Biography of Alexandra
Alexandra's belly dance style pulls from her background in ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance. She is Level III certified in the Suhaila Salimpour Format, and currently pursuing her Level IV Certification.
As an artist, Alexandra performs professionally in and around Charlottesville, Virginia, she manages the dancers at Bashir's Taverna, and she directs her professional troupe The Alexandra Dance Company and her student troupe Belly Souk.
As an instructor, she offers weekly classes and monthly workshops at the Alexandra Dance Studio. Additionally, she teaches Bellydance at ACAC Fitness and Wellness Center (for ACAC members), and to UVa students through a student club.
Information about Alexandra's classes
What is bellydance?
Bellydance, more accurately called Oriental dance or Raqs Sharqi, is a dance originating in the Middle East and North Africa. Many belly dancers layer their movements so that one part of the body executes one movement while another part of the body executes another.
What is your class about?
My class teaches the technique of bellydance based on the Suhaila Salimpour Format*. The isolations and layered movements provide great cardiovascular training and serve as strengthening exercises that tone your entire body, starting with the abdominal and gluteal muscles.
*I am not an official instructor for the Suhaila Salimpour School of Belly Dance, and my classes do not count towards Continuing Education Credits (CECs) in the Suhaila Salimpour Format or Jamila Salimpour Format.
Do I need previous dance experience?
My Level 1 Belly Dance class is open to dancers with all levels of experience. Absolute beginners are welcome. I start with fundamental technique, and those who are ready to advance can add layered movements to the basic steps. Those who need more time to get comfortable with certain moves may take as long as they need.
My Level 1.5 classes requires a working knowledge of the muscular contractions required to execute basic technique in the Suhaila Salimpour Format. Most students are ready for Level 1.5 after about six months of weekly classes at the Level 1. Level 2 classes are intense, and require either a current Level 1 certification in the Suhaila Salimpour Format or skill equivalent. Most students at this level have trained with me or with another Suhaila-trained instructor for 2 years.
I already have some belly dance experience. Can I start in your Level 2 class?
Probably not. You must be proficient in each previous level before moving up. There
are many experienced dancers who wish to begin my classes at the Level 1.5 or 2. This does not work because of the format of the advanced
classes. I build on techniques and postures that are initially taught
in Level 1. Thank you for your enthusiasm and your
I encourage all my students to attend classes at and below their skill level. For example, my Level 2 students are welcome to attend Level 1 classes as a technique refresher. I also recommend practicing on
your own at least twice a week outside of class. This will help your body to
develop muscle memory for the technique that we use in belly dance.
Can I perform belly dance in public?
You can take belly dance for exercise, for fun, or with an intent to perform. Most dancers train for a minimum of one year before performing with my student troupe. My Level 1.5 and Level 2 Choreography classes focus on building a repertoire of ability that may lend itself to performance one day.
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