Playlist Essentials for Bellydancers

This summer I’ve been busy with starting up new classes in the studio and creating workshops that cater to belly dancers needs. The results were great: I had two sold out workshops plus four new students for my weekly classes! Teaching the workshops was so much fun, that I wanted to give more dancers the opportunity to join in. The only question was: how? I joined the fabulous team of teachers at the Belly Dance Business Academy and I will create several classes a year for their curriculum.

The first class that I amteaching is ‘Playlist Essentials for Bellydancers’.

Music is essential to belly dancers, as our body translates the music into motion. That is why knowledge of music is important, plus it is really fun to listen to the songs that move us.

Are you…

  • someone who wants a better understanding of Middle-Eastern music
  • A student who likes to listen to belly dance music but don’t know where to start?
  • a dancer who wants a go-to practice playlist?
  • an instructors looking for songs to explain, practice and drill?

This course is for you! In this course we explore different types and styles of music to create your own personal belly dance playlist. With this playlist, you are ready to teach a last-minute class, you can practice on the fly and you’ll knock your teachers socks off with your knew found knowledge of belly dance music.

Follow this link to find the class en enroll in this free class!

The Belly Dance Business Academy is an online learning platform that helps dancers all around the world to get better at running their business. Classes and workshops are available in every price range, including a couple of free classes. Topics include (but are not limited to) handling the business side of belly dance, how to organize,  creating lesson plans,  handling complicated situations with clients or students and personal development. I wish I had this resource available when I started my belly dance business over a decade ago! Joining the BDBA is easy: go to the website and create an account (no payment involved). Once you’re logged in, choose a class from the many classes and workshops that are available and start learning.  You can read more about me on my bio page .

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

How to stay fresh and inspired

You just discovered belly dance and found this website while looking for information. Or you have been dancing for a while and you’re wondering how to get to the next level… or you’ve been dancing for a while, you feel tired and worn out and you think about quitting belly dance.  This post is for all of you!

Dancing, like any other skill, get’s better with practice. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to reach a level where we master our art form. Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it takes about 10.000 hours of deliberate practice. While this number is controversial, as a rule of thumb it works quite well. No matter what phase you are in, you have something to offer to you audience and you can have fun at any level. I enjoy watching beginners master the basic moves, I like how the face of intermediate dancers light up when they discover how to have fun and relax while performing, and I love the spark in the eye of the seasoned dancer who is at home in her body and sways to the music she knows so well.

Sometimes a long stretch of time can go by where I feel like belly dance is a lot of work. At those times I try to stay inspired and fresh, because I know how much I love dancing and that there are many reasons why I dance. I’ve gathered a couple of excellent articles for you with tips and advice on how to keep the fire burning. Is something missing or do you have suggestions? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

Sad because you don’t have a teacher?

What if there is no local teacher? -Shira

How to stay motivated and organized when you don’t have a teacher? – Mahin

How to overcome a plateau

From plateau to next level – Shira

Breaking the cursed dance plateau – Dance World Takeover

Overcoming plateaus and releasing inhibition in your dance – Caroleeena’s circles of joy

How to overcome your dance plateau and improve quickly – The Accidental Artist

Feeling like you have a dance burn out and want to quit?

Dance passion and burn-out -Gilded Serpent

Burnout, obstacles and over commitment – Dance advantage

Belly dance burn out -Leyla Najma

When it is time to walk away from belly dance – Belly Dance at Any Size

Quitting Bellydance – Sequins and Shimmies

Ideas to inspire you

10 ideas to renew your love for belly dance – Kyria’s Costumes (my personal blog)

Belly dance affirmations– a full set of affirmations to inspire you, as free downloadable pdf files

Here are some challenges to spice things up

90 day Belly Dance Challenge -Belly Dance at Any Size

Alia’s 90 day dance party – Program starts in February 2017

Datura challenge: learn a choreography and post the result – Not sure when the next challenge is, but it sure is fun!

Belly Dance Affirmations

Do you have a tiny voice in your head, beating you up while you dance?

Do you wish you could incorporate more belly dance in your daily routine?

Get inspired by using belly dance affirmation cards!

And the best of all? They are completely free!

I’ve been working on this project for a couple of months now and I am really excited that I can share the results with you. As a teacher, I often see my students struggle with their inner voice, comparing them to the other students. For my personal practice I noticed how a change in mind set can open up a world of new possibilities. Once I let go of negative thoughts, my range of motion improved and I was more relaxed when performing. I hope that you’ll experience these results for yourself by using these cards for yourself or your students!

How to assemble the cards

Material needed:

Printed affirmation cards, black and white, on regular paper

Spray on glue

Fancy printed cardboard stock


  1. Glue the printed affirmation cards to patterned cardboard with spray on glue.
  2. Wait for them to dry, then cut out each card with scissors. I rounded the corners with scissors for a more polished look. The cards now have a pretty pattern on the back, they are sturdy and they are nice to the touch.

How to use the affirmations

I like to draw an affirmation card at the start of my practice session to create a positive mind set, or put one card on my desk when I am working to add some good belly dance mojo to an otherwise boring task like doing administration or taxes.

I asked several dancers from around the world that inspired me to join me and share their affirmations with you. We created a digital treasure hunt so you get to visit every dancer’s page to see how they used the affirmation cards and download their PDF file. There are five sheets of affirmations waiting for you to get started!


Falling in love with the music and movements of belly dance is what got Kyria started, inspiring her students by teaching belly dance is what keeps her going. She is available for classes, workshops and performances in the Utrecht area in The Netherlands. After teaching weekly classes for over a decade she figured it was time to reach out to dancers all over the world and offer resources to students, teachers and performers on

Download her affirmations here


Andalee is an Oriental dancer and instructor from Durham, North Carolina, now based in Montpellier, France. Her dance style is based in Egyptian belly dance and American Cabaret belly dance. Her mission is to promote belly dance as a respected and valid performance art. She teaches her students that belly dance is truly accessible to anyone by exploring the different techniques and styles of belly dance. In 2013, Andalee founded Belly Dance at Any Size after learning about size-acceptance and Health at Every Size. The website is a resource for building self-esteem and a positive body image for belly dancers.

Visit Belly Dance at Any Size for Andalee’s affirmations


Khalida is a multi-award winning professional belly dance performer and instructor, born in Belgium and living in Germany. She currently offers personal coaching, instructional dvd’s and workshops as well as high-quality performances.  In August 2017 she hosts the first Movespiration congress in Wurselen, Germany. The goal of this weekend is to share her biggest discoveries, learnings and inspirations of the past year(s) in dance and movement in the form of a 2-day movement and dance intensive, featuring guest classes/workshops from teachers from different movement disciplines/arts, as well as personalized (belly)dance technique and movement guidance.

Visit Khalida’s blog for Khalida’s affirmations

maoMao Murakami

Mao Murakami is the founder of a DIY belly dance costume website, Sparkly Belly, where belly dancers can learn to sew and DIY their own costumes, even if they are new to sewing!

She turned her love of belly dance and costumes into one website, empowering belly dancers with sewing and DIY skills, and help them feel beautiful and confident on stage. What’s belly dancing without sparkly costumes that celebrate your uniquely beautiful body? 😉

Check out her free tutorials (65 of them and counting!) at

Visit Sparkly Belly for Mao’s affirmations

Zahra Zuhair

International performer, workshop instructor, and choreographer, Zahra is world renowned for her knowledge, authenticity, and dedication to the art of Middle Eastern dance. Raised in raqs sharqi from a young age, Zahra is known for her musicality and classic, elegant style. She is the artistic director of PoNaNa Dance Theatre (loosely meaning a blend of many things) and has written and choreographed productions intertwining Arabian tales and dance, since 1997. Los Angeles, California has been Zahra’s home base since 1984, where she has been one of LA’s most esteemed teachers for many years. Her always-evolving style keeps students, old and new, coming back for more.

Visit Zahra Zuheir’s website for her affirmations


Belly dance post cards

Being hooked on belly dance, I often try find pretty post cards that I can send to other dancers or use as a gift tag or thank you note. I collected a couple of places where you can order your belly dance themed post cards. Perfect as a gift for the dancer in your life or as a gift to yourself 🙂

bd-postcards-silhouetteBelly dance silhouette postcards

This cafepress site also has other items adorned with bellydancer silhouettes.


Lacy Chenault

This artist has been drawing belly dancers for over a decade. You can buy her colorful designs in her zazzle store.


Tribal fusion postcards by Myka Jelina

Myka draws beautiful art work and her tribal fusion dancers have a bit of pixie, steampunk and gothic. Sassy!


Marta – bellydance greeting cards

This Australian designer made a beautiful set of greeting cards especially for you! Contact her directly for shipping charges outside Australia.


Bellydance Resources is created by Kyria to bundle information for her students, friends and fellow dancers. Navigating the internet can be overwhelming, that’s why we create blogs and articles about belly dance that point you towards high quality sources of information. If you like to receive an update in your mail every other month, sign up here.

Turkish Cabaret Style

Turkish belly dance is also known as Turkish Oriental or Tansi Oryental. It’s a very upbeat style that includes fast turns, pelvic shimmies, floorwork and fluid and creative arms. Some famous Turkish dancers from the past are Princess Banu, Nelja Ates, Nesrin Topkapi  and Tulay Karaca. Modern Turkish bellydancers are Didem and Asena.


Turkish costumes are decorated within an inch of their live. Beautiful flourishes, rhinestones, multicolor fringe in different lengths, drapes, cut-outs, ruffles, patterned fabric, flounces and flourishes. It’s a costuming style that matches the dance style. As Turkish dance is more flirtatious and sexy, the costumes can be quite revealing with high slits, plunging necklines and strategic cut-outs that keeps the audience guessing on how the dancer pulls of moving without showing anything. Dancers typically wear high heels during performances.

The most famous designer of Turkish belly dance costumes is Bella, located in Istanbul. She has a second store located in Ghent, Belgium.

More affordable is Legend Costumes, a business completely run by women.

Folklore and the famous 9/8

Turkish belly dance is related to various Turkish folk dances. One of the most commonly known folk style is the Turkish Romani style. This is the dance style of the Turkish gypsy people. It contains complex foot patterns, expressive pelvic moves and often live music. The music often contains complex rhythmic patterns, like the 9/8 rhythm that is sometimes referred to as Karsilama. The ‘spoon dance’ is also a typical Turkish folk dance, where the dancers hold wooden spoons in their hands that they play during the dance.

DVD resources for Turkish Bellydance

Totally Turkish with Ruby

Raw Roman with Reyhan

Turkish Romani Dance with Elisabeth Strong

Read more about Turkish Oriental dance at the following links

Learn Bellydance Styles: Turkish Oriental – Bellydance University by Lauren Zehara


Travel guides to Istanbul or Turkey for bellydancers 

Istanbul for belly dancers– Shimmy


About belly dance

There are many resources available that discuss the origins of belly dance. Most dancers agree that belly dance has been around for centuries in countries in the Middle-East. How belly dance got it’s current name is subject of speculation and backed up by research that points toward the Victorian Era, when a French reporter wrote about Algerian dancers on the World Fair in Paris and used the term danse du ventre.That got translated into belly dance and as the term is easy to use, it is now one of the most common terms.

In Arabic belly dance is called Raqs Sharqi, which translates to ‘dance of the East’. This can create confusion, as ‘the East’ could also be seen as the far East, like China and other Asian countries. In Arabic countries this is obviously not an issue, but Western audiences might have a hard time remembering and recognizing raqs sharqi.

What is bellydance and what should we really call it? – by Atea

History and origins of belly dance – World Belly Dance

Naming Bellydance –

Movement vocabulary

There is no universal chart or scheme for belly dance movements. This can create confusion when names of moves vary from teacher to teacher. Some dancers and dance schools have developed their own methods and scheme’s, but none of these is universally recognized. I have developed my own movement vocabulary for my classes. It utilizes the English names for belly dance moves as I find the English terms easy to use and remember for my students.

Belly dance terms: a glossary – by Shira

Glossary of bellydance terms – Wikipedia

Belly dance is an isolation dance, the dancer being able to move one body part in relative isolation. For example by moving the hips while the rest of the body remains still. I have one issue with this definition: our bodies are not a random collection of body parts. Creating a movement with one body part will always impact other parts of the body and the more you advance in belly dance, the more fluid and connected the dancer will become. So for beginners, we break down the moves into seperated  isolated moves. For intermediate and advanced dancers we work on combining different moves (called layering), creating fluid transitions and letting energy flow through the body.

The subtle art: isolation, integration and layering – online class by Datura (only available to paid members)

Styles of belly dance

As belly dance originated as a folk dance, there are a lot of different flavors and styles that you can explore. I made an extensive style chart that I send to my students in the form of a mind map. Melilah has an excellent example of a belly dance mindmap on her website. I challenge you to make your own mind map and add to it as you grow as a dancer.

The problem with dividing belly dance into styles is that most dancers consciously or unconsciously combine elements from styles into their own dancing. It is rare to find a belly dancer that is a pure bred *insert style here* dancer. Even dancers born in Egypt incorporate moves and concepts from other dance forms and styles. It is good to recognize and know the variations and cultural background of different bellydance styles. Structuring belly dance this helps us understand the roots of belly dance and nurtures cultural sensitivity. It is when we start to chastice others for not being ‘true to a style’, that the strucutre becomes our cage.



Starting Bellydance Resources

trance02witI’ve always been interested in the proces of learning and I am one of those belly dance teachers that creates extensive hand-outs and link collections for her students. I figured that as I’d been doing the work, I might as well publish it on this website so I can easily refer students to the information they need. I collect links, video’s and other material on this website that I value as a resource. This means that I pick and choose what resources are valuable for my students based on my decades of experience as a belly dancer. I started out taking belly dance classes when I went to University and after six years started teaching and performing as a professional belly dancer. I am located in Utrecht, The Netherlands and I’m still going strong, teaching weekly classes, workshops and creating performances. My Dutch website promoting my belly dance business is over here.  I have also been making my own belly dance costumes for quite some time and dedicated an English blog to the subject. It’s called Kyria’s Costumes and you can find it over here. It gives more insight in my personal life and the costuming projects I’m working on.

I’ll be adding stuff to this website when I find the time and hope that it’ll be a solid resource to help students, teachers and performers find resources to continue to grow and learn. Are you a producer and would you like a review of your product? Please contact me through facebook and we can talk about the options. Keep in mind that I will write a review of your product from my point of view. I will let you read the review before posting it so you can react and add nuance.

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