The Bellydance Pro vs. The Fitness Pro

The Bellydance Pro vs. The Fitness Pro


I am both a teacher of dance AND fitness, and I am deeply appreciative and honored for being here. As both a teacher and a leader, I have a strong investment in finding out what motivates people to improve their practice, whether it is someone wanting to get healthy, learn how to dance or someone who wants to get certified to teach the SharQui format. For me it boils down to the desire to make a positive impact and improve people’s lives. And it’s an honor to have the opportunity to play such an important role.


Yet for those people who are one or the other (a bellydance or fitness instructor), there’s an interesting consideration to address in regard to who is better suited to teach a bellydance fitness class in a group exercise setting. Would it be the bellydance professional or the group fitness professional? Below is an article written by Soraya Doherty, creator of the RaqiSa Method, on this topic. Read below.



The Bellydance Professional vs. The Group Fitness Professional – Soraya Doherty


Just who is more qualified to teach a bellydance fitness class in a group exercise setting? Certainly, trained belly dance professionals who have committed years perfecting technique may feel that they are the more qualified candidate. And interestedly, while the Group Exercise professional who has a keen understanding of the anatomy and is trained to cue and present in a group exercise setting, may feel in actuality, incapable (or unworthy) to teach this ancient art as it is indeed seeped in solid technique with many intricacies. The dance professionals many years of dedication and determination with respect to the dance itself is to be respected and is indeed impressive. Equally, the art of a perfectly formatted group exercise experience with the talent to cue for form and technique whilst keeping the group exercise experience alive is also impressive. There is room for both professionals to learn from the other.


For those who have spent years as students of belly dance, it is almost offensive to hear of someone who is “self-taught” declare themselves as a bellydance instructor. A trained eye sees the error of poor posture and improper technique. To be sure, those who have years of training in Belly Dance have a certain ease and finesse with the dance itself; they have a deep rooted understanding of the music and the rhythms and they will likely see it as impossible to learn the dance in a one-day training. They are right.


On the other hand, Group Exercise instructors spend years perfecting the “art of transition” as it relates to a perfectly formatted group class using music in a very different way. Their expertise is quite different — keeping the flow and the fitness aspect alive throughout the duration of an hour-long workout is also a perfected talent, which qualifies the group instructor as a “professional.”  Group exercise professionals are required to keep up with the latest research and science as it relates to injury prevention, regression and progression options for all body types, and over all health and fitness information. Years of study and hours of learning contribute to their expertise. To be sure, their contribution regarding safe and effective technique is relevant and should be noted.


The RaqiSa Method and the SharQui® format brings together the belly dance professional and the group exercise professional and bridges the gap. We believe that the group exercise professional should feel fully capable and worthy to learn this ancient art; but this doesn’t happen in one day. Likewise, the bellydance professional will need to learn safe and effective cueing and science, which also, does not happen overnight. Both professionals will need additional practice and support from each other. But what I think we all can agree upon is that the love of the dance expressed professionally and through proper technique promotes the beautiful message that women are beautiful, capable, strong, yet elegant.


I met Oreet at a fitness conference 9 years ago. I remember it well because it was my first time away from my son who was still nursing and my body was feeling it…try to shimmy with breasts overly filled with milk! In all seriousness – I was so excited to take Oreet’s, SharQui workshop at the Sara City Workout Fitness Conference, held in California. I grew up in the Lebanese traditions of food and belly dance and was presenting in the world of fitness. I connected with Oreet on a deep level, I believe any way.  She just seemed to share the same perspective on the culture and she has much to offer the world of fitness and dance; we became fast friends. Since that time, I have presented workshops for SharQui professionals as well as shared family time getting to know her two children. We both have similar thoughts and passions that come with both the world of dance and fitness. I share this article with the hopes of helping our world of fitness and dance so that that together the two may unite.


So…what are your thoughts?


“RaqiSa” means “female dancer” and to me; it’s about capturing “a beautiful, strong, and confident woman” through dance. The RaqiSa dancer is trained in BELLY BARRE.  She is a strong, capable, feminine and elegant woman, whose potential knows no boundary, and through dance, she expresses all this not only for herself, but she shares this message to other woman. www.raqisa.com

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