Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I register?
A: There are many easy ways to register for our dance classes. The best way is to use our online portal to register and complete payment online (secure payment with credit card through your choice of Stripe or PayPal). We can also accept e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
, or accept cash, cheque, or credit card in person at class. If you have any trouble logging in or registering yourself, don't hesitate to email email@example.com and we'll get you all set up; we're very happy to help!
Q: What is this online portal? Is my information secure? Will I get spam?
A: We use Dance Studio Pro as our administrative system. It provides a secure, safe and reliable system to house the information and process payments. You can sign in and manage your own information in the system. We do not send spam. On rare occasions, we will send out announcements to our students about changes to class schedules, new sessions, or upcoming dance events. The only other correspondence you will get from our system are links to any online classes you are signed up for and your invoices. Neither Dance Studio Pro nor Duniya Studio will ever provide your information to other parties.
Q: Can I try a class before I decide to register?
A: Yes! We offer single drop-ins for $20 per class. If you try a drop-in and then decide to register, we will apply the $20 towards the cost of registration.
Q: I missed the start of the session. Can I still join?
A: Yes! While we encourage people to start at the beginning of the session, you can still join any time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to work out what options might be best given how many weeks have gone by.
Q: I signed up but now want to withdraw. Can I get a refund?
A: Session registration fees are non-refundable.
Q: What are the benefits of taking a dance class?
A: There are so many great benefits to taking a dance class! Bellydance is a gentle, low-impact movement practice that involves the whole body; muscle tone, cardio endurance, flexibility, and balance are among the physical benefits. Dance classes promote spatial awareness, stimulate creativity, exercise the memory, and provide positive social experiences. Dancing feels good and it's good for you!
Q: What do I wear to class?
A: We don't have a specific class uniform. Students can wear anything in which they are comfortable moving; yoga pants, exercise wear, dance leotards, skirts and crop tops are just a few of the options commonly seen in a Belly Dance class. Go ahead and express your creativity! Though many Belly dancers like to dance barefoot, we do recommend some lightweight foot covering, such as a ballet or gymnastic slipper (please note that no outdoor shoes are allowed inside the studio).
We also have Duniya Studio t-shirts available! They are sparkly and fun, and guaranteed to get you many compliments any time you wear it! If you would like one, email us ($20 plus shipping).
Q: Do I need any special dance equipment?
A: Many students enjoy wearing a hip scarf during classes; but this is not mandatory. We sometimes have some available to buy, or there are lots of places to buy online. As students progress, there are other fun items that will be used, such as finger cymbals, sticks or veils. If your class decides to perform a routine in a recital, options for a group costume may be discussed. Your Duniya Studio teacher will talk about where to buy all these items, and may bring some in for purchase. (for questions about equipment for online classes, please see below)
Q: I have some previous dance experience, which level should I take?
A: If you have less than a year of Bellydance experience, we recommend beginner. Even if you have experience in other dance forms, starting with beginner is a good idea to have a solid foundation of the technique, posture and movement style that is unique to Oriental dance. Even advanced dancers can benefit from a review of technique offered by beginner levels. That being said, if you start in one level and feel it is not the right fit, you can always switch to another level.
Q: I am Arab/Middle-Eastern/Turkish/Lebanese/Egyptian and grew up Belly dancing, which level should I take?
A: We recommend that everyone start with beginner to get used to the structure of a dance class and to practice technique refinement, which is a different experience from social dancing. If you grew up dancing this style of dance and already understand the music, movement, and feeling of the dance, your teacher may recommend quickly moving to another level. It is always possible to switch between levels so that people are in the class which is a good fit for them.
Q: Will I learn a routine/choreography?
A: A routine will sometimes be taught in the intermediate and advanced levels. We like to give beginners time to learn the posture, movement vocabulary, flow, rhythm, and expression of Oriental dance before focussing on a routine. We feel this encourages students to learn how to really dance, rather than just follow a series of memorized steps. Advanced levels will be encouraged to work on their improvisational skills so they can move past being dependent on a choreography created by the teacher, towards independent dancing or even creating their own choreographies.
Q: Do I have to perform?
A: We sometimes have opportunities for students to show off what they have learned in a safe and supportive environment. That being said, performing is completely voluntary, and we never pressure anyone to perform if they are not comfortable. Gentle encouragement and enthusiastic support is what we offer; no pressure.
Q: When can I start performing professionally?
A: Performing as a professional Bellydancer is not something that can be achieved after a few lessons. This requires a lot of skill and knowledge of the dance, movements, culture, music, tailoring the performance to the different venues and styles, choreography and improvisation, understanding audience expectations, costuming, various props, and so much more. Some dancers have this as a goal, and others dance for many years and choose to keep their dancing as something they do purely for their own social enjoyment. If you are interested in performing professionally, please talk with your teacher about what this would involve.
Q: I want to learn faster! What can I do?
A: We love it when a dance student is super keen and wants to learn faster! We encourage people to take more than one class per week with us, and even offer a discount for those who do. We also offer private lessons and coaching to work on specific goals. In addition, there are occasional intensive dance workshops, organized by Duniya Studio and other dancers/studios (both in the region and available online), that can be great learning experiences. We also recommend taking classes with other teachers. We can recommend some great dance experiences if you are looking to add to your learning opportunities.
Q: Who can join Duniya classes?
A: Duniya’s dance classes are open to everyone! All shapes, sizes, genders, ages, ethnicities, races, nationalities, religions, languages, and abilities are welcome and celebrated in Duniya’s classes.
Q: What language are Duniya classes offered in?
A:Classes are offered in English. Jehane also speaks French, and Cathy also speaks Arabic.
Q: I am a woman who wears hijab, are the classes mixed women and men?
A: While our classes are open to everyone, our experience is that 99.9% of the people who sign up for classes happen to be women. If you are concerned about dancing in mixed company, please check with us and we will confirm who is registered for the class you wish to take. We also offer private and semi-private lessons if this is more comfortable option for you.
Q: I am male/trans/non-binary/queer, can I take the class?
A: Yes! Everyone is welcome to take our classes. Typically the majority of people who sign up for classes are women, but we welcome and celebrate everyone.
Q: I am under 18 years old, can I take the class?
A: While we generally offer adult dance classes, all ages are welcome in our classes. Those who are under 18 years old who are mature enough to be amongst adults just need to have a parent/guardian sign the Registration Form, and then you'll be all set.
Q: If I miss a class, can I have a make-up class?
A: If you miss a class and would like to make it up during the same session, please first discuss with Jehane to make arrangements. With regular registration you can make up a class on another day during the same session only; there is no carry-over between sessions. If you cannot make it to class regularly each week, a drop-in package may be a better arrangement for you.
Q: What happens if Duniya Studio cancels a class?
A: On occasion, unexpected circumstances may result in us having to cancel a class (in the pre-pandemic times, this was usually related to snow storms! Post-pandemic, the main reason would be a power-outage or internet outage). When we cancel a class, students are either offered a make-up class during the session, or their accounts are credited for the missed class.
Q: I see I missed the start of the session for registration, can I still join?
A: Yes! It is possible to join even after the start of the session. In that case we will pro-rate the cost of registration. Depending on how many weeks have passed, a drop-in package might be a better option. Contact us to discuss options
Q: I can only attend the first few weeks of the session, can I get a discount?
A: In this case, a drop-in package would be preferable. Unfortunately the way our system works we cannot process partial registration from the start of a session.
Q: I need to stop coming to class, can I get a refund?
A: Session registration fees are non-refundable. There are no refunds for registrations or drop-in packages when someone changes their mind about taking classes, as the decision to run a class is based on the number of registrations at the start of the session and commits us to paying a teacher and to paying studio rent for the class time slot. We may be able to move your registration to a different class or a later session, or convert your registration into a drop-in package. Email email@example.com to work out what options are possible.
Q: How do the drop-ins work?
A: Single drop-ins can be paid in cash to the teacher at the start of class. If you are on a drop-in package (a pre-paid class "card"), please remember to ask the teacher at the start of class to look you up in the system and punch your virtual card. Before you drop in, it is always a good idea to confirm in advance if the class you want to drop in on is running that night, to make sure a cancellation notice hasn't gone out (we usually also post it on our Facebook page when there is a cancellation).
Q: I bought a drop-in card, but can't make it to classes before it expires. Can I get a refund?
A: Fees are non-refundable. If your schedule has changed and it is tough to get to class regularly, we can extend the expiry date of your drop-in card. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an extension.
Q: Is there a discount if I take more than one class per session?
A: Yes! Receive a $10 discount for each additional class per week that you join.
Q: Are there any other discounts?
A: If you bring a friend who hasn't taken classes with us before and they register (and pay), you get 10% discount on your registration. If you bring 2 friends, you get a 20% discount; 3 friends = 30% discount; 4 friends = 40% discount; 5 friends = 50% discount (and so on... if you bring 10 friends who sign up, we will give you a free session!).
Q: I want to take classes but can't afford it. Is there an option for me?
A: We may have occasional opportunities to exchange discounts on classes for administrative help. In particular we are can use help with social media, advertizing, postering. photography, video, and occasionally logistical support during workshops and events. Contact us to discuss options.
Q: How do the online classes work?
A: We'll meet using Zoom, a web conferencing service that you can use for free. It works on computers, tablets and smart phones (but the larger the screen you have, the better you will be able to see). Registered students and those who have bought a drop-in (at least 2 hours before class start time) will receive a private link to the class which they can click to view the class straight from your browser, or you can choose to download the free app (works on Windows, iOS and Android). Some additional technical tips will be sent to registered students along with the private class link.
Q: What equipment is needed for online classes?
A: As a minimum, any device that has an internet connection will allow you to join the classes. To have a better experience, a computer with decent processing speed, a large monitor, an add-on speaker, and a fast internet connection are recommended (that being said, we have students who use just an iPad tablet or even a smart phone and still enjoy class). We send a detailed set of guides and tips to registered students on ways they can maximize their enjoyment of the online dance class experience.
Q: Are the Zoom classes secure?
A: We are only sharing the meeting details privately with those who are registered for class or have bought a drop-in. The link, meeting ID, and passcode are not public. Screen-sharing is disabled for everyone except the class teachers, so there is no risk of zoom-bombing happening in our online classes.
Q: I don't want to be on screen during the online class.
A: No problem; you can turn off your camera so your image won't be visible. We don't broadcast the student images anywhere. If you let us see you, it helps the teacher know if everyone is able to follow and see where some more detailed movement instructions might be helpful. (it's also nice for the feeling of social connection)
Q: What do you do with class recordings?
A: The teachers view the class recordings to verify that the camera angles are ok, that the video and sound feed are clear, and that everyone can follow along. The class videos are not shared outside of the group of Duniya teachers and we never share any class recordings of students. From time to time, we might use clips of the teachers only (never clips of the students) to share practice videos with registered students or in our marketing materials. We promise we will never use student video/images without express permission.
Q: I'm not very good with computers. Can you give me some technical help?
A: More detailed technical guidelines are sent to all those who join the online classes. Zoom is pretty easy to use; you will be able to just click and join, and we're here to talk you through if you have any issues.
Q: I have a concern/question that is not addressed above
A: If you have any concerns or questions that haven't been answered above, please email email@example.com and we'll do our best to help.
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