My name is Joanne Domenici, and I have been involved in the Belly Dance world since 1974, although I did not start teaching until 2006. My classes were always well attended, but I couldn’t help but think there was a better way to teach the classes I so enjoyed.
I knew that Oreet was the person I was looking for to help me implement my original vision, as she had already done it! I made sure I was in her first west coast workshop in the summer of 2009 and became certified as a SharQuí instructor.
SharQuí – The bellydance workout® has done so much for me as well as my students and I continue to teach at the same gym using the SharQuí format. It has been a joy to be able to use the SharQuí vehicle to support students in their growth as healthy and happy human beings.
As I reach my “senior” years, it becomes more and more important to stay “young” and in shape, and to help my students do the same. I recently received some tangible proof that SharQuí is helping me do just that! I was more than pleasantly surprised when my reading for my lower spine came back in the normal range and I can only attribute this to teaching SharQui – The bellydance workout®, as I have not changed anything else substantially in my workout routine. All of the twisting plus the attention to posture surely contributed to this vast improvement.
Here’s to teaching many more years as a SharQuí instructor! Many, many thanks to Oreet for everything she has done for me!
My SharQuí Journey
By Sandra Forrer
Sandra Before SharQuí Sandra After SharQuí
In 1986 I started bellydance lessons at my local community center in Sunnyvale, CA. Flash forward to 2006, two daughters occupy my life and bellydance has fallen by the wayside and my weight is slowly creeping up about 10 pounds per year over the previous 4 years. My loving man caught me dancing in the kitchen and insisted I get back to dancing. I made the commitment to myself to exercise more. My attempts to go to the gym more often were often sidetracked by homework help, driving my kids to their activities and over all boredom with my workout.
Then at Rakkasah West in 2009 my husband pulls me away from my shopping telling me, “You have to see this!” and takes me over to the SharQuí booth. My mind did a double take, a BELLYDANCE workout? Then she said she was looking to train instructors. ME? An aerobics instructor? With this tummy? A bellydance instructor should look like Oreet, petite, slim and strong not tall and overweight. I took the literature and bought the fundamentals DVD thinking that I would at least do it at home. I loved it! The workout was fun and easy to follow and I could feel my abs working. I was hooked.
I did the training and it was the most fun working my butt off I had done in a long time. Oreet was encouraging but kept to her high standards for her program and made us work for our certification.
I started teaching one night a week and building my confidence as a teacher and then the explosion happened…four classes a week at a variety of gyms and community centers. My clothes fit better and people think I have lost more than that because my tummy is so much smaller. I am not super skinny, nor am I super flexible but I love to dance. I am soft and curvy but I can MOVE and I have fun doing it. That I think is what brings people back to the class every week – they getting a good workout and having fun.
My life is richer in so many ways because SharQuí allows me to step out of the regular world and be a positive influence in other people’s lives; but a healthier me is the best reward of all!
A BELLYDANCER’S PERSPECTIVE…
We all know that “Raqs Sharqi” means “eastern dance” in Arabic, but what is The “SharQuí™ method”? I found out at Rakkasah West this year when I took Oreet’s workshop, “Drills and Skills, SharQuí – The bellydance workout™ .” At first thought, I was hesitant to sign up – the words “workout” brought back flashbacks of the endless jumping in place I experienced in my 20’s at my local fitness center. This did not sound appealing now on my forty something yr. old joints… But, It was Oreet, the 2007 Belly Dancer of the year (winning performance on YOU-TUBE), and maybe I could glean a new move or two, so I signed up.
The class started with a good warm up and stretching. Then we did some belly dance combos – nothing too difficult to remember, like some workshops that teach so much choreography you feel like you’ve landed in a Lucille Ball sitcom. We did fun traveling moves across the room to the right, then to our left (like a good belly dancer can!). Oreet made sure we used the proper technique while doing isolations and other belly dance moves – the way that strengthens muscles and their supporting structures, while protecting the spine and joints. Did I mention I’m an RN at my day job, and very aware of good body mechanics…
Oreet kept my heart rate up and oxygen was being delivered to every cell in my body. After approximately 15-20 minutes, the serotonin kicked in and I was high! High on belly dancing! My brain and body worked together at the optimum level, and I gained confidence, learned new moves, and improved my skill level in general, while having fun and doing what I love to do! Anyone who does this regularly would certainly build strength and gain speed and stamina. The SharQui™ gives you a great aerobic workout, while learning the art form of bellydance.
Oreet is full of energy and teaches her class with the same style and enthusiasm that she dances with, which I would describe as a fusion of Egyptian (classic and contemporary), with some earthy folk, and cabaret moves. There really is a little something for everyone in her class, which I highly recommend for the belly dance enthusiast! – Shakila
Gilded Serpent presents…
SharQuí and Injury
posted August 13, 2009
I still clearly remember the first time I encountered bellydance. I remember she was beautiful, and the precision she had over her movements was absolutely amazing. I wanted to be able to dance like that.
But even then I knew we did not have extra money for me to take any kind of lessons. So I tried to put it out of my mind. Over the years, I continued to watch any performances I could catch, silently wishing I could do what they did. But there was always something… time, money, lack of…
Then in June of 2004, I was working as a lead therapist in a day spa when one of the receptionists thought it would be a brilliant idea to jump on me while I was stretching my back. To my complete and utter devastation, in those thirty seconds, she absolutely ruined my life as I knew it. I suffered a severe injury to my spine and sacroiliac joint that left me in constant agonizing pain, and worse, fully disabled. I was 23.
After nearly five years, I decided I’d had enough of waiting. If I was going to get better, I was going to have to do it on my own.
I wrote to the listed instructor, fully expecting her to say no. But to be totally honest, I couldn’t quite help myself. Even though I knew my disability would prevent me from taking it, I still sent the email because some part of my mind still wanted so badly to learn bellydance. In the end, only one of the instructors said yes: Oreet… from the SharQuí Bellydance class. I was… unbelievably astonished. There in the email she was insisting I come in, that her class would be absolutely perfect for me, and she could help me modify the movements to my own limitations. All she asked me to do was come in early to make sure she could go over them with me. I don’t think I can adequately describe how reading that made me feel. I cried; I’ll admit that without any hesitation. For so, so long all I’d heard was no from everyone. And suddenly, here I was getting a yes to learn something I’d given up on thinking I’d ever be able to do. Now I was a hundred pounds overweight, hated seeing myself in the mirror, and couldn’t even tie my own shoes.
I finally pushed myself through that, bit the bullet, and went in for a class to meet Oreet face to face. Unlike any of the classes I’d seen or talked about with my friends, the SharQuí method she created focuses on strength, endurance, and form. The entire hour was spent learning the foundations of each movement and focusing on full isolation. There I was, very slowly attempting to shimmy, activating muscles long atrophied from inactivity, and at the same time, getting a history lesson on the dance form itself. By the end of the class, I was panting, sweating, already feeling my muscles protest… I was absolutely ecstatic.
With my own training in muscular therapy and injury, I’m really, really picky about the things I do. I have to be; otherwise I’ll aggravate my injury and spend a ridiculous amount of time immobile and in a great deal more pain than normal. I know the right way to do things, and the wrong way to do things, and I know how many people have no idea which one they’re actually doing. Because of that, I have so much appreciation for Oreet. Her method has not just made it possible for me to start exercising again, but it’s given me the opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted. I’m hoping that by sharing my story, I can help out others like me who’ve admired this beautiful style of dancing but thought they’d never be able to learn it.
The SharQuí method has really been just about the best thing that’s happened to me in my “quest” to get my mobility back. It’s so focused on building the strength and stamina in all the right muscle groups and hasn’t once felt like I was in danger of straining myself or aggravating my injury. Oreet is absolutely amazing for keeping us on track with our posture and the appropriate way to perform each move. I’ve recommended SharQuí to all of my friends, to my family, and even to complete strangers in the gym.
Sure I’m still in pain. I’m still out of shape, overweight, and disabled, but now I feel like just maybe I can get those first two back under control. I haven’ felt that way in five years, and I love Oreet for giving me back that confidence and hope that even though it’s not ever going to be in mint condition, I can make my body my own. I feel alive again.
Well, maybe now I can try to work up to those really awesome flashy moves after all!
“SharQuí – The bellydance workout is invigorating, stimulating and a real workout! -S. Gheih
“SharQuí is a self-empowering experience; particularly for women who more often than not judge themselves or are judged by others solely on body image.” -Student
“SharQuí is great fun! The workout is kinesthetically easy to grow with. Practicing has improved the flexibility of my hip muscles, strengthened my thigh muscles and ALWAYS reduces stress and increases my appreciation for my body! Oreet is an incredibly supportive and careful teacher.” -B. Pomerance
“It’s liberating! In our society that too often defines a woman in terms of chronology and physical appearance, The bellydance workout is a safe refuge where we are free to discover and celebrate the beauty of the female body…..in all its forms!” – F. Maistee
“In the SharQuí class, you dance away your inhibitions, your worries and your belly! I absolutely love the workout. It’s so much fun and it works your mind and your body (keeping all parts moving to a rhythm all at once). And what great music – it stays with me all week!” – Student
“SharQuí has brought me to whole new level of awareness of my body, of the different angles, alignment and movement that make me feel so sexy. And because it’s a bellydance ‘workout’ I have begun to see my muscles toned and defined! In my class everyone is at varying levels, but what we all have in common is the spirit, the energy, the interest, and the excitement we feel for this beautiful art form. I have seen traditional bellydance performances, and whereas those movements are sensual and slower, SharQuí gives the traditional form a bit of an American twist.” -D. Levy
“I started doing SharQuí with Oreet after a very painful break up. It helped me enormously to get in touch deeply with who I am, and to gain consciousness about how much being a woman is part of my mode of living. In the past I used to think that it is the relationship with a man that gives you such consciousness, with Oreet I’ve learned to enjoy being a woman for myself, just because being a woman deserves celebration!” – I. Visiers
“I tell all my friends that SharQui is the most fun workout I’ve ever done! Half of the time I forget that I’m getting a cardio workout, toning muscles other fitness classes miss and learning how to pick up choreography. Best of all, SharQui has helped me realize that what fashion magazines call my “problem areas” (rounded thighs, tummy and rear) are not problems at all, but the very qualities that make me and every woman beautiful!” – P. Lloyd
“Oreet’s class offers me a fitness routine where my mind and body are challenged and I’m having a great time all at once. With my very first class I was hooked! It is such fun, beautiful music and a place where, as a woman I feel empowered in my body – every class. I haven’t found that in any other fitness or dance class, most other classes are about ultimately fitting into a commercially accepted body type. Oreet’s bellydance workout gives me a place where I don’t feel bad for not being a size 2. Every body type can bellydance and feel beautiful, in fact having curves are a plus in this class. I love to dance and work out, and Oreet offers me a challenging fitness art-form combined with solid dance technique. Oreet really cares about her students’ progress. She pays attention to each participant, giving constructive feedback, and that really keeps me coming back.” -A. Mattos
“SharQuí is an excellent fusion of exercise and dance that combines the sensuousness of bellydance, with exotic music and strengthening and toning exercises. Plus the teacher’s emphasis on precision and enjoyment is pitch perfect. There is never a dull moment with this workout.” -F. Raimond
“Oreet breaks everything down so simple that now I understand how I’m moving instead of just copying what I’ve been shown.” -Monika
“I have taken about 9-10 belly dancing classes off and on in different studios around NYC, but I have never gotten as much personal attention as I did with Oreet. The way she breaks the movement down is amazing.” -Yelena
“I began taking belly dance classes utilizing the SharQuí method three years ago have developed more poise and grace while getting the technique and strength that I need.” -Neeti
SharQuí is not only a fabulous workout but it’s so empowering! It built my self-confidence and strengthened my bad knees. -G.T.
Amazing! It’s nice to finally focus on yourself rather than the TV when you’re on the treadmill. You forget you’re working out! -L.S.
SharQuí completely cured me from sciatica! It gave me a positive self image and changed my body completely. -E.K.