NEW! In February, Vanessa is teaching an Advanced series on Wednesdays! Two more new classes starting in February: Ballet for Bellydancers on Mondays and Dance Fitness on Tuesdays!

Jawaahir Dance Academy is continuing regular classes through February, including some brand new classes! After that, Jawaahir encourages dance students to support our city’s wonderful local instructors who specialize in Raqs Sharqi and Arab dances. Look to Jawaahir Dance Company founder, Cassandra Shore, and current and former JDC members Renee Szudy, Louise Indritz, Kathy McCurdy, Angela Skrade, and Alana Mari. Also, check out the Guild of Middle Eastern Dance for local events and class listings, and of course stay tuned to us here at, our newsletter, and social media pages for exciting upcoming events, workshops, and special classes. 

Sign up for February Classes today!

Discount code: FirstClassFree.


Welcome to the Academy

Photo of a class.

Belly dancing for fun, fitness, and grace! Join our dance community of all ages, sizes, and levels of experience to participate in the creative expression, as well as the health and fitness benefits, of Middle Eastern dance. The beauty of this dance form is that it makes you feel wonderful in your own unique body. We challenge all students to achieve a personal best!

You can register, cancel, or reschedule a class up to the last minute. All classes are recorded and you have access to videos of your classes for a full week! If you miss a class, you still have access to the video for that class! You may attend any class either on Zoom or in studio. Your first class is always free with the discount code FirstClassFree!  

February Classes

Class videos:  You have a full week of access to a recording of every class you register for (whether you attend or not). You may drop in but you will not have access to the video unless you register online first. (You may register online immediately before class.) NOTE: We are having difficulty with Tuesday night videos, but we are working on the issue. Thank you for your patience and understanding. 

All classes hybrid:  You may attend any class either online or in the studio. 

Studio Address: 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN, 55406. Use 3035 Snelling Ave for GPS to get to our parking lot entrance. More info on our Location page. 

All Class Times: US Central Time zone. Use our online calendar to see all class offerings and to check if class is running or cancelled.

Belly Dance is a term for a beautiful feminine dance form from the Middle East. Its movements are thousands of years old and are based on traditional folk dances. Belly dance differs from Western dance forms by emphasizing the torso and using isolations to express the rhythmic and emotional qualities of Arabic music. Traditionally, it is an improvised solo dance — a dancer’s personal interpretation of the music. Attend Jawaahir’s performances and you will get a better feel of what the dance is about and its roots! 

This depends on the type of injury and your doctor’s advice. Speak with your teacher about past injuries or body weaknesses so that she can give you alternative exercises or movements if necessary. Mostly you need to learn the difference between good and bad pain so that you don’t aggravate the condition. Some conditions can actually be improved through proper exercise. For example, lower back problems may be lessened by strengthening your abdominal muscles. Learn to listen to and respect your body.

If you’ve never danced before, you’ll be right at home in Fundamentals. These classes are geared for non-dancers where you learn basic movements and build on them.

There are women of all sizes in the classes. The beauty of this dance form is that it makes you feel wonderful in your own body, no matter its size or shape.

Our classes are filled with women of all ages. Classes are geared toward the adult learner, so girls younger than 13, due to shorter attention spans, must be accompanied by an adult.

Wear workout or dance wear, something comfortable to move in that you don’t mind sweating into! 

We dance barefoot, so you don’t need special footwear. Some students do wear dance slippers, half-sole shoes, or sandals, but that is a personal choice.

You may wear any scarf over your hips to accentuate the movements, but it isn’t necessary. We have some hip scarves to share in the studio and some available for purchase at the studio.

You shouldn’t wear a costume for class. This is a good workout, and it would be too hard on the fine fabrics of a costume.

We teach all students how to play finger cymbals, or zils, starting at our beginner level and continuing through all levels. We provide zils you can use during our in-studio classes or you can purchase your own at the studio. We recommend size EB for beginners.

Yes. You may progress more quickly than a non-dancer, but you need to learn the basics, as they are the building blocks for more advanced technique. Belly dance uses the body in very different ways than other dance forms.

We suggest you stay in Fundamentals until you are comfortable with the material, possibly several months. Beyond that, like most dance school programs, students remain at each level for about a year. There is a lot of material to learn and master at each level which the next level builds on. All this depends on your ability and, oh yes, how much you practice. Your teacher is your best guide for when to change levels.

No. As you develop as a student you may choose to perform or not. Most students take classes just for their own pleasure. If you do wish to develop performance skills, there are student performance opportunities. Whether you wish to perform or not, attending performances is very educational. Jawaahir Dance Academy has a multi-level student performing group, Khazanah.

All our classes are hybrid: both online and in-person. You will have access to class recordings for one week for any hybrid class you register for, whether you attend or not and whether you attend in studio or online.

To attend in-studio classes, register through Wellness Living and show up.

To attend online classes, register through Wellness Living. At class time, log into Wellness Living and click My schedule on the nav bar. You will be able to join class from there.

Classes are between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the class. Your teacher will do a brief warm-up at the beginning of class as well as a brief cool-down at the end. The rest of class will be dance instruction relevant to the level of the class. All of this is done to an array of fun Arabic musical selections.

The dance is a great total body workout that builds strength, is easy on your joints, and increases your flexibility. Belly dance is also a great emotional release because it's fun and creative!

Whether you learn a choreography in class will depend on the teacher. Traditionally the dance was and still is improvised, so a choreography or dance combinations are only tools to help you learn how the dance works with the music. The fun creative part comes when you learn to dance your own dance, as you feel it!

60 minute classes are $15; 75 minute classes are $20; 90 minute classes are $25. Buy 4 or more classes, and get $2 off each class. A monthly pass for unlimited classes is also available.

All registered students have access to the class online in case you can't make it to the studio. You have access to the class video even if you don't take the class at the time it's offered. You can also cancel your class registration until just before class. In that case, you will get a credit for the class. 

You still have access to the video for that class by clicking Watch Video on your Wellness Living nav bar.

The decision to cancel classes due to inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstance is made at least 2 hours before class. In that event, you should receive an email and you will receive a credit for the cancelled class. In addition, you can click Calendar in the Jawaahir website nav bar. If class is cancelled, the class title will include CANCELLED. 

We are in the back of The Hook & Ladder building at 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls. To get to the entrance to our fenced parking lot, use 3035 Snelling Ave for GPS. There is also street parking on Snelling Ave and on Minnehaha Ave, where a casual walk down the street or through the alley will deliver you to our purple door. The door should be cracked open for class, but if it's not, please knock loudly. More info on our Location page. 

At class time, log into Wellness Living and click My schedule on the nav bar. You will be able to join class from there. 

You should have received an email reminder 2 hours before class. If not, check your Wellness Living Profile to be sure your email address is correct. If it is, let us know and we'll try to figure out what went wrong. 

If you’ve not been admitted once class start time has passed, try leaving the zoom meeting and re-joining.

Ready to take a class...

  1. Click the Register button and log in or create an account.
  2. Select a Purchase Option (One Time Visit or multi-class pass).
  3. Go to Book Now and register for each class you want to take. This gives you access to the class video for 7 days. 

From your account's nav bar...

  • My schedule: See your own classes. Click a class to join it on zoom.
  • Book now: See all upcoming classes and book them.
  • Store: Buy the Purchase Options you use to book multiple classes at a time.
  • Watch video: (This will only appear once you have a video available.) Watch the video for your most recent class. (It may take a few minutes after class for the video to appear on the page.) If you click the orange All Videos button, all videos from classes you attended (or at least booked) in the last 7 days will appear.

We understand this is new.

If you’re having trouble and need immediate assistance, call Eileen at 612-875-5008 or Terry at 612-875-5016. 

If you’re having trouble and email will do, Terry at

Photo of Khazanah in a park

Khazanah (which means Treasure in Arabic) is a multi-level performance troupe of dancers who take classes at Jawaahir Dance Academy. It’s open to all current students over the age of 39. Founded in 2013, our dancers include all levels of experience. Our director is Kathy McCurdy, a Jawaahir alumna.

Our mission is to be better dancers, have fun, experience joy through dance, and inspire other older women to dance! Interested? Talk to your teacher.