I truly had no idea that asking this question would get such a response! This topic is going to be cut up into a few blog posts because I feel that it needs to be covered completely. This first portion is going to be a more of an opinion piece. I wanted to know what others thought about bellydance certificates and certification programs and here are some of the responses that I received.

– Useful for those who wish to teach professionally. They are something that you can show to a gym or dance studio to validate your ability to teach a class.
– Fitness programs allow you to gear your classes in that way and possibly generate more revenue.
– A certification is a goal to work towards and may allow you to perfect a technique or skill you were otherwise lacking
-To grow and learn as a group with others and know that you all speak the same language or style.
– It allows for a more linear pattern of growth in your dance- there are levels and there are tests at each level.
-Demonstrates a level of committment in learning the dance
-Allows for those who are more serious about learning to have an environment that fosters that. Not just learning for fun or fitness.
-More education and more motivation.

-There is no way to enforce consistent quality. Or the source of the certification is unknown and can’t be verified. Most don’t know if the certification came from a week of studying or a day.
– Does it mean you are a good teacher or just able to teach another’s style
– It doesn’t mean anything to a restaurant or nightclub.
– Not all programs require you to keep up your studies and continue to validate your certification
– Some certifications do not require a test so there is no way to confirm if you have in fact learned all that the certification entails.
-Not all certifications are the same and people can think they all meant the same thing
-It can be a large expense and a lot of extra money when compared to classes or a workshop with someone

I also wanted to make sure that I provided as complete of a list as I could of all of the certification programs out there. Thanks to my Facebook family for helping me with this one!

Rachel Brice: 8 Elements
Datura style
Suhaila Salimpour
Jamilah Salimpour
Zoe Jakes: DanceCraft
April Rose: Bellydance Cohesion
Kami Liddle: Krysalis
Ashley López: Integrated Dance
Amy Sigil: S.I.G.I.L certification and ITS
Karolina Lux: Neo-Bellydance
Sadie: Raqs Flow
Jennifer: Make Me Amazing program
Hadia: Instructor Training
Essence of Belly Dance (not to be confused with the festival in Atlanta of the same name)
Shemiran Ibrahim: Belly Dancing from the Heart Method
FCBD/ATS General Skills and Teacher Training, Sister Schools
Lisa Zahiya: Teacher Training
Belladonna: Sword
Belly Dance Teacher Certification by Correspondence- Certification for Shemiran Ibrahim’s “Belly Dancing from the Heart Method”

Then here are the belly dance exercise programs:

In the next few posts, I am going to delve deeper into individual programs themselves. For that I have enlisted the help of a few of my bellydancer friends who have offered to answer a list of questions I have compiled. Isn’t it great when a community helps one another? Stay tuned!