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.
The Tuesday class has been working on the Shimmy Mob choreography and we’re excited to perform it on Saturday May 12 in Moncton. After the daytime performances we will be performing the number again in the Studio Sephira Belly Dance Showcase and Kaleena will be performing a solo! There is also a number of special guests and performances! Show starts at 7:30pm and admission is $10.
Bring your loonies and toonies. This is a fundraiser and everything raised goes directly to Crossroads for Women in Moncton! Your participation positively impacts the community!!
This is Studio Sephira‘s 4th time participating in this event and our first. So come cheer us on and help us to support women in New Brunswick through a fun and positive fundraising event!
Are you ready for a new experience through an art form that will get you in shape and feeling beautiful, all while supporting a great cause?
On Tuesday January 16 at 6pm we are starting our Shimmy Mob class. Shimmy Mob will have us flash mob style dancing with other belly dancers in Moncton (and all over the world) on Saturday May 12 2018 to fundraise for women and children’s shelters. Each class we will focus on technique, combinations and all other class material but we will also include Shimmy Mob practice (you get the video to work on it all you want at home too!) By May we will all be ready to confidently rock the Shimmy Mob choreography. Practicing a dance and drilling technique will also offer health and fitness benefits. Belly dance makes you a goddess!
Here’s how it works
Register for Shimmy Mob by the end of the year for the early bird discount. It’s $36.50 USD and includes a TShirt for the day of the event and the choreography video so you can practice at home in between classes. The price goes up in 2018. Your team is MONCTON so please select that option when you register. On the day of the event we will be carpooling to Moncton to dance with a bunch of other dancers! It’s going to be a blast! (no worries if you do not drive, we will find you a ride.
Register for classes by the end of year for the early discount of $75 for 6 classes ($85 after the 31st). We start on Tuesday January 16 at 6pm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this class suitable for beginners?
Yes beginners to intermediate. It is a mixed level class but complete beginners will have 4 months to learn the techniques and choreography, and we review basics at every level. I have been dancing for over eight 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?
Unfortunately not, as I can only teach the choreography to students that are already registered for Shimmy Mob. This is the event’s rules. LUNA Belly Dance offers another beginner-intermediate class on Thursday evenings at 6pm.
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 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. 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.
It has felt like forever since our last dance class. I’m really happy to announce that we’re starting up with a single class at 139 Prince Edward Street in room 111. You will see the studio as soon as you walk through the door! Happily, it is very accessible.
We are in the new Social Enterprise Hub! A space built for change! We are delighted to be in a brand new building (built from the ground up in 2016!!)
Class is $80/6 weeks with hst included. $70 if you register by September 23. Paypal, Etransfer or credit card. I can also be reached over the phone 607-2257 or email to reserve your spot.
6 Classes $70 until September 23
LUNA Belly Dance offers women an environment to build confidence, body awareness and to discover YOURSELF as an artist. I teach everyone to bring out their individuality, artistry (yes you have it!) and to feel beautiful. This is not an athletic class. It is about feeling freakin’ gorgeous! There’s no squats or intense exercise but you can still expect to have a great workout. Especially toning arms with veil!
This class is already filling up thanks to the wonderful students and friends that have been waiting for me to get back at it again! So please contact me asap to reserve your spot.
Spring has sprung and this means that there are a number of homeless kittens (and mama cats) that need care before they can find forever homes.
LUNA Belly Dance is hosting a fundraising class on Thursday June 1st, 6pm at our Uptown Saint John location at 162 Union Street, Second Floor. The class is free with a donation of: kitten food, bedding, monetary support or toys.
LUNA Belly Dance will be at the Saint John SPCA Kitten Shower event on Saturday June 3 between 11 and 2 to deliver all donations raised from our class.
We will also be providing information on how you can raise money for the SPCA for FREE (hint- it’s an app!) and everyone is encouraged to speak to the SPCA about foster and adoption (including any adult cat that needs a home!)
Feel free to comment your questions and please share to spread the word so we can help the kittens as much as possible.
Belly dance is an umbrella term for a lot of different dance styles that have a hip and belly focused movement vocabulary.
In Egypt, belly dance is called Raqs Sharki. This means Oriental Dancing. You could say that belly dance is a term that has been coined by Non-Middle Eastern people to describe the way the dance looks. I watched a discussion hosted by an Egyptian musician and dancer named, Karim Nagi where he said calling the dance belly dance is like calling a car a moving box with wheels. It was a memorable analogy! However, we continue to call Raqs Sharki belly dance because this is how the art and business is recognized in Canada.
In Egypt, belly dance is a social dance that most women who have been raised in the culture will have seen and experienced with friends and family in a casual, non-performance environment. There are nightclubs and famous belly dancers in Egypt of course, but the majority of women use this dance to have fun with their friends and family. If an Egyptian woman wants to be a dancer in Egypt one option is to join the Reda Troupe. This is a theatrical interpretation of folk dances from Egypt. It’s a re-imagining of how these women would act and dress in their homeland. Many dancers start here. The Reda style has balletic influences and many Egyptian trained dancers get a lot of ballet training in their dance classes (like all of our arm positions and arabesques in class!) or they take ballet separately, to complement their belly dancing.
The Egyptian style can be described as flirty and coquettish; soft, elegant and not as busy when compared to other styles. This means there isn’t as much complex layering. The art is making the dance look and feel relaxed. There is a huge emphasis on feeling the music and improvisation (usually to live music…and the live music is improvised too!) Middle Eastern music is seriously complex! There are hundreds of rhythms and thousands of variations on those rhythms and there are maqams; this is comparable to a mode, and it tells the dancer and other musicians the feeling or tone of the music being played so that it can be interpreted accordingly. (i.e. a sad, celebratory, folky etc song) Sometimes a dancer will dance to a famous and beloved singer such as Om Kalthoum and will express the lyrics and essence of the song through her dance. Knowing the moves, songs, singers, composers, lyric translation and how to interpret it all through your body is a big part of the Egyptian style.
It seems like a lot and it is, but it all comes together eventually!
Even every instrument will give the dancer a direction. The ney (like a flute) may speak to longing and the movements may be more reaching , long and dramatic. This will differ to if the musician is playing an accordion and then the dancer will use more juicy hip and belly movements and the dance will have a more earthy and sensual feel. Or the drum, which is by far the most popular. The dancer will be sure to use her isolation technique, personality and bring a ton of energy to the audience!
In short, musicality and emotion is very important to the Egyptian style. As a general consensus, a middle eastern audience would likely enjoy a belly dancer more that knows the classic songs and has great musicality rather than a dancer that only has great technique. When a Saidi song comes on (a folk dance style) the dancer may be expected to give a nod to this region with a dance move from Upper Egypt (actually the south of Egypt so it is similar to Saint John calling their downtown Uptown!) Of course a combination of musicality and technique is the ultimate goal!
The Egyptian style has evolved dramatically over the years. I will leave you with two videos and this is something one of my Egyptian folk dance teachers did for me years back. Please watch these two videos. One is of a very famous Egyptian dancer named Soheir Zaki (this video is from the 70’s) and the other is a famous modern Egyptian dancer named Dina (video is relatively recent and she is dancing to live music!). This also shows how this is a very personal dance. No two dancers look the same even when they know the same songs and a similar movement vocabulary. The Egyptian style is incredibly unique to the individual and it makes it a very personalized and creative art form to learn.
I get asked this question a lot! Short answer is, it can but here’s a better response to why belly dance is the ideal activity for women’s health and fitness.
I (Kaleena) have been a certified personal trainer for over a decade and lost 50lbs with diet and exercise but it wasn’t until I started to belly dance that I truly loved my body and felt confident in my own skin.
Belly Dance is one of the BEST Exercises for Women
Work your Abs Belly dance is earthy, centered and grounded. To learn this dance you use your core. This is an exercise that strengthens your abdominal muscles in a low impact way, and having strong abs and good posture (we go through posture every class) not only prevents falls and injuries by improving your balance but it will make you appear taller, and slimmer (and proud! Rawr!).
Full Body Toning Despite being called belly dance this is an art form that uses the arms and traveling steps frequently. You will find that you work muscles you didn’t even know existed, and you will be moving and burning calories, while toning your entire body.
Gain Confidence This is THE MOST IMPORTANT benefit to belly dance as far as I’m concerned. What good is weight loss if you are still not accepting your body? After losing weight I was underweight and felt even more self-conscious than ever before. Belly dance taught me to LOVE my curves, embrace the jiggle and recognize that every body is beautiful!
Be Elegant and Graceful With belly dance you will learn how to move with elegance and grace. You feel like a queen even when you are walking down the grocery aisle. You will be stunned with how these qualities are IN YOU ALREADY! Belly dance just brings them out. When I started I felt like I had two left feet and no coordination. If I can do it, trust me, so can you!
Stop Caring About Weight Loss You will never believe it’s possible because as women we always want to improve our appearance and this equates to losing weight but belly dance truly helps us to get past this obsession with weight loss. When you accept your body, start to see “imperfections” as what makes you unique and see that every body type is moving beautifully in class, you will stop caring about whether or not you will lose weight because you will be too busy reveling in the other benefits (many more I didn’t write about here!) and you will free yourself up for more important aspects of personal development, creativity, and making your entire being strong and healthy.
Visit our studio at 162 Union Street in Saint John and try your first class free.
Are you nervous to belly dance? GOOD! You need to do what scares you to change yourself: mind, body and soul.
YES means CHANGE. I’m a certified personal trainer and nutritionist but before I said yes to walking 5 minutes on the treadmill I was 50 lbs overweight and would get winded walking up a flight of stairs. Yes to walking 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, 20 minutes and yes yes yes turned into a career, 50 lbs weight loss, running a half marathon and doing multiple segments on CBC.
I said yes to the gift of belly dance (birthday gift from my Mother). I had never danced before and I was really bad at it (trust me I watch the beginners I teach and you are all more coordinated than I was) but I kept at it. I said yes to going to class. It cured my shyness and social anxiety, it gave me so much creativity, and the CONFIDENCE, SELF-ESTEEM and POSITIVE BODY IMAGE to go after what I want and need in this life!
YES is one of the most powerful words when it comes to your personal development and happiness. So if you are on the fence about these dance class, or heck, anything in your life, and especially if you have a tendency to say no..make it a YES and watch your world change!
“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.”