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Belly dancing for fun, fitness, and grace! Join women of all ages, sizes, and levels of experience to participate in the creative expression as well as the health and fitness benefits of Middle Eastern dance. The beauty of this dance form is that it makes you feel wonderful in your own body, no matter its size or shape. We challenge all students to achieve a personal best!
If you've never danced before, or even if you have done another type of dance, Level 1 is the perfect class for you: basic dance movements, rhythms, dance combinations, conditioning, isolation practice, and introduction to finger cymbal patterns with dance steps. Wear comfy clothes, your bare feet, and a big smile!
Classes are not expensive, about $10/hour! Click here for a coupon to get your first class free. Try it! You’ll like it! Still not sure? See the FAQs for answers to the many questions we know you have! Then give Level 1 a try—we know you’ll have fun!
The Cassandra School is the teaching arm of the renowned Jawaahir Dance Company, the premier professional Middle Eastern dance company in the Midwest. Our school was established in 1978 and offers year-round classes in Middle Eastern dance ranging from beginning to professional. All our teachers are members of Jawaahir, and have many years of teaching experience. We run four 10-week sessions each year, with more than 15 classes per week in Minneapolis and Bloomington.
At The Cassandra School, you benefit from the artistic vision of Cassandra Shore, Artistic Director of Jawaahir. She's dedicated to presenting Middle Eastern dance in its authentic form, adhering closely to its original movements, musicality, cultural context, and emotional tone. Cassandra's deep roots in the field of Middle Eastern dance and her regular research trips to the region allow her to provide insight that takes you beyond technique to a deeper level of expression and understanding.
I really want to express my extreme satisfaction in the classes we've had! Our instructor infuses humor into everything, has made us feel right at home, has explained everything just wonderfully, and has helped each of us individually at each class.
We came to The Cassandra School feeling a little intimidated to study with the masters here in the Twin Cities area. We have been so pleased, and we really wonder why we didn't come to you earlier.
“Do not be intimidated by your own breasts,” my teacher told the class. Everyone tittered. What woman does not have a conflicted relationship with her body? “Be proud,” she said. -StarTribune
The term baladi gets used a lot, and can be confusing. This class focuses on the traditional (baladi) improvised urban conversation between instrumentalist (often on accordion), drummer, and dancers, as the improvisation progresses through a number of rhythmic and feel changes, to be resolved…how? In so many ways! Come and have a great time working with different styles of baladi progression, with tips for making it your own!
|Mon||June 5||Mpls||Cassandra||6:00-8:00p||$ 45|
This class is geared for soloists who want to tune up their entrances to the classic composed raqs sharqi entrance music, often called magenci. We explore the different ways of using, or not using, the overture, and where a dancer places herself for the best, or desired, audience effect. We talk about, break down, and dance to some of the more exciting and challenging sections of some of these marvelous pieces.
|Tues||June 6||Mpls||Cassandra||6:00-8:00p||$ 45|
Melody, Melodic Instruments, and Your Movements. We dancers who did not grow up listening to Arabic music need some time and coaching to really get the feel of the music we are dancing to “in our bodies.” This class illuminates some of the instruments you are likely to encounter in dance music, and the melodic devices that are commonly heard, and too often ignored, by dancers. This class combines lecture, demonstration, and ultimately dancing in your way.
|Wed||June 7||Mpls||Cassandra||6:00-8:00p||$ 45|
No advance registration — pay at class.
This is the perfect class for beginners: basic dance movements, rhythms, dance combinations, conditioning, isolation practice, and introduction to finger cymbal patterns with dance steps.
Basic dance movements, rhythms, dance combinations, conditioning, isolation practice, and using finger cymbals with dance steps. Coordination of dance movements and music.
Dance movements built on the basics learned in Level 1. Continuation of basics, conditioning, isolations, and addition of more complex movements. Introduction to veil dancing, with additional work on finger cymbals and coordination of dance movements and music.
Introduction to advanced rhythm and movement concepts, improvisation, intermediate cymbal and dance techniques, and layering of specifically Oriental dance movement. More rigorous conditioning. Introduction to Arabic/North African folk styles. Continuation of all prior techniques.
Advanced rhythm and movement concepts, improvisation, intermediate cymbal and dance techniques, and layering of specifically Oriental dance movement. More rigorous conditioning. Continuation of folk styles and rhythms.
Advanced movements, layering, combinations, choreography and concepts, improvisational class work, individualized performance exercises; continuation of folk styles and rhythm explorations. Advanced cymbal proficiency with movements.
Professional class — all of the above and enhancing performance skills!
Technique Intensive focuses on mastering technique — making it your own, incorporating it into body memory and vocabulary until you can command it effortlessly to express yourself through music and dance. We drill techniques with their variations and ornamentations. Appropriate for Level 3, 4, and 5 students. (Check the Calendar to see if class will be held, since Cassandra is often teaching out-of-town workshops.)
Learn a new choreography in only 4 weeks, created just for your level by your CSBD teacher. Perform it for your friends and family on Saturday, September 23 at 4:00 at the Hook & Ladder Theater (across the hall from the Mpls studio). Check the Calendar for the exact dates and times of each class.
Our main entrance is off the lot on the south side of the building. Go through the glass door that is in the part of the building that juts out in the northwest corner of the south parking lot, and turn left. Our secondary entrance is off the lot on the north side of the building, next to the police station. Go through the glass door. Our studio is down the hall and to your right, through the purple door.
Parking is easy. Parking options include the parking lot on the south side of the building, the parking lot on the north side of the building next to the police station, and ample street parking.
Transit Information: Bike racks are right outside the studio door. We are on the 7, 21, 27, and 53 bus routes (info), and we are 2 blocks east of the Lake St-Midtown light rail stop (info) on the blue line.
Yes, there will be women of all sizes in the classes. The beauty of this dance form is that it makes you feel wonderful in your own body, no matter its size or shape.
Too old? Never! Our classes are filled with women of all ages, mostly 20s to 70s, and we do accept girls as young as 13. Classes are geared toward the adult learner, so girls younger than 13, due to shorter attention spans, must be accompanied by an adult.
This depends on the type of injury and your doctor’s advice. Speak with your teacher about past injuries or body weaknesses so that she can give you alternative exercises or movements if necessary. Mostly you need to learn the difference between good and bad pain so that you don’t aggravate the condition. Some conditions can actually be improved through proper exercise. For example, lower back problems may be lessened by strengthening your abdominals. Learn to listen to and respect your body.
Our Level 1 classes are geared for non-dancers. You will learn basic movements and then build upon them.
Yes. You may progress more quickly than a non-dancer, but you need to learn the basics, as they are the building blocks for more advanced technique. Again, belly dance uses the body in very different ways than other dance forms. You will also need to learn how to play finger cymbals.
No. As you develop as a student you may choose to perform or not. Many students take classes just for their own pleasure. If you do wish to develop performance skills, there will be student opportunities that your teacher will let you know about. Whether you wish to perform or not, attending performances is very educational.
Belly Dance is a term for a beautiful feminine dance form from the Middle East. Its movements are thousands of years old and are based on traditional folk dances. Belly dance differs from Western dance forms by emphasizing the torso and using isolations to express the rhythmic and emotional qualities of Arabic music. Traditionally, it is an improvised solo dance — a dancer’s personal interpretation of the music. Attend Jawaahir’s performances and you will get a better feel of what the dance is about and its roots!
Yes! The dance is a great total body workout that builds strength, is easy on your joints, and increases your flexibility. Belly dance is also a great emotional release because it is fun and creative!
The classes start with warm-up and conditioning exercises to help you prepare for the movements you will learn. Classes continue with instruction in dance movements mixed with finger cymbal instruction. The classes close with stretching and cool-down exercises. All of this is done to an array of fun Arabic musical selections.
The Cassandra School offers year-round classes in 10 week sessions. Beginner and Level 2 classes are 90 minutes long. Levels 3-5 and some special classes are 2 hours long.
This will depend on the teacher. Traditionally the dance was and still is improvised, so a choreography or dance combinations are only tools to help you learn how the dance works with the music. The fun creative part comes when you learn to dance your own dance, as you feel it!
Of course, and it will help you learn faster!
The decision to cancel classes due to inclement weather is made 2 hours before class. To find out if your class is cancelled, click the Today's Classes button at the top of this page.
If you want to get email reminders, just go to Calendar, double click on your class to open the details window, and in the upper right corner select Reminder. Put in your email address and CalendarWiz will automatically send you an email reminder every time your class meets. If class is cancelled, the class title will include CANCELLED. Be sure and set the reminder time to be within 2 hours of your class time.
Every teacher has a different style, and we completely understand if your teacher is not right for you. If that happens, feel free to switch to a different class.
Like most dance schools programs, students remain at a level for about a year before moving to the next level. So usually a beginner student has studied for 0-1 years, Level 2 for 1-2 years, Level 3 for 2-4 years, etc. There is a lot of material to learn and master at each level which the next level will build upon. All this depends on your ability and, oh yes, how much you practice. Your teacher is your best guide and will tell you when you have mastered a level and are ready for the next.
If, by week two of a new session, there are fewer than 3 students registered for a class, that class may be cancelled for the remainder of the session by The Cassandra School. You are more than welcome to find another class that will work for you and make up any missed classes within the session.
We recommend beginning dancers start Level 1 within the first 3 weeks of a session because the class is progressive. We want you to have fun and not get frustrated by not understanding the movements and isolations, and zil patterns that have been taught and are being built upon.
If you can’t wait for the next session, call the office to see whether we have an opportunity for you to join a class already in session. No guarantees, but we’ll try to accommodate your enthusiasm.
We do not carry over missed classes from one session to the next. If you pay for a session you may make up missed classes any time during the session. If you are in Level 1 you may attend any other Level 1 class by simply showing up and telling the instructor you are doing a make-up. Students in Level 2 and above may attend any class at their level or a level close to their level.
Wear workout or dance wear, something comfortable to move in that you don’t mind sweating into! See photo.
We dance barefoot, so you don’t need special footwear. Some students do wear dance slippers, half sole shoes, or sandals, but that is a personal choice.
You are welcome to bring or purchase a hip scarf to accentuate the movements, but it isn’t necessary. We do have some hip scarves available for purchase should you develop a craving we call bead lust, the strong desire for something sparkly!
We teach all students how to play finger cymbals, or zils, starting at our beginner level and continuing through all levels. The Cassandra School does provide zils you can use during our beginner classes. We sell them and encourage you to purchase your own so that you can practice on your own.
No. This is a good workout — it would be too hard on the fine fabrics of a costume.
If you still have questions, call us at 612-872-6050.