About me

Hi – I am Sara Shrapnell and I am a belly dance writer, teacher and performer.

I will be your teacher for this exploration of lesson planning.

I started belly dance classes in 1993, and took the ASMED teacher training course, which I graduated in 2000. For the next three years I worked for ASMED to help other belly dance teachers, and built up a business of 12 belly dance classes a week. I have taught as an independent contractor, for the City, for dance studios and sports centers. Some of those have wanted formal lesson planning submitted ahead of time for assessment – and some have shown no interest in my content! My lessons cover all levels and most styles. My heart is in Golden Age Egyptian belly dance, but I regularly perform Modern Egyptian and American Cabaret. I spent the noughties investing in Tribal Fusion. My students learn about all belly dance styles, from Turkish folk, to ATS, Khaleegi to Gothic.

In 2011 I packed up my UK business and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to further my learning, teaching and performing opportunities.

My first book “Teaching Belly Dance” came out in 2014 and it was followed by “Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage” in 2016, which was co-written with Dawn Devine, Alisha Westerfeld and Poppy Maya. I have also written for many belly dance blogs and magazines, including Gilded Serpent and Taqsim.

When I tell people that I have taught over 5,000 belly dance classes, the most common question I get asked is how do you keep it all fresh and interesting…. The simple answer is planning! Know what your students want, who they are, what they need to cover, what their aims are, where they want to be in a years time, the skills they have and those that they need to work on – and PLAN ! Keep notes of what you taught to whom and how long until it needs to be re-covered. In this lesson I am going to go through the planning system for a number of different class structures, so you can see how my formula works no matter the type of teaching you do. Feel free to ask questions at any point and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Happy teaching !