Learning to dance, like learning to drive, requires focus, light feet, and assistance from a dashboard hula dancer. Heed her counsel with today’s Groupon: for $30, you get a pack of 10 classes at DanceGardenLA (a $110 value).
Owned and operated by Jenna and Zahra Zuhair, DanceGardenLA teaches Middle Eastern and internationally inspired dance in a positive, community-building atmosphere. Classes occur daily to disseminate sizzling beats and sinuous sways throughout the week, with experienced instructors and numerous belly-dance options available. Traditional belly-dance classes teach everything from the basics to the subtleties of the Middle Eastern art form, and American Tribal Style Bellydance updates ancient grooves to include a contemporary fusion of tribal folk dance, flamenco, and the sprinkler. Latin-inspired Zumba classes provide a matador’s flourish of fitness, and Uzbek dance employs sensuous rhythms and nonstop movements. Check the schedule for current class offerings and availability.
DanceGardenLA was created by Zahra Zuhair and Jenna, who have been bellydancing since childhood and have travelled the world accumulating impressive professional credits. Zuhair has trained in traditional folk and Eastern styles—including Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Tunisian—but her specialty is Egyptian bellydance, which she has studied with some of the top teachers in Cairo. She has also been featured on the cover of Zaghareet! magazine and has written, directed, and choreographed productions as the artistic director of the Ghazella Dance Company and Po Na Na Dance Theatre. Jenna acted as a goddess bellydance instructor on an episode of Sex and the City, and made appearances on The Tyra Banks Show and the Food Network program Aarti Party. She has also starred in several bestselling belly dance-instruction DVDs.
Thanks to their more than 50 years of combined teaching experience and a talented team of award-winning instructors, the studio was named the Best Place to Learn the Art of Bellydancing in 2012 by LA Weekly. The site recommended instructor Princess Farhana's "witty repartee (and Hollywood rock-scene anecdotes)," and described the predominantly female atmosphere as "always encouraging, never intimidating." The crew teaches classes including classic and tribal-style bellydance, Bollywood, and cutting-edge dance fitness such as Bellyquake and E5.