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with Stephanie Barto



Bellydance is a timeless celebration of the strength, vitality, and beauty of women.

American Tribal style is a unique expression of the creative powers of female camaraderie--we perform bellydance as a "tribe" using a group improvisation format. Though contemporary in its expression, our dance form's roots can be traced to the passionate and exciting folk dances evolved as the Gypsies traveled through India, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Spain. We invite you to join us as we discover and create American Tribal Bellydance ...

Class Attire and Equipment

Ideal student attire is a choli or short exercise top worn with a full skirt, pantaloons or jazz pants that fit loosely enough that you can wear them at about hipbone level. If you don't feel comfortable in a short top, it's fine to wear a one-piece leotard with the skirt or pants. For footwear, we recommend ballet slippers or jazz shoes, but it's also fine to just wear socks.

In general, please avoid wearing noisy adornments (such as coin belts or ankle bells) to class.

You will also need to acquire zills (finger cymbals) when you enter the Intermediate level of classes. These can be purchased through numerous online vendors you'll find on our Links page. I recommend Saroyan for a really nice selection of nice quality zills.

About Session Levels

Even if you have had previous Egyptian style or Tribal Bellydance training, we ask that you start out in the Beginner level class. This is because our format uses moves, stylizations and a group improvisational structure that are unique to our group. The Beginner level focuses on introducing and refining our basic vocabulary of moves, getting acquainted with American Tribal stylizations, and exploring Middle Eastern folkloric rhythms. There is no need to register ahead for our Beginner level class, and there's no specific start/end type session schedule ... just show up and dance :-)

Attendance at the Intermediate and Advanced levels are by teacher approval only. At the Intermediate and Advanced levels, we continue to refine and expand our vocabulary and explore more complex moves and combinations, introduce basic finger cymbal technique, learn to create dances within the group improvisation formats, and add floor work and sword balancing to the repertoire. Strategies for musical interpretation are also refined, and we experiment with choreography and solo techniques.

For information on the above classes, contact Stephanie at 773-975-0242 or via e-mail at starkana@aol.com.

Class Fees

The cost for each session is $9. There is also the option to purchase a discount card good for 5 classes @ $40. The discount cards have no expiration date, and can be used for classes at Lin Shook Studio and Blue Cat Studio.


4057 N. Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL

Beginner Level classes are every Tuesday night, 7:30-8:30pm

Intermediate Level classes are held on Tuesday nights, 8:30-9:30pm.

Yoga for Bellydancers class is taught by Jolie Roberson every Tuesday night 6:15-7:15pm.

NOTE: This location is the private studio of modern dance choreographer Lin Shook, director of Perceptual Motion Dance Co. It's a beautiful space that is very convenient to public transportation ... I hope you will enjoy classes there.

The studio is at the intersection of Damen and Belle Plaine. There is NOT a sign on the building that identifies it as being a dance studio. The entrance is on the SIDE and towards the back of the building ... look for a brown gate, walk through to the next door and you're there :-).

3627 N. Bosworth Avenue - 1st Flr.
Chicago, IL

A Beginner Level Class is available on Monday afternoons at Blue Cat Studio. Class begins at 1:00 pm.

A Beginner Level Class is held every Monday night at 7:30pm.

An Intermediate Level Class is available on Monday afternoons at Blue Cat Studio. Class begins at noon.

RMH Troupe Rehearsal classes are held every Wednesday at 7pm

NEW! A TECHNIQUE DRILLS CLASS is now open at 11am on Saturday mornings at Blue Cat Studio. Open to all levels ... no previous tribal bellydance experience required. This class focuses entirely on movement technique and includes skills that are not featured in the RMH improv vocabulary. CLass will be taught by STEPHANIE BARTO and ELANA BRUTMAN.

Blue Cat Tribe Rehearsal classes are held every Saturday at noon.



Private Lessons in Tribal Bellydance

Private lessons with Stephanie Barto are now available, and cost for an individual is $20 per hour. If you and some friends would like to do a semi-private group class together, the cost is just $5 per additional person. Please call or email me for scheduling and/or further details.

Private lessons in floorwork with senior troupe member ESTHER McCREADIE are available by appointment. Please email if interested...

Student Experimental Workshops

Are you a student of RMH with experience outside the realm of bellydance that you'd like to share? Anything from Kathak to Hip-Hop, or perhaps you would like to get together a group to explore yoga/stretching exercises or ethnic percussion ... any discipline that involves music and movement, ancient or modern. If so, we hope you'll consider hosting a workshop at Blue Cat to share your knowledge. If you have an idea for a workshop, please contact Stephanie to discuss your idea and schedule the space.