Belly Dance With Lauren Zehara
Belly dance is a great way to add movement, fun, and sparkle to your life! Plus, this art has deep cultural connections to the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey and offers an exquisite connection to music and emotional expression.
My body-positive classes combine a low-impact workout with real dance instruction, so you feel connected to the music right away instead of just drilling moves.
I've taught and performed belly dance for over 20 years in St. Louis and all over the world, from Las Vegas workshops to a cruise ship out of Dubai.
I love watching my students get comfortable in their bodies, make life-long friends, and learn to celebrate all that they are.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
It's best to join the class at the beginning of a six-week session, because each class in the session builds on the classes before it.
I like to teach a simple choreography in each session, so students enjoy the sense of dancing to music right away instead of endlessly drilling movements.
I strive to give clear verbal breakdowns of each movement as well as showing moves from many angles, and students are always invited to ask questions.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I was a kinesiology major in college, and I have certifications as a group fitness instructor (through ACE) and as a yoga instructor (200 hour Yoga Alliance RYT).
As a bellydancer, I am continually learning and have traveled extensively to study with as many native Egyptian and Turkish instructors as possible. I started performing professionally in local restaurants and festivals in 2002 and progressed to producing large stage shows for art fairs and multicultural festivals all over the region.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
My classes are priced at $90 per six-week session.
I strongly encourage students to register by the session so they can benefit from a planned curriculum rather than trying to join a class midway through a session.
I offer work-study arrangements for students who aren't in a position to pay full price, helping with simple tasks like sweeping the studio after class, so just ask!
How did you get started teaching?
I was dancing with a troupe in St. Louis, and my troupe director suggested I take on a beginner class. I immediately fell in love with teaching, and eventually owned two studios (Belleville and St. Louis) and at one time was teaching 15 classes per week and directing three troupes.
My schedule now is much more manageable, but I still love teaching.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
My performance group, Dance Hipnotique, performs all over the St. Louis area.
We're a body-positive group, and we model living fiercely in the bodies we've been given. Audience members always tell me they're inspired by my dancers to drop the sense of shame they carry around their body and start living in it. I love that.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Look for someone who has a strong background and education in the dance, respects its cultural roots, and has worked as a professional performer. Anyone can hang out a sign and call themselves a belly dance teacher, but you'll get the best education from a serious instructor who has studied in depth.