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Bellydance levels

To help you understand your levels of attainment, and easily identify your route to progression, I use a level framework similar to that used by JWAAD when assessing dancers
. These levels are tougher and slightly less "flattering" than some, in fact most teachers fall within the "Intermediate" band and very few ever attain "Advanced" status.
The speed you progress through the levels depends upon:
  • How regularly you attend class
  • How much you practice at home
  • Your physical ability
  • Your natural musicality
  • How much you listen to and familiarise yourself with Arabic music
  • The quality of your teaching and feedback
Your level does not affect your ability to have a great time in class, or fulfilling involvement in the dance community. Many dancers stay at Beginner or Improver level for many years, and continue to learn, perform and be a valuable part of the bellydance world. If you would like to know more about improving your level, take a look at this blog series.

When you attend your first class with me, you will be a "New Dancer" until you have completed the Fundamentals course, or covered all the moves therein.

These bands are broad, and in reality each encompasses 3 levels.

Beginner level bellydance.

Beginner dancers will be familiar with the Fundamentals steps, though they may not have technically mastered them all.

They can dance simple combinations and choreography using the Fundamental steps. They can dance basic improvisation using 3 or more steps.

They may be starting to travel with their basic moves (especially flat hip circles, step-hip-lift).

They may be starting to layer some movements, for instance layering a shimmy over a basic movement.

They can pick out the beat in Arabic music and are beginning to identify instrumentation.

They are beginning to discover the main different styles of Egyptian bellydance (Orientale, Baladi, Saiidi)

Depending on the intensity of your study, you may stay a beginner for around 2 years.

Improver level bellydance

Improver level dancers are fairly proficient at the Fundamental steps, they can pick out and name the steps when they see them performed.

Improver dancers can travel with the basic steps and layer some steps. They will be able to dance some variations of basic steps, such as single and double camels, chonks and one-legged shimmies.

They will be able to perform some compound movements such as hagalla, bicycle hips  and horizontal hips.

Most transitions between movements are smooth.

They can recognise basic Arabic rhythms (saiidi, baladi, ayoob, cifticelli, malfuf) and are able to represent different instruments in their dance.

Improver dancers will be introducing basic props (cane, veil, sagat and perhaps some balancing) into their dance.

They can retain choreography, for a short performance piece, and improvise with some flow.

They can select appropriate costuming to suit Orientale, Baladi and Saiidi styles.

Intermediate level bellydance

Intermediate dancers should be able to execute the basic steps almost flawlessly, in various foot positions and travelling, with a range of appropriate arm frames.

Layered and compound movements will represent a core part of their vocabulary.

They are competent with basic props, although they may not perform with all of them.

Intermediate dancers can create their own choreography, and improvise with very few stilted moments and varied content. They demonstrate good musicality through their dance.

They can demonstrate and identify common Arabic rhythms, styles of music and popular songs.


They are able to dance appropriately to different styles of Arabic music.

They are able to competently choose appropriate costumes to suit their music, choreography and venue.
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