Several months ago we were blessed with additional instructors joining us at the school, and as they set about designing their classes, we wanted to try to define our philosophy and the values that drive us so that we could strive together toward a common goal – running an excellent belly dance school in Gainesville that participates in and contributes to the local dance community.  If you’ve stumbled across this post because you are looking for belly dance classes in Gainesville, Florida, I hope that this information tells you more about who we are, why we dance, and what we have to offer.

Our mission is to create an integrated belly dance school serving the Gainesville area – where every class we offer adds to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.  As we add classes and instructors to our team, we add more perspectives and viewpoints on the dance.  We believe this is valuable as it helps us and our students become better dancers, and a better community.  We want to bring together, learn about, and share the many types and styles of movement that contribute to belly dance today, rather than creating divisions between them.

We are a dance school.  We don’t run classes on material that isn’t directly supportive of dance, building the skills/strength/flexibility needed to perform dance, restorative exercises to keep our bodies able to dance, and so on.  We don’t want to be a multi-purpose training facility with a collection of separate classes going on, and we do not want to be a fitness-focused facility.  We are and will continue to be a dance school.  Improved fitness may be a byproduct, because dance is a physical activity, but fitness is not our goal as a school.

This of course does not mean that people seeking fitness are not welcome – you’ll certainly get exercise in class – and hopefully you’ll have a good time as well while you learn to dance.  Belly dance is generally a low impact activity executed with careful attention to posture to avoid injury, so practicing it can impart many benefits, both physically and emotionally, depending on what you are seeking and what you put into your practice.  Dance (of any style, I suspect) is all about using your body as an instrument to express the music and the feelings the music evokes.  As instructors, our primary goal is to help you equip yourself with an excellent arsenal of movements and information that you can call up when you need them.

The school is neutral.  The school does not espouse or endorse any particular political, spiritual, or religious views, and does not include them in course content.  Bringing people together to enjoy belly dance is what is important to us.  Everything in our classes is presented as a primarily physical practice to help achieve some dance-related goal.  Everyone is welcome, no matter what views or beliefs you have.  (At the same time, there is an expectation of basic decorum and courtesy as would be expected in any other place of learning.  No student has the right to infringe upon the classroom experience of others.)

Bodies are treated with respect.  We are not selling weight loss, muscle tone, or having the body you’ve always wanted.  We aren’t selling looking or feeling sexy.  You may receive those benefits, or you may not (you may not even view them as benefits, that’s up to you).  Everybody (and every body) is different and that’s awesome.  We’re a dance school, what we want to do is guide people as they build the physical and mental skills necessary to dance their best, and hope that we can make it fun and nourishing for them.  We hope that our product is joy in music and movement.

These are the core values that we try to guide ourselves by as we select and structure classes at the studio.  Students may happen to find spiritual fulfillment, emotional solace, better abs, or any of a variety of things as they learn and practice belly dance, but those things are not our focus.  Our focus is simply on dancing well, improving our dance continually, and being joyful in it while we help our students do the same.

So that’s it – we sell happiness.  Or at least, what makes us happy.  We hope that you’ll come and visit us, and that you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.