Belly Dance During Covid

**Always check local and gov guidelines**

**Belly Dance during Covid Your Classes.**

MOSAIC ARABIC DANCE NETWORK: COVID-19: Updates and links for Belly Dance during Covid -19

(last updated 12 Nov 2020)

 Belly Dance during Covid has brought with it all sorts of challenges. Many of us have had to grapple with technology and overcome fears to meet online. We have been finding new ways to dance, to enjoy haflas and support each other.

This article is only guidance to help our members navigate through the information out there and is not meant to be used as advice. *Please refer to government guidelines for information and updates. The article is for the UK with a couple of links for our International members and followers.

  • On July 9th it was announced that dance studios could reopen with strict guidelines.
  • Since then, on July 25th, on this basis, we may also resume our classes.
  • From Sept 24th new guidelines were announced placing the UK into a tiered level of Covid-19 measures.
  • Newest gov update relevant for belly dancers: October 15th 2020
  • In England, the rule of 6 in classes means you can have more in a class *provided the venue allows and is covid secure and if, so *dancers need to be in groups of six within the larger group
  • * BUT check guidelines as they change and vary for different areas and regions …

**Other countries have different guidelines so always check local and gov guidelines for your area.

GUIDELINES For Belly Dance During Covid : the UK

  1. The first: Tier 1 Medium: gov guidelines, GOV ADVICE
  2. Second: Tier 2 High: gov guidelines, GOV ADVICE
  3. Thirdly: Tier 3 Very High; gov guidelines-GOV ADVICE

GUIDELINES For Belly Dance during Covid: with a disability 

  1. Supporting people with disability through Covid, GOV ADVICE
  2. Return to recreational activity for disability, covid, GOV ADVICE

GUIDELINES For Belly Dance during Covid: Scotland

GUIDELINES For Belly Dance during Covid: Northern Ireland

GUIDELINES For Belly Dance during Covid: Wales

GUIDELINES For Belly Dance during Covid: Holland

Corona regulations for staying active during Corona, USA GOV ADVICE

It is essential that all dance teachers and students adhere to strict safety measures should they decide to return to dance.

The Rule of 6 applies to dance classes in all 3 tiers in the UK

*This does not necessarily mean there can only be six in a class, but that adequate provision must be made to ensure safe distancing.

So what can we do to prepare for the future?

Belly Dance during Covid has meant we all need to keep an open mind and prepare to think out of the box

  • Online teaching may be a current need and future trend.
  • *Mosaic Insurance covers our insured members for online teaching.

What if I need support on how to go about teaching Belly Dance online?

Try using Room and Zoom or equivalent for your online classes during covid

Teach online whilst also teaching in-person may help both those who can’t come to class and may help improve your dance business.

What is room and zoom when it’s at home?

Where your class or workshop is taught in a room, it can be a studio or your own home, and recorded on a platform such as Zoom, to share teaching either live or at a later date.

Am I licensed to play music for my online dance classes?

  • Check with PPL and PRS re-licensing for playing music online.
  • *There are temporary music licenses as well as yearly ones.

Where your music is not covered by PPL or PRS.

  • Ensure artists, individuals or societies, give you permission to use their work.

Teaching Belly Dance in the Open Air ( …might be a bit chilly in winter!)

One-to-one and group dance classes may be taught in the open air as long as you use the rule of 6

Risk assessments are essential and should be conducted prior to every Belly Dance during Covid

Do a risk assessment for returning safely under the Covid-19 circumstances. HSE GOV GUIDELINES UK 

  • Liaise with other relevant bodies and ensure adequate provision for safe return to dancing
  • Have a list of “what to do if … ” scenarios
  • Ensure adequate Covid-19 safeguards in place
  • It is vital to keep accurate records

Keep up to date and attend or provide education and training as required by guidelines for recreational activity and sport including Belly Dance during Covid

  • Read relevant information and consider watching videos on dance sites
  • Look at sites like the WHO training for covid-19.
  • Mosaic will put forward some updates on covid on the website and on social media when we see them
  • Do check all health and safety advice before each session so you can answer concerns

Apply protocols for health, safety and prevent where appropriate

  • Put in place contingency plans for the welfare and safety of yourself and others
  • Keep up to date on gov guidelines for a safe return to dance and continued covid safe practices as these change over time
  • Write a plan and conduct risk assessments
  • Consult with others and regulating bodies

Mental Health and Belly Dance during Covid

  • Be aware of how the situation may affect yourself and others.
  • Keep communicating regardless of whether you can meet to dance.
  • Hold online meetups and coffee mornings or dance together online.
  • Communicate: Should you feel that anyone’s health is affected, keep lines of communication open and check appropriate action such as referring to appropriate organisations for support such as their GP.

Rebuilding confidence for Belly Dancers during Covid-19

  1. It may take some time for people to return to dancing
  2. You may feel nervous to do so, for oh so many reasons…
  3. Start by talking with everyone
  4. Encourage others to be open about their feelings and concerns
  5. Consult everyone as part of your risk assessment

Keep lines of communication even if you can’t meet in person

  1. Talk continually… If you can’t meet or dance, keep lines of communication open
  2. Work on confidence
  3. Consider visualizing movement where space is restricted as even that may be beneficial (and even fun!)
  4. Take time and re-evaluate frequently. We are in uncertain times due to the current crisis it is hard to make decisions on what is safe or not.
  5. But… you can work on communication and cohesion with your group, so whatever you all decide,  do it together and meet online if needed.

Practice due diligence at all times if you teach Belly Dance during Covid

 *Keep accurate records and follow gov and gdpr guidelines*

What do I need to be aware of for teaching Belly Dance classes during covid?

  • Check and re-check government and local guidelines
  • Evaluate health status: Are people well before meeting to dance?
  • Take temperature where appropriate
  • Wash/ clean hands regularly
  • Clean surfaces
Practice Social distancing 2 meters or equivalent with safeguards
  • Keep a safe distance from others
Practice due diligence and show you are endeavouring to follow rules
  • Hold accurate records for track and trace (keep for 21 days)
  • Conduct a risk assessment with adequate provision for safety
  • Share information with venues and other service users where appropriate
  • Adhere to gdpr guidelines
  • Follow all local and national guidelines and determine safe distancing in the studio.

Distancing as you dance? Now that is a challenge! How do I do that?

  1. Draw temporary lines  on the floor to guide dancers parameters whilst moving.
  2. Take the opportunity to explore new choreographic devices such as the following: stretch out your arms and visualize a circle. Stay in your circle and dance.
  3. Avoid shouting (always do that!) or raising your voice in class to limit the spread of larger droplets.

Let covid restrictions be a new opportunity to add creativity to your dance

Explore new choreograhic devices
  • Draw a circle around each person at correct social distancing, (2 or similar meters apart as advised) then practice dancing in the circle , facing forward, sideways and back and notice how it creates new dimensions to your dance. Practice one move in this way, it can be quite a creative challenge!
Build your Baladi and weild your Side winder with confidence
  • Focus on Baladi and strengthen technique relevant to your dance style..
  • Maintain correct posture and work on one move over and over becoming more aware each time of how the muscles and joints work. 
Squeeze muscles to strengthen moves for liquid horizontal 8’s
  1. Start (after a warm-up) and squeeze the left of your belly. Release. Repeat on the right.
  2. Squeeze and squeeze those muscles alternately. Go slow… stop, build up slowly!
  3. Then squeeze the left and let the body twist back naturally through the action. Repeat on the other side. Stop.
  4. Continue the move allowing the hip to go back and complete one half of an 8 by allowing the front hip to flow forward through the fact it is not being squeezed.
  5. *Keep hips on a level plain, check in a mirror.
  6. Now finish the 8 by squeezing the other side back. Build up as you warm up and enjoy an oozy flow of eights.
  7. Reverse move for back or forward 8’s, think it through, slowly!
Delicious inward vertical 8’s
  • Do an inward 8 until you have a good flow.
  • Slow down about 3 x! Take one hip out to the side on a level plane, check the mirror
  • Lift up and squeeze in your Kegel muscles as you bring the hip back in and down to neutral. Repeat on the other side.
  • Always visualize and complete your figures of 8.

Limit Travelling or visualize travelling whilst conducting your moves if limited on space in social distancing

  • Try to limit travelling around the room for the time being, but where you can’t physically do something, visualize it.
  • Dance is riskier than some other sports as the room and air is shared, and it can be harder to distance, so extra care must be taken.
  • In the studio, allow one person at a time (or covid assessed safe number) if performing travelling steps.
  • Teach visualization for the positive strengthening of choreography

Whether you love it or not, cleaning takes on a whole new meaning when covid is to be prevented in your class

Cleaning the dance studio: Covid-19
  1. Allow time to clean the room before and after the lesson and to assess any new relevant risks. You may need to talk to the venue in case they charge more for the time (Hopefully not as everyone is adjusting)
  2. Encourage hand cleaning before and after the session and provide handwashing/disinfecting stations to facilitate this. Post “how to wash your hands” information if appropriate.
Supply sanitizer for your dance students
  1. Hand Sanitizer: When choosing a hand sanitizer, check if people are alright with the use of alcohol and be aware of cultural and religious sensibilities.
  2. It may be necessary to ensure there are washing facilities or as a last resort, choose a non-alcoholic sanitizer, read the instructions thoroughly and have a list of ingredients available.
  3. There are some herbal sanitizers out there with perhaps (this is not advice) Mediterranean herbs like thyme or things like lemongrass and tea tree, only use reputable companies and check efficacy carefully as well as potential allergens.
  4. If using an alcoholic preparation, choose at least 70% Isopropyl or 60% ethyl alcohol.
Assess the health of you and your students before belly dancing
  1. Check you and your students are all well before arrival and before entering the dance space.
  2. Do not attend or allow a student to attend if unwell in any way.
How to take temperature checks for belly dance classes
  1. If we are in a level 3 alert on Covid-19, then temperature checks should be undertaken.
  2. Arrive early and wear gloves and a mask and check all temperatures with a contactless thermometer before entering the lesson.
  3. Clean the thermometer before and after each use with a suitable disinfectant. This can be a digital or heat thermometer
  4. Dispose of gloves and mask in a secure bin after each temperature check.
*NOTE re GDPR, taking and recording temperatures

Under GDPR rules it is complex as to whether we can take temperatures and record names and addresses for the purpose of covid and the track-and-trace app is controversial, not least because it is incomplete.  The government has been working hard to improve track and trace. Please read the ICO and GDPR and government guidelines carefully to make informed decisions for it’s use Gov guidelines on sharing information during covid-19

  • *Should I take records of health information for my dance classes during covid?

* Remember it’s a free choice for all to take part.

  • If everyone is happy to give their phone number and contact details and enter the arrival and leaving time, then take details of those who gave permission and who are attending on the day as part of your registration.
  • You can refuse to teach anyone who does not agree to give their information
Follow gdpr guidelines when collecting data for belly dance classes 
  • You must follow gdpr guidelines, let everyone know you will contact them if anyone should fall ill.
  • At the very least, take a name and phone number from attendees, just in case
  • If you hold everyone’s information already, ask them to tick their name on the register
What to do if someone arrives at your belly dance class unwell.
  • If someone arrives and has a temperature over 37 degrees celsius / 98.6 Fahrenheit or feels unwell, they may need to avoid the class.
  • It may be advisable for the person and anyone driving with them to return to their car and drive home.
  • If someone has walked, plan a safe way for them to return home and make sure they will be keeping themselves and others safe.
  • Should a dancer need to go home, follow up to see how they are at the end of the day?
Follow up if anyone is unwell
  • Also, if someone has had to go home, follow up subsequently. If necessary to see how they are and if you need to alert the other class members.
  • If a test and trace policy is in place, you may need to alert the relevant authorities.
  • Check guidelines and gdpr (both) at the time.
Who do I call for covid-19 advice?

Ensure distancing is maintained at all times.

How is Novel Virus Covid-19 thought to be transmitted?

* this may change as new evidence emerges

  1. It is thought that Covid-19 is transmitted through the air by droplets which can be increased with sneezing, coughing, singing and projecting the voice.
  2. Even talking can pose a risk but less so.
  3. In a dance environment, airflow may be a factor as being in the same room breathing the same air for 10 minutes or more increases risk
  4. The virus may also transmit through touching surfaces, or touching your face after contact with the virus.
  5. Some people are asymptomatic.
  6. It is best to assume that you and those around you are all asymptomatic carriers, using this as your point of reference can help you put preventative measures in place. (Check CDC guidelines)
  7. It is worth keeping your allergies under control as any droplets are a potential carrier.
  8. It is only advised to get tested for Covid-19 if you have symptoms or think you have been in touch with someone who has the virus and thinks they may be asymptomatic.
How long does it take for antibodies to show up in Covid tests?
  1. The antibodies are thought to become apparent 1-3 weeks following infection, *it shows if someone has had the virus,  but not if the virus is currently in your system.
  2. There is some thought that people may be able to get reinfected, so antibodies in the system may not mean immunity.

Should I wear gloves for belly dance class during covid?

  1. You may want to wear gloves, it is not advised to do so for dancing.
  2. Be aware that this is not necessary and that wearing gloves can transmit the virus as easily as the hands so don’t think, I am wearing gloves so I am ok!
  3. If you do wear gloves, you can use vinyl or non-vinyl, (this is not official advice, but perhaps consider cotton gloves or even metallic threaded whilst you dance as they might be more breathable).
  4. Gloves are not recommended by either the WHO or CDC.

Should I wear a mask for belly dance class during covid?

  • Wearing a surgical mask is not advised, seek cotton alternatives, why not make your own
  • Should you decide to wear a mask, a cotton mask is advisable when dancing as this is more breathable.
  • The CDC does not recommend wearing an N-95  or surgical mask for dancing.
Advice on wearing a mask 
  • Do not touch the mask once it is in place.
  • Masks should fit snugly over the nose and mouth.
  • Dispose of wash masks at a minimum of 30 degrees after use.
  • Avoid touching your face or face mask unless your hands are clean.
But I’m a belly dancer… I don’t want to wear a plain mask!
  • Why not get a cotton base material and bling it up and/or turn your scraps of material into masks and add a bit of sparkle and pizazz.
Is there anything I should be aware of belly dancing with a mask?
  • Make an assessment of the safe use of masks whilst belly dancing and be vigilant on the health and safety of yourself and others.
  • Due to their nature, masks may restrict airflow and some carbon dioxide may be re-breathed.
  • If you find you are dizzy, getting a sleepy, fatigued feeling or your balance is upset, if you have any shortness of breath, numbness or tingling sensations…stop.
  • Advise all students to monitor themselves and be extra aware to watch out for any issues.
  • If possible, don’t remove the mask in the studio, but try to get some fresh air and remove it outside.
  • If dancing a lot, have several masks.
  • Change any mask that gets wet as it will be less efficient.
Do masks protect you when belly dancing?
  • Whether a mask protects you or not is up for debate, but it may protect others and in a dance or increased level of exercise situation, every caution must be taken.

Is it ok to change when I get to my belly dance class?

  • Change outside the studio, wear your Bellydance clothes under your everyday clothes so as not to change in class
  • Some of us (me definitely) have left the class with a coin belt still on only to find it suddenly jingling as you wander down the high street, now we can do it on purpose!
  • Consider bringing a wrap to protect your belly dance clothes, a great time to dust off those Khaligee Tobes!
What should I do with belongings in the belly dance studio?
  • Remove shoes before entering the dance room as they can carry the virus.
  • Social distance bags and belongings as well as people : )Clean, clean, clean your dance space
  • Clean high impact areas that are touched a lot. Be sure to clean areas that have a lot of contact with people. Wear suitable protective gear whilst cleaning, dispose of gloves etc safely as appropriate.

Can I do floorwork during covid?

  • Try not to touch the floor too much, if it is essential to do floorwork, space people out well and disinfect before and after.
  • Vinyl is the most problematic to sanitize.
  • Wood surfaces also require some thought.
  • Consider buying an alcohol spray of at least 90%. Some floors can be cleaned with a bleach solution,  but not all, so always read floor and surface care instructions carefully.

What do I need to do after my Belly Dance class?

  1. Remove shoes and if necessary shower and change into new clothes
  2. Wash worn dance clothes at a min of 30 degrees when you arrive home
  3. As a minimum, wash your hands when you get in

Is there any support for belly dance teachers during Covid?

  • You may be eligible to apply for a self-employed grant (*second grant deadline October 19th 2020)
  • Our chancellor has put aside some provision for supporting the arts.
  • The Arts Council, Arts Council Wales and Creative Scotland, as well as the government, have schemes to help qualifying individuals as well as organisations and businesses through this time.
  • There are several independent support schemes for dancers more on this as we become aware of these. ( * we will post updates on social media from time to time).

Covid Research and surveys:

The government is conducting research to determine the impact of Covid on cash flow problems for companies in distress (CiD). Consider contributing to this and other research.

Would you like to help launch a survey to determine the need for the belly dance sector? We would love to hear from you.


What if someone becomes ill?

In the eventuality of someone becoming ill, make sure they self isolate, alert everyone in the class and ensure the ill person immediately contacts the correct authorities to help with their care and welfare. Wait 24 hours before cleaning the dance room. Wear protective clothing and dispose of materials used safely. Do not re-enter the dance space for at least 5-7 days.

If needed the authorities may instigate track and trace, for gdpr purposes (check guidelines) people should only be informed that they have been in contact with someone, the name of the person is confidential.

Check current social distancing guidelines

Always check and follow the government guidelines on distancing, temperature checking and what to do if someone is unwell, later falls ill or has a temperature. Keep yourself up to date.

Mosaic Arabic Dance Network and support of members our during Covid-19

Firstly we evolve with the times and look to support our members and the dance community.

Mosaic provide practical support and information updates for dancers during covid

With covid-19 again, changing the face of dance, As we see them to our community. We encourage our members to support each other through this time.

Mosaic publish articles in our magazine and post updates on social media.

Of course, the landscape is ever-changing as are the rules, so the best we can do is to research and share what we can and point people to the government and local guidelines.

There is a plethora of information out there so finding the salient points and sharing them as quickly as we see them is our aim.