It has been a very long time! I have not been teaching other than a few engagements since COVID-19 struck in March 2020.
The virus hit artistic businesses harder than any other industry, and I’ll be completely honest, it has been a difficult time for me mind, body, and soul to have the business I have worked hard for, and the students whom I connected with and enjoyed spending time with to be taken away so abruptly. That being said, I sincerely thank you all for your patience and understanding. I felt truly supported. I always tell people that the women I have met through belly dance are the kindest souls around, and you all really drove that point home for me throughout this. THANK YOU!
In the past 18 months I have tried a couple of times to get classes back up and running, but due to second waves or students, understandably not feeling safe, we decided to postpone.
However, we are ready to get started again. To help people feel safer I’m opening two classes with a maximum of 8 students per class. This is down from 12 maximum pre-pandemic, which will give us room to spread out.
As for dancing a few things have changed for me. Practicing and learning myself was a challenge and I found myself quite addicted to an urban dance platform called Steezy (it means style with ease). While there is no belly dance on the platform it improved my dancing significantly and had me dancing for at least an hour every day, including dance workouts that also work toward improving social dance skills, which I’m now adding as a component to the class. Other than that addition, classes will also have a slightly different structure as follows:
Warm Up (5-10 minutes)
Dance workout (10 minutes)
Learn moves and combo (20 minutes)
Veil or other prop 15 minutes (15 minutes)
Cool down (5-10 minutes)
You can register for classes by visiting the classes page to see times, dates, and class level descriptions. There is an early bird price in effect until September 17.
I have some performance dates coming up! The first is a dance performance and lesson this coming weekend in Sussex. This is an event by the Multicultural Association of Sussex and I will dance and teach a demo class.
During the pandemic I taught at the Algonquin Resort in Saint Andrews and I will be returning in November to teach 60 women per class for their Health and Wellness expo.
After a year and a half off this already seems like a lot for me in addition to the job I have now, plus I decided to fill some pandemic time by taking a diploma program online through the University of Guelph to study horticulture BUT more is yet to come. I plan to teach more classes throughout Southeastern New Brunswick, and get the seniors class back up too with Jan. So stay tuned, we’re taking baby steps…triple steps, chasse…however, you’d like to think of it but it’s going to happen and we will be dancing up a storm together in no time!
It has been a fantastic fall session. LUNA Belly dance has sure grown in the past couple of years and I could not be more thankful. In September, we added a new class in Hampton at Lifestyles Health & Fitness and it has been a lot of fun with really amazing women. The first class of the new session starts November 14. It is a beginner class so no experience necessary!
Tuesday at 6pm is still intermediate level at 139 Prince Edward Street in Saint John, and it is such an honour to teach the same dancers from their day 1 basics to in some cases, two years into their dance journey. I’m so proud of these students and their progress and I love seeing their beautiful moves consistently improving in class. I can only hope to pass along the passion and benefits of belly dance to my students!
This class also attracts advanced and professional dancers who want a class environment to re-visit favourite moves. Over the years I definitely find that the more I hear a move explained from different instructors, the better I get at it. That’s why it is important to always learn from as many teachers as possible and to always re-visit beginner classes. The most seasoned dancers are always happy to revisit their basic foundations.
We also have a beginner class right after the intermediate at 7:15 for anyone new to dance and hoping to receive the benefits of belly dance which include exercise, creativity, and community. Both Intermediate and beginner start Tuesday October 29 and classes are already filling up so get registered soon to join us!
September had me (Kaleena) in Winnipeg to participate in Be The Canvas and to perform a solo. This was a workshop by Yasmina Ramzy from Arabesque Dance Academy in Toronto where dancers from all levels and different cities get together and become a part of Yasmina’s creative process. In 2.5 days we had a piece ready and performed it in Rachel Browne Theatre. Here’s a Facebook Link to the performance.
I was told about a dance collective called YRA (Yasmina Ramzy Arts) Dream Company, which was created to bring dancers together online to learn dance company choreography. Once given feedback and approved, dancers can perform in cities we can travel to or will already be in/live in. This is the perfect opportunity for me to develop as an artist under the direction of a Master Instructor while living in rural New Brunswick. Needless to say I’m absolutely elated with all things belly dance these days.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer! I had a very busy summer but also fun with settling into a new home, seeing lots of friends, and dancing!
One reason I enjoy taking summers off teaching is to focus on my own dance, which in turn inspires me to teach even more. This summer I have been taking a lot of classes online, and I am also preparing for workshops and a performance in Winnipeg in September.
I have also been planning the fall schedule, and I feel very motivated to get back at it again with all the inquiries I received over the past couple of months. There has been a change and a new class added at Lifestyles in Hampton. Even better, there is a $5 demo class where I will debut my new solo and teach a lesson.
So without further ado:
Tuesday 139 Prince Edward Street Saint John Starts September 17 Intermediate 6-7pm
Thursday 1032 Main Street, Hampton Starts September 12
OPEN HOUSE DEMO CLASS IS SEPT 5 at 7:30pm for $5!
Saturday 25 Main Street West Saint John
SAVE $10 and pay $75 for 6 classes (offer expires Sept 13)
Classes do sell out so please register as soon as possible to secure your spot
Register with etransfer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Paypal, or credit card. We also take credit card over the phone or in the studio.
If you have any questions about the new schedule or any questions about belly dance class feel free to reach out by emailing me email@example.com or by calling 506-607-2257.
On May 12, 2019 our dancers participated in Shimmy Mob, a worldwide belly dance flash mob. Our Saint John group participated with over 2000 other belly dancers from all over the globe from Moncton New Brunswick, to Australia, Europe, and South America and performed the same choreography for the same cause. We were dancing to raise funds for domestic violence, to break the silence, and end the stigma.
One of the best parts of Shimmy Mob is we are encouraged to fundraise for a local charity or organization of our choice and we chose The Tanya Shand Memorial Fund. Tanya Shand was murdered by her common law partner in front of their seven year old daughter in Rothesay, New Brunswick. The donations are used to help women escape violent situations providing anything from groceries to a plane ticket. We are very happy to say we raised $500 for this worthy and important cause.
We would like to thank Shimmy Mob and everyone who participated, donated, and came out to watch!
We will be participating again next year. It’s a beginner friendly event, and anyone can do it, so consider joining us!
It’s been an amazing late winter season with two motivated beginner classes and a hard working intermediate class who is rehearsing choreography to perform on May 4 at the Beltane Bash in Saint Martins and May 11 in uptown Saint John for Shimmy Mob, a global flashmob for belly dancers worldwide raising funds for local organizations that help domestic violence survivors.
We are open for a new session of dance, and there’s only a couple of sessions left this year. If you want to learn fun dance moves with others in a fun and positive environment, you have come to the right place! Here are some common questions:
Belly Dance FAQS
1. What do I wear?
Wear anything you like! This is gentle exercise so no need to dress is anything too technical. Most students wear yoga pants and a t-shirt/tank top but feel free to wear leggings or skirts. Wear a layer in case you get too hot or cold. (example: long sleeve shirt with tank top underneath)
Students usually wear socks, indoor shoes/dance slippers, or go barefoot.
2. Do I have to show my stomach?
3. Do I need to bring anything to class?
Everything is provided including all coin belts, hip scarves, and veils! Just bring some water to stay hydrated.
4. Is there parking?
Yes, there is plenty of parking! At 139 Prince Edward Street you can park on the street, either above or underground at Prince Edward Square, or the small lot uphill down the street (it’s employee parking but near empty by 6pm)
25 Main Street West has street parking and also a large lot behind Scotiabank, which is empty on Saturday when the bank is closed!
5. “I can’t dance” will belly dance be too hard for me?
Anyone can dance! Belly dance is not easy, but the beginner curriculum is made easy for any one at any level. We start with basic planes of movement and add on throughout the session. Class sizes are kept around 10 students per class for individualized attention.
6. How many beginner sessions should I take before moving on?
A minimum of 3 is recommended, though some stay in the class longer, and some choose to remain at the beginner level indefinitely for recreation and exercise.
7. What happens if I miss a class?
Missed classes can be made up in any other class during the session. (Example: You miss beginner on Thursday so come to any beginner on Saturday or intermediate on Tuesday before the session is over)
8. Is belly dance only for young, skinny women?
No, it’s for everyone. In fact, our demographic is mainly 30+ I have students that range from 15-75 years old and all genders, nationalities, body types, and walks of life. As long as you want to learn you are welcome! This is a dance for “every body”.
Thank you everyone for your role in the hafla, whether you were one of our beautiful dancers, attentive audience members, Kathy Young from Misfits Studio for her POUND demo, or a member of the Let’s Hummus Team for providing us with delicious Lebanese food. Needless to say, our first party was a stunning success and will pave the way for many more!
If you want to make a difference in the community, raise awareness, and promote positive change in Saint John through an art form that will get you in shape and feeling beautiful, you can be a part of a global belly dance campaign to help women escape domestic violence situations.
Being involved in Shimmy Mob is easy. Shimmy Mob will have us flash mob style dancing with other belly dancers all over the world on Saturday May 11, 2019. We will raise awareness about domestic violence and raise funds for a local women and children’s shelter of our choice.
We will have a Shimmy Mob class in Febuary/March but the first step is to register in January before the price goes up! Once you register to be a part of the Saint John team, you can come to the Shimmy Mob class on Tuesdays at 6pm to learn the technique and dance with us. We perform the dance in public spaces in Saint John on Saturday May 11 and other groups all over the world will be doing the same thing!
Here’s how it works
Register for Shimmy Mob It’s $30 USD (36USD after January 15). This includes a T-Shirt for the day of the event and the choreography video so you can practice at home in between classes. Your team is SAINT JOHN so please select that option when you register. On the day of the event we will be carpooling to areas around Saint John to dance! It’s going to be a blast! (no worries if you do not drive, we have you covered!)
Register for classes by the end of year for the early discount of $75 for 6 classes ($85 after January 1). If you’re a beginner keep refining your technique with Kaleena in beginner class and move on to the Tuesday class in February when we all start learning the dance for Shimmy Mob!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this Shimmy Mob suitable for beginners?
Yes beginners to intermediate. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you sign up to Shimmy Mob and continue to attend the beginner class for technique in January/February and you will be welcome to move onto Tuesday night rehearsals in Febuary/March. You will have 4 months to learn the techniques and choreography, and we review basics at every level. I have been dancing for nearly ten years and did my first performance after 3 months. If you can commit to the classes and a bit of practice on your own you will be more than fine.
Can I attend this class if I’m not registered for Shimmy Mob?
Starting mid February the Tuesday class will be for Shimmy Mob registrants only but the beginner classes will always be open to anyone! I can only teach the choreography to students who are registered for Shimmy Mob. This is the event’s rules. LUNA Belly Dance offers beginner class on Thursday evenings at 6pm and Saturday morning at 11am.
Can you do Shimmy Mob without the classes?
Yes! The class is for the group experience and additional instruction, especially where the technique is concerned! Anyone can sign up for Shimmy Mob, practice the dance on their own and meet a group in a participating city.
Who is teaching this class?
Kaleena has been belly dancing since 2009 and dances professionally in nightclubs, restaurants and for public and private events. She was a teacher and the rehearsal assistant at Om Laila Studio in Toronto where her teacher Roula Said rounded her education with Middle Eastern Music and Song. She learned percussion including finger cymbals (zils, sagat), the drum (darbuka, doumbek), rhythms of the Middle East and singing/song translation for Arabic Music. She was in a number performance groups and theatre for singing, percussion, and dance and has also performed hundreds of times as a soloist. Kaleena has trained with world renowned Master Instructors from Egypt and specialized in the Reda Style (theatrical folk dance company in Egypt) with Nada El Masriya at the Egyptian Dance Academy. She was part of EAST and the EDA Folklore troupe, which won 2nd runner up at Star Belly Dancer Canada. Kaleena is known for having soul in her dance, smooth elegance, and knowledge of music and song. She loves to improvise dance most but also enjoys creating and teaching choreography. Her classes are upbeat, positive and welcoming to everyone regardless of levels or goals. LUNA Belly Dance strives to be an asset to the community and to encourage women to feel great mind, body, and soul.
This has been an amazing autumn of dance here in Saint John. There’s a new session beginning on Tuesday for intermediate, and Thursday for beginner! In Tuesday class, we are working on a choreography to the song Eshta Ya Amar, and learning technique to support the dance. It’s amazing to see the dancers who have gone from beginner last year to intermediate this year. It really shows that pushing through that learning curve in the beginning is well worth it!
When you start belly dancing, sometimes it feels more like a mental exercise than physical (unless we are doing shimmy drills!) but when you have solid technique and the moves find their home in your body, you can really amp it up safely and sweat!
You can still sign up for the beginner class! The sooner you start, the sooner you will be rockin’ these moves:
Speaking of rockin’, I’ll be visiting Toronto to perform for the second year in a row at Rockin’ Raqs! I’m excited to debut my fusion piece, and see my friends in the Toronto Belly Dance Community! I will also be bringing back some fancy coin belts and hip scarfs to sell!
In other good news, throughout this past session, students have been donating supplies for The Purse Project. We have enough donations now to fill 2-3 purses, so thank you everyone for thinking of the women who can use a helping hand in our community. We are still collecting this coming week so feel free to bring in an item for the purse that a woman in crisis would appreciate. This coming weekend I’ll being the purses to our drop off point at Oh My Soul and Journey at 25 Main Street West.
Speaking of Oh My Soul and Journey I just taught a Beginner Crash Course workshop there yesterday and it was FANTASTIC! What a beautiful space. It’s a sanctuary for wellness in a positive, and good vibe environment! I have two more workshops in this series in November and December. In both of these workshops I’ll teach a short choreography so you can take a dance home to keep practicing your moves! I can’t wait to dance with everyone as we near the end of 2018!
And as always thank you for your business and friendships!
I have studied with a number of amazing instructors, but with Roula Said the most. I learned so much from her, but my main takeaway was REALLY getting to know the moves and make them my own. She improved how I expressed myself, and my message through my dance. She gave me the gift of musicality, in a profound way, and increased my overall artistic ability. She really helped me to come out of my shell, and find my authentic self as dancer and an individual. You don’t need to study with her for years to receive these benefits. I gained so much from the first workshop I took with her in Toronto, which is how we met.
For me, dance is exercise and expression. I dance when I’m happy, sad, angry, bored, and when I’m out with other people. It has given me confidence, self-respect, and a positive community.
Amazing things happen when women get together and let go of everything else to dance! Whether you want to elevate your art form, or you just want to learn some cool moves while getting in tune with your body, you should really come out to these workshops! There’s a discount if you register by Monday August 6.
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”