers put into their dance outside workshops - but at least attendance shows the teacher is willing to extend their knowledge.

Attar suggests you look for teachers who consistently maintain their expertise and work with experienced teachers.

Please note the Training section only appears on Paid Listings.

Other Terms  
Belly Dance Belly Dance any dance that involves any of the styles above except fusion must include at least one recognized belly dance style. Neither Indian dance nor Flamenco are belly dance styles.
Also see Attar's definition.
MED Middle Eastern Dance - both belly dance and folk styles from the Middle East and the Maghreb (North Africa).

Also see Listing Types for pricing.

Last updated by JEWEL