Class Descriptions

Explore every flavor we have to offer to experience release, validation, and inspiration!

Belly Dance

THIS is why we are all here! These feminine movements invite freedom, release, fluidity, and at the same time strength, posture, and embodied power! Raks Sharqi, also called Danse Orientale, and Belly Dance, has evolved into many forms around the world. Springing forth from folkloric and classical Egyptian style of belly dance, this beautiful dance form gives voice to the powerful feminine spirit and is available to everyone.

Our Belly Dance curriculum is rooted in these traditions. We believe there are core movements, isolations, steps, phrasing, and musicality that are at the heart of the Art of Belly Dance. Our students begin by training in these foundational principles - then, we can explore with a variety of music, costuming, and stylized moves expressed through various sub-genres.

Dance is, after all, an art form that is living and breathing and continues to evolve through time and space! It's important to stay honoring the roots of the dance, while leaving room - in the traditional Raks Sharqi style - for the individual, unique, and beautiful 'voice' of every dancer. We are here to help you develop your unique self!

FREE Intro Class (3rd Fridays)

3rd Fridays, 6pm

Come check out the Studio with a dance class open to the community. Evey Body Welcome! Explore cultural dance moves, supportive environment, and good vibes! All levels welcome. We'll start with posture, and work on our belly dance isolations, simple footwork around the room, and have a great time!

Please pre-register to save your spot, we have limited space. All ages welcome, please, no shoes on the dance floor.

Belly Dance 1: Beginner

  • Tues, 6pm w/Karen
  • Wed, 8:15pm w/Johanna
  • Sat, 11am w/Lizza

Start your belly dance journey here, no matter what style you are moving towards.

This series comes in three parts that can be taken in any order. Each series focuses on specific concepts fundamental to the art form. All introduce technique and isolations, improvisation as well as combinations. No experience necessary.

Roots: Foundational rhythms and footwork to ground yourself into your body and the music through the earth

Flow: Tapping into the energy of air and water to synthesize movements

Flair: Exploring how emotions are energy in motion and aid in storytelling - moving with meaning!

Many take each twice for the full experience, they are always different!

Check out our Beginner's Info Page!

Belly Dance 2: Beyond Basics

  • Thurs, 6:45pm w/Kimberly & Johanna
  • Sat, 12:15pm w/Lizza

After the Beginner Classes, you're ready for more! This mixed-level class is where you begin to refine your technique, learn longer combinations, and can bring your questions and challenges.

Recommended to bring finger cymbals (zills) to every class as we develop our rhythm and timing too. And a veil... just in case! Great for all styles of belly dance.

Belly Dance: Shimmies

Tues, 7:15pm w/Karen

Come have fun with the most notorious of belly dance moves - the Shimmy! Is it a twerk? Is it a shake? What do we need to do to get a stronger, easier, more powerful shimmy? This is a well crafted drills class that focuses on building strength and precision in your movements so you can gain the control that you need to dance your best shimmy! It's a matter of isolation, relaxation, and form that creates the right recipe. All skill levels welcome, you'll find this will improve all aspects of your belly dance! Plus it's a whole lot of fun...

Hip Stars Dance Troupe

The Hip Stars are the performing belly dance troupe of Hip Expressions! We hold auditions a few times a year, and are open to all dancers. Interested in performing? More info here.

Belly Dance Performance Courses

Extra Charge, discount for Members.

You've studied the basics, continue to practice, and are ready for more! Our 10 - 12 week choreography courses will prepare you for a performance. Your technique and memory will be challenged as you put moves together, and polish the transitions until you are performance ready!

Beyond learning the moves, performing is also about group dynamics, formations, working with other dancers to create three dimensional performance art, together!

It's recommended to take a few of these courses before auditioning for the Hip Stars troupe, so you are familiar with performance and troupe etiquette. This gives you the opportunity to learn those things from the ground up in a bite-sized, three month increment. Costume purchase is required to perform (though performing is optional). Performance opportunities exist at local events, get ready to have fun!

Workshops

Extra charge, discount for Members.

Keep an eye out for Belly Dance Workshops which will help you on your journey, as you explore different styles, props, and more!

Group Improvisational Belly Dance (Tribal Style)

Hip Expressions is happy to be hosting two styles of Tribal (group) belly dance, Djinn Zoo (our local dialect), and Global Caravan. Come see the joy of dancing together as as family, stemming from the origins of the dance as a community event. These styles draw movements from belly dance, Flamenco, Indian, trance, and many other styles of dance from around the world.

Through cues and vocabulary, dance together fluidly and beautifully to any music! Learn how to communicate with your dance partners, develop spatial awareness and start creating dance, together.

Djinn Zoo

  • Class - Mon, 6:45pm w/Marcy
  • Troupe - Mon, 8pm w/Marcy

We'll be learning the vocabulary particular to the Djinn Zoo dancers, built from Loud Zoo Style developed by Johanna in the early 2000's inspired by Global Caravan, FatChanceBellyDance, and others.

This class is a requirement for dancers interested in joining our performing Troupe, Djinn Zoo. Keep practicing, you can join, too! Belly Dance is for every body!

Global Caravan

  • Beginner - Sun, 1pm w/Jen
  • Intermediate - Sun, 2:15pm w/Jen

Hip Expressions is proud to host Caravan Project - St Pete! We are building towards a performing troupe as dancers work their way through Level 1 and now Level 2 curriculum.

Indian Fusion Belly Dance

Indian Dance itself traces its lineage back to ancient times, through preserved lineages and texts, and also gives expressions to the divine feminine. You can see this in countless Indian temple statues and court dances, telling the stories of gods and goddesses. As the world comes in closer touch with itself, feminine expressions through dance is growing more popular. Dancers hunger for the existing cultural traditions that embody and empower the feminine.

The fusion of these Indian and with Middle Eastern traditions is not to be done lightly! Studying and knowing the roots of both is integral to honoring the foundations, with sensitivity instead of thoughtless appropriation. And what a beautiful fusion it is, as the divine finds her expressions through us in all manifestations.

Through time, dance traditions (and other traditions) spread and flourished along the trading routes between the East and the West; along the Silk Roads and Spice Routes. Historical evidence provides the connection between Indian Temple Dancing, Belly Dance, North African, and Flamenco dances. We are thrilled to explore these connections with you!

Ananda Format

  • Sun, 11:45am

This Indian Tribal Fusion Belly Dance class incorporates traditional elements of Indian dance in theatrical style, developed by Zoe and her Ananda troupe. Based on the classic, and evolved into the present, build your confidence in storytelling, technique, combinations, and improvisation! The class will include drills and flow.

Open to all levels - beginner friendly.

***

Zoe Van West is unique in her approach to belly dance vocabulary and performance technique which incorporates Indian, Cambodia, and American dance influences. Zoe is well rooted in these traditions, holding a UNESCO certification in Rajasthani music, dance, and culture, and a Certification in Community Leadership in the Arts from the University of Michigan. Come study her unique blend of Eastern and Western dance traditions, experience her giving spirit, and enjoy her musical compositions!

Flamenco

Flamenco is a very expressive and mesmerizing dance form, grounded in the richness of bodily expression. This dance has roots in the Folkloric musical tradition of the Roma people of Andalusia, and other parts of Southern Spain. The cultural exchange between the native Spaniards, Moors, and Sephardic Jews all contributed to the forms we dance today.

Our classic Flamenco is taught by Vanessa Cerallo, professional Flamenco dancer and performer.

Flamenco: Intro (Level 1)

Wed, 5:30pm (30 min)

This is the pre-requisite for the Beginner Course, and must be taken repeatedly - and along with practice at home, will prepare you for more.

All level are welcome, and no experience is required. All you need to bring is a passion for learning, and a pair of Flamenco shoes (character shoes would work as well in this Intro class).

You will become familiar with the basic posture, basic floreos (hand movements), palmas sordas and abiertas, basic braceos (arm movements), ranging from primera to quinta, and simple Golpe (footwork), including plantas and talcon. Other fundamentals covered include pitos (finger snapping), and palmas (hand clapping). Lastly, one of the most critical elements is understanding the rhythms (Compas).

Flamenco: Beginner (Level 2)

Wed, 6pm

We begin where Flamenco: Intro leaves off, and dive more deeply into Flamenco. A strong foundation in Intro is necessary. Basic posture will be reinforced, floreos (hand movements), palmas sordas and abiertas, braceos (arm movements), ranging from primera to quinta, and Golpe (footwork), including plantas and talcon.

We'll be studying one of the fundamentals of Flamenco, Sevillanas. Whether you've done it before, or are brand new, this class will engage your mind and body, to uplift your spirit!

Instructor's permission required, several previous Flamenco: Intro courses recommended.

Flamenco: Intermediate

Sat, 1:30pm

These classes are for students who have attended several of Vanessa's previous courses, have Flamenco experience, and have gotten permission from the instructor.

Nia

If you love to dance, ever loved to dance, or want to love to dance, this is the class for you!

Christine Stineman, BS LMT is a Black Belt Nia teacher with 18 years experience in somatic education and bodywork. She discovered Nia in 2003 as a sustainable and enjoyable way to be fit and found it helpful for alleviating anxiety and depression. When she is not dancing, she enjoys spending time with her family, dancing to live music and being on her bike in nature. Christine is also certified in Nia Moving to Heal, Move IT (interval training) and FloorPlay.

Nia

Mon & Thurs 5:30pm

A powerful fusion of dance, martial arts and mindfulness practices, Nia is more than a workout. It is a holistic fitness practice addressing each aspect of your life - body, mind, and soul. Nia uses a system of 52 Moves and a variety of inspiring music to deliver full-body conditioning and empowered self-healing. Nia is non-impact, practiced barefoot and adaptable to individual needs and abilities. Nia classes are taught in dozens of countries and languages around the world and has been changing bodies and lives for 40 years. And it's FUN! Nia will move you!

Yoga

Yoga provides a perfect accompaniment to dance - aligning us to our center, building balance and strength. When you are constantly wiggling out of alignment - it's good to know where to come 'home' to!

Of course, you don't have to be a dancer to reap the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of a yoga practice.

Yoga: Align & Shine

Sat, 9:30 - 10:45am

Hip Expressions is overjoyed to host Dr. Michael Ward! An incredible yogi and teacher, you'll find Johanna in his class almost every week.

In these Hatha yoga classes, Michael focuses on building a sustainable, grounded practice. This series is appropriate for beginners and practitioners since new principles of alignment may be introduced. Poses will be explained from the ground-up. We'll stay connected to the breath through a heart-centered theme that connects to the entire class. This is not a flow class since these prerequisites are foundational to any flow class.

Michael's class uses the structure of the five alignment and action principles that are common to every yoga pose, while focusing on setting a strong foundation of support and stability in order to expand our bodies and minds.

Those with physical limitations and who seek to utilize Hatha yoga as a physical therapy means of treatment are encouraged to attend.

Class will use yoga mats, blocks, blankets and straps also available.

*****

Dr. Michael Ward is extensively trained in therapeutic uses of Hatha yoga while holding a class atmosphere that’s heart-centered and fun. Michael’s journey in yoga began in 2001 and shortly after he discovered his primary influence: Anusara® yoga where he later was certified. A chiropractor, massage therapist, and yogi, his knowledge combined with his gentle and humorous encouragement make him a fantastic instructor!

Yoga for Balance

Mon, 10:30 - 11:45am

This is Johanna's morning class where she addresses all the asymmetries we fall into as bodies living in our modern society.

This class utilizes traditional yoga poses, classic core work, and dance isolations, to release tension and restore balance. Discover how it feels to be in your body, with your unique challenges and opportunities to deepen your connection to yourself.

We'll navigate on and off centerline with body isolations. Always returning to our center of alignment... in our body, mind, and heart. We'll be dancing in our poses throughout the entire class - from the inside out!

No experience - yoga or dance - necessary. Movement limitations welcome, we have modifications for everything! Communicate your physical challenges, and we'll address how to navigate them towards greater joy and ease.

Class will use yoga mats, blocks, blankets and straps also available.

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Johanna has unique insight into our human body's needs - not only from years of training in massage therapy & yoga, but primarily from her own life as a professional dancer, diagnosis with scoliosis from a young age, and several disk herniations in her neck and back. Come see how the possibilities are really limitless with just a little directed self-care!

Aerial Yoga

Aerial Yoga teaches modifications to traditional yoga poses using the hammock to support the body. The use of compound movements, in a playful, yet powerfully strengthening way, open the pathways to creativity and confidence. There are so many benefits to yoga with the hammock, as it can support you when you need to breathe better in a yoga poses. It can decompress the spine and release tension in the back & neck. It can strengthen your vestibular system (balance), as well as your nervous system. The support of the hammock makes it easy to reap the benefits of inverting the body .

The ultimate release comes at the end when your whole being can relax into the hammock for Savasana. Come see for yourself!

*Please note we have (one) swing set aside for Hip Expressions students, more are sometimes availalbe, please check www.yogamovesme.com or www.prismwellnessandyoga.com for additional registration options.

Burlesque

Get in touch with your super sensual side! Burlesque actually finds its roots in belly dance, as European travelers to the Middle East returned with stories of the gyrations and shakes they saw. Women who dared used this as inspiration... and alongside the development of high entertainment of ballet, and lower class such as Vaudeville, Burlesque shows also developed - traditionally featuring singers, musicians and comedians, chorus dancers, as well as features.

We explore the dancing and staging of Burlesque, which is as much about attitude and costuming as dance moves! Play with gloves, boas, or high heels! What Burlesque shares with Belly Dance is that it is about owning your feminine power, strength and sensuality - through your body - though with VERY different focus! Come have fun, giggle and shake with the music and be -very - naughty!

Look for upcoming Workshops.

Brazilian Samba

Our Brazilian Samba troupe rocks it out all over Tampa Bay! Directed by Samba Mama Gypsi Erin, this high-energy, feathers flying and sparkles shining group rehearses weekly and performs at least once a month! Talk to Erin about joining!

Samba Syndicate Troupe.

Fire Dancing

Enjoy the THRILL and power of dancing with all the elements - embodied in FIRE! No experience necessary. We learn SAFETY first, and then explore the transformation the flame offers. Burn away what no longer serves you, as you command the direction of the flame and control how the light flickers around you as you dance. Freeing, powerful, and fun!

Look for upcoming Workshops.

Empowerment and Energy

Beyond movement, we offer programs for you body, mind and soul. We offer Energy Medicine, Liberating your Feminine Radiance, breathwork, anatomy, Positive Intelligence Mental Fitness training and more.

Look for upcoming Workshops.

Class Flavors...

  • Free Class Friday May 2024.jpg
  • Belly Beginner Class with K, J and L.jpg
  • Yoga for Balance w Jo Jan 2024.jpg
  • Aerial Yoga w Karla March Updated 2024.jpg
  • Intro to Tribal Belly Dance 2024.jpg
  • Belly Beginner FLOW class w Karen May 2024.jpg
  • Shimmy w Karen 2024.jpg
  • Intro Flamenco class w Vanessa  Jan 2024.jpg
  • Flamenco Beginners class w Vanessa  Jan 2024.jpg
  • Belly Beginner FLOW class w Jo May 2024.jpg
  • Nia Class Jan 2024.jpg
  • Belly Dance with Kim and Jo Jan 2024.jpg
  • Raks Sharqi w Lizza Hassan Jan 2024.jpg
  • Indian Fusion w Zoe Sept 2024.jpg
  • Nia Class wih Lisa May 2024.jpg