Is belly dance appropriate for me or my daughter?

Do read this article in the Rochester Woman magazine -“Debunking Common Myths about Belly Dancing
Amy Brase wrote a lovely article about belly dance in Rochester featuring Sadiya (owner of RIDS). In the article, she interviewed Sadiya about common myths associated with belly dance.

How is Shimmy Fit different than belly dance classes?

Shimmy Fit is our answer for those women who want to learn belly dance moves, dance to belly dance music, and seek fitness goals rather than dance goals. Shimmy Fit teaches belly dance moves in a low impact, aerobic format. You will learn dance moves and combinations, but will not get dance lessons. So, Shimmy Fit is for those whose primary goal is exercise. Unlike other forms of dance fitness, our Shimmy Fit instructors will show you correct posture and technique, vastly decreasing your chances of getting injured while participating in dance fitness classes.

Will belly dancing help me get in shape or lose weight?

Belly dancing, like any other physically demanding exercise, can and will raise your metabolism, strengthen and tone your musculature, stimulate your circulation and increase caloric expenditure. It can help you both learn to love your body and enhance your overall health and well being. If you are seeking weight loss and fitness gains, then you may want to pair a belly dance class with a shimmy fit class or some other sort of physically demanding activity at least three times per week. Belly dance is a low impact, mild cardiovascular activity that will exercise every part of your body!

How long does it take to learn how to belly dance?

There are so many individual variables that factor into learning any new skill, such as aptitude, desire, motivation, innate talent, work ethic, past experience, etc. How long it takes to learn how to belly dance depends on the individual. In any one class, you will learn several moves and how to combine those moves. In our experience, all women excel at some movements and are challenged by others. We offer a progression of dance classes that allow you to move forward from beginner to professional if that is your desire.

Do I have to perform? Or Can I perform?

There are many reasons why a person may study belly dance- for health and fitness, for social or relaxation purposes, to gain confidence and self-acceptance, to learn a new skill, to do something for yourself, because it is fun, to express yourself creatively, to learn to feel comfortable in your own skin. The list goes on…. You never have to perform. It is ok just to take classes and enjoy dancing.

If you want to perform, we provide many opportunities for performance during studio only Haflas (belly dance parties), community events and shows. Many students come to belly dance thinking that they never want to perform and then decide that it is really fun. For advanced beginning, intermediate and advanced students, we offer two student troupes in which you can participate. We have a professional troupe associated with the studio, Shaia Dance Collective. For those students who have been studying for several years and want to perform professionally, membership in Shaia is a possibility.

Are the classes co-ed?

Right now, we do not have any co-ed classes. We are happy to provide individual instruction to men seeking to learn belly dance.

What are the health benefits of belly dance? Are there any physical limitations?

You will learn movements that are friendly to the female body and can tone and strengthen your core muscles, improve flexibility in your muscles and ligaments of the spine and pelvis, reduce stress, burn up to 400 calories an hour, keep joints lubricated and healthy, and improve your balance and coordination. For a full discussion of health benefits, read our article link to health benefits article.

Starting a belly dance class is like starting any other program of physical activity, check with your physician first if you have medical issues. You should definitely talk to your doctor if you have back or joint problems, obesity, pregnancy or any other physical situation that might impact your ability to safely exercise.

Am I too old, young, out of shape, (fill in the blank) for belly dance?

You are just right for belly dance. The movements of belly dance are ancient and female centered. We have students who range in age from 2-77 years old. We have students of all sizes and shapes. We believe that belly dance is a fabulous form of exercise and expression
for all women.

Because our classes are taught for the actual physical students present in the room, you will receive attention based on your fitness and skill level. We keep our classes small so that each student receives individual attention. You will find that some women are great at
one move while others excel at another. The nature of the dance allows for progression at varying speeds within the same class.

Learning belly dance is very much like learning the alphabet. You learn the letters, or isolations. Then you begin to form words from your letters, or combinations from your isolations. Finally, you make phrases or short sentences, combining isolations with arm movements, travelling and layering moves on top of each other. So, a teacher can have one student doing a basic isolation while another student is layering arms over that isolation.

Everyone can progress within the same class at the speed and complexity that they are most comfortable with!

What should I wear to class? What about shoes?

You will need to wear something you can move freely in, like yoga pants and a t-shirt. It doesn’t need to show your belly or be tight fitting. Most folks begin class in pants and t- shirts and then ultimately move to tighter fitting tank tops or sport bras as they become for comfortable with their bodies and realize the benefit of being able to see what the belly is doing. You should wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy.

Some women like to dance in skirts or wear ethnic jewelry. It helps them feel more festive. We encourage a wrap around your hips. You can bring a scarf from home or we have coin hip wraps that you can borrow or purchase at the studio. It is way more fun to jingle while you dance!

Most belly dancers dance in bare feet. Our dance floor is a smooth wooden floor so socks are too slippery. Some folks prefer to wear shoes for various health reasons. Sneakers generally don’t work well because they stick to the floor. However, dance sneakers, jazz-
type shoes or any smooth soled shoe that allows your foot to flex works well.

We normally do our shopping locally at Blades to Ballet.

How do I register for a class?

Registration at Rochester International Dance Studio is quite simple.

Contact the studio

Let us know that you are planning on taking a class, workshop or camp. Give us your name, class name and class time. We will confirm your registration within 24 hours.

  • Phone : 507-884-1375 and leave a message
  • Purchase a class pass with Paypal and we will contact you to determine which class you are planning on attending
  • E-mail :
  • Contact Us
Can I try a class to see if I am going to like it?

You can try your first class for free. We want you to feel comfortable with your decision and make sure you have found the right class for your needs. Please give us a call at 507-884-1375 or complete our contact form on line to let us know you are coming.

When can I begin?

You can begin today! Although our classes run in 8 week sessions, most of them are designed to allow students to begin at any point. All of our dance fitness classes and beginning dance classes allow students to begin throughout the session. However, since the more advanced dance classes rely on a progression of skills, we usually do not allow students to enter those classes mid-session. Just give us a call and we can help you decide the best plan for entering class to fit your needs.

What if I have to miss a class?

If you are busy, have a swing schedule at work, or are faced with the normal chaos that everyday life brings, then you have come to the right place. If you have to miss a class, there is no problem. Your  8 class pass card is valid for 10 weeks. We believe that you should get what you pay for.

You can either wait until the next week to attend your regularly scheduled class or try another class the studio offers. Please give us a call and let us know that you will be attending a different class. Sometimes there are irregularities in the schedule (e.g. teacher gets sick, class cancelled due to low enrollment, etc) and we want to make sure you are informed of all relevant information prior to driving to the studio!

Do you have any special deals or discounts?

We have several discounts that are always available for our class passes.

  • Bring a friend and you both get your session at 20% off.
    You have to bring a NEW friend to the studio who hasn’t danced with us before to be eligible for this discount.
  • Purchase your first class pass card at full price and get your second one at 20% off
    You have to purchase both at the same time to be eligible for this discount.
  • Mayo employees receive 20% off all classes

We do not “stack” discounts. We are happy to offer you the best discount available for your situation. Check out our Fee and Promotions page for the latest deals.

We also run special deals throughout the year. Those deals are published on our Facebook page and in our newsletter. Sign up today to make sure you get information about all of our special deals!

Can I bring my children to the studio while I dance?

We have a waiting area in the studio with some books and a TV/VCR. We are happy for you to bring your kids, but we do ask that you are responsible for them. That may mean leaving class to check on them periodically. If you are ok with that, then we are ok with that. If your kids are disruptive to the class, then we may have to ask you to find other arrangements.

How do I pay for a class?

You may pay in cash or by check. You can either :

  • Mail your check to :

    RIDS, 1751 Hwy 52 N, Rochester, MN 55901

  • Bring a check or cash to the studio on the first day of your class
  • Pay though Paypal or credit card
Are there any special benefits for new and returning students?

We have created a new set of benefits for our new and returning students.

No risk guarantee

We are so sure that you are going to love our classes that you may try out any class for free.

Open House Demos

We have open houses twice a year when you can try demonstrations given by various teachers featuring different styles of belly dance.

Bring a friend and BOTH get 20% off your class pass.

Here is the catch- you have to bring a new student to the studio. You can’t just sign up with one of your current class-mates.

Multiple Classes

Sign up for your first class at full price and receive 20% off each additional class.


Your 8 class pass is valid for 10 weeks from the date of purchase, ensuring that you really do get what you pay for!

Celebrations and haflas quarterly.

We will be offering a variety of social and dance opportunities at the end of each dance session. Usually, we will alternate between studio haflas and public haflas. A hafla is a belly dance party. The studio hafla will just be for current students. This is a time to get together with other dancers in a small setting and practice dancing. If you are considering your first performance, this is a perfect time to do it. Dancers of all levels are welcome to perform. You will be sure to have a positive experience surrounded by the support of other dancers. The public hafla is a time to invite family, friends and other folks to come and see what you have learned. These will be held at another venue where there is more room for everyone to bring their loved ones.

Opportunities to perform in community and Shaia Dance Collective shows

We often invite student groups to participate in community shows or Shaia Dance Collective performances. For example, one adult beginning class performed at Thursdays on First last summer. Many of our classes perform when the event is sponsored by Shaia Dance Collective, our resident professional troupe.

Don’t find your question answered here?

Don’t hesitate to contact Terri →