As you step through the door, the rhythmic drumming and flute music coming from the speakers creates an upbeat sound that entices you to swish and sway your hips. The room is filled with belly dancers that have a glow of confidence and sensuality as they shake and twist their bodies, causing their beaded costumes to rattle and jingle to the music.
Photo by Rebecca Gaulin
Belly dancing is a sensual and complex dance that has gained popularity ever since Shakira came onto the international music scene, shimmying and shaking her hips on MTV. Since then, it has risen to fame and has inspired the creation of school clubs, dance groups and classes across the world.
If the impressive dancers at the "Santiago Essential" belly dancing show (see photos) inspired you to try it out for yourself, you won't be disappointed by the wide selection of classes available in Santiago. With a variety of beginner, intermediate and advanced classes being offered, there is always something for everyone.
Before embarking on your belly dancing adventure, some basic accessories may be required. Most dancers wear a belly dancing hip scarf with coins, beads and/or fringe, which shows off the movement of the dancer’s hips. The best place to find one is the Patronato district in the Recoleta neighborhood.
In addition to the traditional hip scarves, belly dancers also wear a number of bracelets, necklaces, anklets and crop tops with bells and coins that shake and rattle with each twist of their bodies. More advanced belly dancers can even start to use props such as finger cymbals, swords, fire sticks, or even fans.
Most belly dancing classes in Santiago are offered on a weekly basis, such as those offered by Marisú Parada from Proyecto Urban Lotus. Marisú offers belly dance, tribal fusion, experimental and avant-garde dance lessons in packages of 4 to 8 classes. Similarly, Fabycor BellyDance offers classes once a week at a monthly rate of CP$15,000 for beginner and CP$12,000 for intermediate lessons.
The Escuela de Danzas Árabes Seyyal offers classes throughout the week and aims to provide personalized attention to each student. Aside from just learning the dance, Seyyal's students are also taught the universal vocabulary of dance, techniques, and styles.
There are also instructors who provide specialized classes, such as Iza Hassam in Providencia.
Hassam specializes in the Egyptian Arabic style of belly dance and offers classes three times a week. Likewise, Zaffireh Halil from Centro Keops offers workshops as well as daily and weekly belly dance and Egyptian Raqs Sharqi classes.
With each style of belly dancing bringing out a unique aspect of the dance, it may be wise to try a variety of classes before picking a style to focus on.
Belly dancing is a fascinating dance that teaches awareness of the body. Even the most ungraceful individual can learn how to isolate different parts of their body and move in more seductive and rhythmic ways. To challenge yourself and learn the art of this sensual dance, check out some of the numerous belly dancing classes available here in Santiago.
Zaffireh Halil, Centro Keops
Academia Danza del Vientre Keops de Zaffireh Halil
Agustinas 2190 Dept 44
Belly Dance Academia de Danza Arabe y Flamenco
Clases de Danza del Vientre Tribal y Tribal Fusión Belly Dance
Galpón Matta Oriente 525
General Holley Paseo Peatonal Nº 186 Depto. F - 3º piso
Metro Los Leones