I became both a better dancer and better instructor by taking Suhaila’s workshops. Any dancer would benefit from a week of being challenged physically and mentally by Suhaila’s format. Suhaila’s emphasis on body placement and clean technique allows you to develop a strong foundation so that you can apply your voice to any style of Middle Eastern dance.
If it weren’t for Suhaila and the Suhaila Salimpour format, I’m not sure I’d still be belly dancing. Starting with my very first exposure to the format through my first teacher Kim Leary in New Jersey, I knew this was something that I could really sink my teeth into… and 8 years later, I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface of what this format has to offer me. Suhaila herself is a mentor to us, her students, in the true sense. She is the Mentor to our Telemachus, the Obi Wan and Yoda to our Luke Skywalker, the Morpheus to our Neo. She gives us the tools with which to become stronger dancers and individuals, pushing us to always do our very best, not only on the stage or in the studio, but every day. She is encouraging without being pandering, strict without being cruel, and demanding without being harsh. She asks more from us than we think we can give, but we give it… when Suhaila asks something of me in my dance, it’s because she believes in my abilities–often more than I believe in my capabilities. And do have someone like Suhaila as my mentor is more than I ever expected from this dance form, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for me as I continue my studies with her.
I began studying with Suhaila after professionally performing Tribal Style in the Bay Area for two years. I went to level 1, thinking I’d be on top of it in a “beginner” class, being “pro” and all……….and didn’t my whole concept of bellydance come crashing down around me. I found it difficult to even endure the warmup! I immediately quit performing altogether and truly began my life as a student, unlearning, relearning, rebuilding. The whole time, Suhaila, her wonderful family and her staff of dancers treated me with amazing care, kindness and respect. I remember feeling so humbled by seeing clearly my true ability for the first time, and at the same time inspired to become more, to reach the potential of the dancer I wanted to become. They worked me out to the point of exhaustion, Suhaila treated me with just as much personal attention and support as if I were a member of her own company, and I experienced……..sweat. And the more I learned and internalized, the more I wanted. And still want. The weeklong workshop is kind of a cathartic experience for most people who take it, in one way or another. The technique is universal and has no dictated “style” attached to it-it just provides a strong, safe foundation, and then the stylization is up to you. The instruction is comprehensive, in plain terms, hightly understandable and will make you INCREDIBLY STRONG if you practice regularly. So many dancers enter the weeklong and emerge inspired, technically evolved, and hungry for more!! If you are serious about growing as a dancer, just bite the bullet and go. It is, hands down, one of the very best things you will ever do for yourself. Worth every red cent.
I think a sign of a great teacher is how much they are willing to teach you, and that is the most impressive quality of the Salimpour format. The driving force of true generosity. The teacher who wants you to succeed.
Suhaila’s classes have not only helped me to improve my dance technique, but her format has helped me to recover from a lower back injury that was exacerbated by years of improper dance form. When I started taking Suhaila’s classes I was at the point where the pain in my back was threatening to make me stop dancing. Once I began to do the movements the way she taught me to do them I immediately noticed that my back became stronger and healthier. Her emphasis on body placement and technique is something that I always refer back to now that I am a teacher myself.
Suhaila Salimpour was not only one of my original inspirations to Belly Dance, she continually reconfigures my understanding of the dance form. She is a dancer’s dancer, and will always challenge, encourage, and re-inspire you. Even after dancing all her life, she’s got the same enthusiasm of a newcomer, and is incredibly knowledgeable of anatomy and physiology. If you haven’t taken a week-long workshop from her, you really owe it to yourself and your dancing to go, every single penny is worth it: you’ll be using what she taught you for years.
I first came to Suhaila with the sole purpose to enhance my technique. I was already dancing professionally and was curious what she could bring to the table. What has transformed is two-fold. Technique wise Suhaila’s format is unlike any other. Being a trained dancer, both classically and street, it is difficult to find an instructor who can work me out in the manner to which I’ve been trained all my life. Her format does exactly that as well as creating a unique and unified language. Performance wise Suhaila has helped take my dance to the next level, opening up aspects of my dance I didn’t know existed.
This woman’s vision affects us all! I recommend to everyone in this dance form to take classes and or workshops from this master! What I have learned from Suhaila’s format are the simple tools to build myself as a dancer to the highest level I am willing to apply them. Suhaila’s format has completely revolutionized my dance world. By learning these tools has allowed me to take them home and on my own time and use them without the questions of “am I doing this right?” The solid structure of the format ensures success! The workshops are where learning how to use the tools, creates and shapes the artist in you. Thus, allowing the freedom to hone skill to build the better dancer.
Suhaila Salimpour is the only teacher for this dance. There are a multitude of reasons why we come to this beautiful art form, but one thing is true. We all come with our bodies, which each and all have special needs that may not be addressed in other formats. The Salimpour format is the only way to learn bellydance. We can all dance, but if you aren’t using the format, it is not bellydance. Salimpour uses her vast knowledge of dance, drawing on an impressive career as the First American Bellydancer as well history, physiology, psychology, rhythm, costuming, beauty, music and art, to create a tremendously rich and safe environment for learning and growing and sharing in the beautiful experience of bellydance as it was always meant to be.