Classes in Berkeley, Ca.

Drop-in Classes at the Salimpour School

Suhaila Salimpour Format, Level 1

Tuesdays, 7pm - 8:30pm, ongoing.

No experience necessary! Learn the foundations of belly dance in this fun and challenging weekly class! Every week is a different hip movement, and we always focus on strength, conditioning, musicality, technique, and top it all off with a fun combination. Can't make it on Tuesday evenings? We have an additional Suhaila Format Level 1 class on Saturday mornings, 9:30am - 11am, taught by Parya S.

Jamila Salimpour Format, Level 1

Saturdays, 11am - 12:15pm, ongoing.

Let's dance! Learn the foundations of many contemporary belly dance stylizations. If you've heard of Basic Egyptian, the Turkish Drop, and the Maya, then you've been influenced by Jamila's format. Come learn the roots of it all with us! Suitable for beginners, but familiarity with Suhaila Salimpour Format Level 1 material strongly recommended. Finger cymbals required.

Suhaila Salimpour Format, Level 2

Thursdays, 7pm - 8:30pm, on hold May 25, and June 15-29 and July 6-13. See below.
Saturdays, 12:30pm - 2pm, ongoing.

Our Level 2 classes will keep you challenged and inspired. We work on clarifying technique, musicality, cymbals, and stamina in every class, and we end with a combination to get you dancing. Finger cymbals required.

Special Series - Technique, Stylization, and Choreography

Hard Rock Tamzara Choreography

Thursday, May 25, 7pm - 9pm

The Tamzara is an Armenian folk dance, often performed in a line, like debke, but is counted in 9/8. In the 1960s and 1970s, dancers often performed to a Tamzara as a finale song in the 5- and 7-part cabaret performances in Middle Eastern nightclubs throughout the United States.

This Tamzara is played by a rock band, and the choreography blends Jamila Format, Armenian folk dance, and a little bit of jazz dance. Come ready to rock!

Turkish Oriental Stylization Series and Choreography

5 Thursdays, June 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13
7pm - 9pm

Experience the excitement of vintage Turkish Orientale style in this 5-week series. Turkish Orientale is known for its energy and external movements, as well as its use of rhythms in 9/8 time. In addition to exploring quintessential Turkish style movements, we’ll watch famous Turkish dancers, discuss how this style influenced American cabaret style, and learn a short choreography. All levels welcome! Finger cymbals required.

Oriental Entrance Choreography: Mashaal

8 Thursdays, September 7, 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19, 26
7pm - 8pm

Learn a lyrical, expressive, and dynamic choreography to the classic oriental composition "Mashaal." Perform this choreography on its own or as an entrance to a full belly dance performance. A working knowledge of Suhaila Level 2 material recommended but not required. Bring a veil!

Technique Tune-Up: Level 2 Drills and Choreography Clean-Up

5 Saturdays, September 9, 16, 23, 30, October 7
11am - 1pm

Whether you just passed your Level 1 exam or you're looking for a way to jump start your training, this is the class for you! We'll work on the essentials of Suhaila Format Level 2 technique, and we'll learn and polish the Level 2 Finger Cymbal Drum Solo, required for Level 2 testing. Bring your finger cymbals!

Belly Dance Intro Sampler

2 Tuesdays, October 3 & 10
7pm - 8:30pm

If you're interested in belly dance but don't know where to start... start here! This short and sweet 2-week series will introduce you to the basics of belly dance and get you dancing right away! No experience necessary!


The Salimpour School
425 San Pablo Avenue
Albany, CA, 94706

For more information, visit


Your first class is FREE! After that...

Single Drop-In: $15

How it Works

Our classes are on a drop-in basis on an 8-week rotation. You can start at any time.

What to Bring

Your body and a positive attitude.

Comfortable, yet form-fitting clothing. We need to see your alignment to help keep your body safe and healthy. A light hip scarf is fine. Please, no hip scarves with beads or coins.

Bare feet are preferred. Ballet shoes, half-sole dance "paws" or "foot undies" are just fine if you wish to protect your feet or have sensitive knees. Please, no socks.

Yoga mat if you have sensitive joints. Some of our warm-up involves being on the floor.

Water bottle. We have filtered water in our kitchen.

Finger cymbals. Three different sizes are available for purchase at the studio, or through