Seraka Studios

Contemporary & Fusion Belly Dance Classes with Vanessa Elizabeth


We believe that every dancer is unique, with different abilities, learning styles, and motivations for dancing.  The ultimate goal of classes with Seraka Studios is to spark a passion for belly dance in whichever stylization you would like to embrace.   We want to help dancers not only understand the body and fundamental vocabulary and repertory, but to cultivate a deeper understanding of modern belly dance.  We wish to inspire creativity and to spark a desire to better yourself in dance, with an eagerness to push your own limits and reach your goals in dance – not ours.

Classes are broken into 4 main parts.

  • Step #1: Immerse
  • For new dancers
  • Basics, posture
  • Isolations, shimmies
  • Short combos
  • Step #2: Work
  • For continuing dancers
  • Conditioning, drilling
  • Practise, refinement
  • Finger cymbals
  • Step #3: Play
  • Combos & stagecraft
  • Learn choreography
  • Improvise to music
  • Make dances
  • Step #4: Explore
  • Workshops & series
  • Lectures & PD
  • Unique topics including props, performance, technique, composition

You can study at levels in each area to create the perfect environment to best reach your goals in dance. Mixing and matching allows you to grow at a level and a pace that works for you.

In classes we strive to ensure our dancers have the most extensive belly dance experience possible.  We engage students with culture, history, and theory; we provide opportunities for creativity, choreography, and performance; we push our dancers in all aspects of their technique studies including musicality, isolations, fluidity, and conditioning. We build a community of learning, and this leads to well-rounded dancers.


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Schedule & Registration

Fall 2017

Due to cast rehearsals for Seraka’s newest production, Unknown 2017, there are no classes or private lessons scheduled for the Fall Semester. We anticipate classes to resume for the Winter Semester early in the new year.


Seraka Studios

Class Descriptions

For the very beginner and new dancer, try the Fundamentals series to learn the basics, then you can jump  into the guided curriculum classes at Level 1 to hone your skills, continuing through the levels as your skill level improves.

During your studies you can supplement your learning with Specialty classes and Workshops. A dancer is not only a good technician, but also an artist with her own creative voice. Enrolling is a mixture of our belly dance studies will put you on the right track to becoming a well-rounded dancer.

For details on our studio location and more information on what to wear, bring and expect in class, please check out Helpful Info.


Classes & Series


Class Descriptions - FundamentalsStudies

Regular Curriculum

Series registration

No drop-ins


Learn the basics of belly dance movement, music and technique with this engaging series. You will be given the building blocks of this beautiful dance form that will help you integrate into regular technique classes.

A fun and light-hearted course that encompasses the fundamentals of belly dance movement, music and technique that will give you the building blocks of this beautiful dance form. It’s a great introduction into the world of belly dance. The instructor ensures the class is open and friendly, and that the environment is welcoming for dancers of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Throughout the course you will work through;

  • what belly dance is and various styles available
  • essential isolations of the chest, torso and hips
  • shimmies!
  • basic music theory as it relates to dance
  • fun, beginner-level combinations

The techniques taught are the essentials of all disciplines of belly dance and can be used in all styles, however, the terminology used will reflect the vocabulary of tribal and fusion styles belly dance.

Weekly classes that will build your body and muscles, expand movement vocabulary and refine technique, culminating in a full choreography suitable for the class level.  This is your time to WORK!

Each weekly class will incorporate;

  • strengthening and conditioning of the body and muscles used in belly dance
  • drilling isolations of the upper, middle and lower body
  • drilling shimmies, foot patterns and turns
  • distinguishing between hard and soft contractions for pops, locks, hits, and oozes
  • exploration of music and music theory
  • studying Middle Eastern rhythms and their application in western dance
  • playing and dancing with finger cymbals (zills)
  • dancing with props may be added at instructor’s discretion and class ability in higher levels
  • choreography suitable in length and difficulty to the level offered

Students should take Fundamentals, or have previous experience before joining the Level 1. Instructor approval is necessary before joining higher levels to ensure technical ability matches the requirements of the class.

Current curriculum includes Level 1 through Level 5, to be offered as student interest and availability rises.

The techniques taught are the essentials of all disciplines of belly dance and can be used in all styles, however, the terminology used will reflect the vocabulary of tribal and fusion styles belly dance.

Occasionally we’ll offer a short series or a workshop that focuses on one specific choreography to a specific song, just for fun.

We’ll break down the music, the steps and sequencing, then play with staging a little. No intention to perform, no intention to work through nuances or performance skills (as these would be worked within a Level 2+ regular studies).

Just dance.


Class Descriptions - SpecialtySpecialty

Single classes or shorter series on specialty topics.

Open to all levels.

Options for increased difficulty offered in class.

All Drop In – All The Time

Break it down, build it up

Refine and fine-tune your technique with this series of spotlight classes. Each week will focus on a specific area of technique. We’ll break it down, drill the bits and pieces, then layer it back up into a stronger, more defined. Schedule TBD as dictated by the needs of the class. Common areas include:

  • Shoulders, Arms & Hands
  • Diamonds & Squaress
  • Figure 8s
  • Hip Circles
  • Travelling
  • Turning & Spotting
  • 3/4 Hips
  • Shimmies
  • Shimmy Layers
  • Bellyrolls & Undulations
  • Transitions & Weight Exchange

For: anyone with some belly dance experience (multi-level class); not suitable for absolute beginners.

Combos Plus

Each week (or two) we’ll focus on a new combination, set to a particular song – likely related to that week’s SPOTLIGHT class. We’ll break down the sequencing, the counts, the movements, then we’ll mark it, dance it, add nuances, variations and play with staging withing the group.

For: anyone with some belly dance experience (multi-level class); not suitable for absolute beginners.

Dancing with finger cymbals

Work out the brain as well as the body as we play a game of belly dance Tetris. We’ll start with a zill pattern, then we’ll be adding the pieces one-by-one and see how far we can push our coordination and patience. We’ll first add a walking foot pattern, then an isolation (or two), then an arm pathway. You can add in the layers as you’re able: challenge yourself, or work where you are that day.

For: anyone with some belly dance experience and a familiarity with finger cymbals; not suitable for absolute beginners.

Finger Cymbals 101 & 102
What are finger cymbals?

We’ll learn the fundamentals of playing finger cymbals – how to wear them, how to play them, different strikes. In Class #101 we’ll break down basic musicality like counting and tempo, and learn basic rhythms such as singles, doubles, and 16ths.  In Class #102 we’ll explore more musicality like dynamics, and learn fun rhythms like Running 3s, and 337s. If we’re excited, we can take it walking, or even with basic isolations!

For: anyone with some belly dance experience and little-to-no experience with finger cymbals; not suitable for absolute beginners.