Classes with Seraka Studios

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Contemporary and fusion belly dance classes are held through Seraka Studios, under the lead instruction of Vanessa Matthews.

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 Suspended Due to COVID-19

CoVid-19 is making its rounds. We have decided to cancel all classes until further notice in an effort to help with containment and social distancing measures set out by Gov NL Health & Community Services. This is a precautionary measure.

To quote our friends at Serpentine Studios in Halifax NS, “Like many of you, movement and dance is an important part of our mental health and self-care. We encourage you to keep moving and dancing as we work through these stressful times!”

We have closed registration for the time being, and will reassess starting classes again when it is safe and prudent to do so later in the year.



Class Descriptions


The instructor ensures each class is open and friendly, and that the environment is welcoming for dancers of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds.


Payment & Policies details can be found here.


PWYC Sampler Classes are open studio times to register for your series for the upcoming term, chat with the instructor, and purchase supplies for your series (if applicable).

There is also an opportunity to take in a 30 minute sampler class. It’s geared for beginner levels, with multiple options to increase difficulty. We’ll highlight basic posture, a few signature movements, and blend it into a sequence to a silly song.

All Sampler Classes are on a “pay-what-you-can” basis, with a suggested donation of $5 to $10. Bring a friend (or 5) and be sure to wear your big smiles.


Fundamentals is a light-hearted series that covers the fundamentals of belly dance movement, music and technique. It’s a great introduction into the world of belly dance, and will give you the building blocks to integrate into higher levels. In this series you will explore;

  • what belly dance is and various styles
  • essential isolations of the chest and hips
  • undulations and shimmies

Short combinations are taught throughout the series to apply the movements learned, however, no choreography is taught.



Intermediate Zills is a series that introduces the use of finger cymbals. You will first learn about the cymbals and how to play, then progress to playing while dancing. In this series you will explore:

  • drilling higher level technique, floor patterns, and steps
  • layering of isolations or movements with arm pathways
  • building hand strength and dexterity
  • cymbal tone, strokes, patterns, and complexity
  • Middle Eastern rhythms and dance-focused music theory

The Intermediate series’ can be taken in any order, once Beginners is completed. A unique choreography is taught in each series.

Intermediate Veils is a series that introduces the use of veils. You will first learn about the various fabrics, holds, and manipulations, then progress to dancing with this beautiful fabric prop. In this series you will explore:

  • drilling higher level technique, arm patterns, and steps
  • new turns, and refined spotting, balance, and levels
  • building strength and flexibility of the arms and shoulders
  • veil switches, swoops, crosses, and pops
  • troubleshooting mishaps

The Intermediate series’ can be taken in any order, once Beginners is completed. A unique choreography is taught in each series.


Intermediate Technique is a series that expands movement vocabulary and refines technique – this is a time to learn higher level technique, more complex layering concepts, and increase your speed and stamina. In this series you will explore;

  • drilling isolations, shapes, and pathways
  • refining shimmies, foot patterns, and turns
  • distinguishing movement qualities
  • learning music theory as it relates to dance

The Intermediate series’ can be taken in any order, once Beginners is completed. A unique choreography is taught in each series.

Advanced Series are weekly classes that refine technical proficiency and stylization. The content of the classes vary term to term, based on the needs of those enrolled. Classes will incorporate;

  • stationary and across-the-floor drilling
  • distinguishing movement qualities
  • micro isolations and muscle pairings
  • cross-genre technique for stylization
  • improvisation and creative toolkits

Instructor approval is necessary before advancing to higher levels. This ensures technical ability matches the requirements of the class.


Payment & Policies details can be found here.



Helpful Info About Classes


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.

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.

Payment & Policies details can be found here.


Where is the Studio?
Our classes lead a nomadic lifestyle – we do not have our very own space. We have been able to partner with some great local studios, which means our classes are offered all throughout St. John’s and Mount Pearl. Most classes are currently held at:

The Dance Centre – 286 Torbay Road, St. John’s NL


What to Wear
You’re coming to the studio to dance and learn, so it’s best to wear form-fitting exercise clothing that you’re comfortable sweating in (sports bra, tank/tee, leggings, sweat pants, light-weight layers).

  • You can show your belly, or not – that’s your choice.
  • Coin belts and hip scarves are not required, but can be fun.
  • Barefoot, light dance slippers, or “FootUndeez” is preferred.
  • Hair tied up off the neck


What to Bring
Bring yourself with an open mind, and leave the stress/dramas of your day at the door. You can also consider:

  • Water bottle
  • Notebook and pen
  • Light snack if needed

For Intermediate: Zills you will need a set of 4 finger cymbals. Size and metal of your choosing, with 2 slots (not 1 hole) for the elastics.  We recommend Saroyan Cymbals. Vanessa’s personal favorites are the Afghani and Ghawazee (and the beloved Al Taj for advanced dancers).

For Intermediate: Veils you will need a rectangular veil. Fabric should be sheer and very light-weight (such as chiffon or silk). It should be as wide as your arm from shoulder to tip of middle finger (1.0m to 1.25m long), and should be long enough to touch the floor, drape over your extended arm, and back down to the floor (2.0 to 2.5m long).


Rules & Expectations
  1. Please arrive 5-10 minutes before the class start time to prepare yourself, complete registration, and meet your fellow dancers.
  2. If you arrive late, please ensure you take the time to warm up and prepare your body to dance before joining the class. The back of the studio is a great place to do this.
  3. Your instructor will give you feedback (called “corrections”). These are done to encourage you and help you. Please consider applying your corrections, so that you can improve as a dancer. Sometimes feedback and corrections are challenging to apply, but with focus and dedication, it will come.
  4. Class is and will always be a non-competitive, positive, and encouraging environment.
  5. Your instructor will provide alternatives for those with previous injuries or mobility restrictions. Belly dance has many variations, and there is definitely a variation out there for you.
  6. All dancers are welcome, regardless of dance background, fitness or mobility levels.
  7. Classes currently have no age limit, however the teaching style is intended for adult participants, age 18+. There is reference to anatomy, and repetitive movements which younger dancers may not be as engaged in. Some of the discussions may be a bit mature or out-of-range for younger dancers.
  8. Classes welcome all genders and sexualities. Classes are a safe space and welcoming to all. This is a non-negotiable, guiding principle for our studio and classes. If this has not been your experience, please reach out so that we can learn, grow, and be better.


Payment & Policies details can be found here.