Class Descriptions

Key for classes:

(B) Beginner
(I) Intermediate
(A) Advanced
(B+) All Levels Welcome

All classes are 1 hour long unless otherwise noted.

To find a class at the right intensity level for you, check our class coding: The code is the letter in brackets next to a class. (B) is for a beginning level class if it is dance-focused, or a low to no intensity (such as Stretch) class if it is fitness-focused. (B+) is the “begintermediate” level class for dance, or the mild intensity level class for fitness. (I) is for the intermediate level for dance, and the moderate intensity level for fitness. (A) denotes an advanced level class, or a high-intensity fitness class.

Bellydance Fundamentals (B)

instructors:  Arielle, Kathy or Sarah

Monday at 6PM and Wednesday at 6PM (offered by Arielle and Mama K) 
Sunday at 10AM (offered by Sarah)

Relate positively to your body with Fundamentals of Belly Dance! Find ease being in your skin and have fun while getting high-quality exercise.

This class is a perfect choice for adults who are looking for a beginning level dance class, or for those who want to work their way up to a fitness class. Throughout the course, we break down Middle Eastern belly dance to its main components. Students will gain body awareness while learning the foundational moves. Short combinations will be introduced with emphasis on having fun while feeling the deep connection between the music and the movement.

Bellydance Fundamentals is offered in 8 or 9-week cycles.  

2017 new cycle start dates:  week of October 29th.

 2018 new cycle start dates

  • Week of Jan 1st, 9 wk session
  • Week of Mar 4, 8 wk session
  • Week of Apr 29, 9 wk session
  • Week of July 1st, 9 wk session
  • Week of Sep 2nd,. 9 wk session
  • Week of Nov 4, 7 wk session

This class is intended to be taken once a week for 8 weeks, though latecomers to the session are always welcome; if you start late, just be sure to take the class for 8 weeks in a row, and you will have covered all of the material for this level.

Please note: You do not need to attend all classes held in one week; we suggest one class a week (or more if your schedule allows, extra practice is always helpful!) and you may jump between the classes as you see fit. All the classes cover one move each week (IE- Week 4 is flat figure 8 week). No matter which class you attend, you will learn the same material over the course of 8 weeks. Each week the same move is covered in the Monday, Wednesday and Sunday classes, and Sunday begins a new week/new move.

Watch a snippet of a Fundamentals class in action, being taught by Mama K and Arielle:

Intermediate Bellydance (I)

Instructor: Arielle, Kathy or Sarah

Intermediate Bellydance is offered: Tuesdays at 6PM (offered by Arielle and Mama K) Mondays at 7pm and Sundays at 11am (offered by Sarah)

Suggested: Previous Experience or Bellydance Fundamentals

In Intermediate Bellydance, basic concepts are expanded upon, and the dancer’s vocabulary of movement is greatly increased. Core technique skills are refined and combinations become longer. Students are encouraged to repeat this level to build the strongest foundation. All classes cover the same material, however each class covers dance movements and concepts at a different pace. We recommend trying out as many teachers as possible!

Unlike Fundamentals, Intermediate Belly Dance does not run on sessions; whenever you feel ready to move on, we encourage you to jump in. Our best recommendation: continue taking Fundamentals after you begin Intermediate to gain the best understanding of the dance form.

Bellydance Intensive (B+)

Instructor: Reenah

Bellydance Intensive is offered Saturdays at 10a and Thursdays at 7p

On Saturday mornings, finish that second cup of coffee, put on your sparklies, and head over to Dance Life to shimmy the morning away. We will work up a sweat with drills, then work through real dances to real songs. Learn by doing….and doing again! We will stick with one song for 4-5 weeks, so everyone can learn. Newer dancers can put their moves into action. Experienced dancers can master the music. Dance. Then dance some more!

While this class doesn't always use veils, you can get a feel for the class here:


Egyptian Dance Exploration  (A)

Instructor: Arielle

Egyptian Dance Exploration is offered Tuesdays at 7pm

Suggested: Prior experience or Bellydance Fundamentals + Intermediate Bellydance

This is an 8 week class designed to push your skills with challenging technique drills designed to up your ability to layer complex movements together, and then build a choreographic tapestry of movement with a routine rooted in Egyptian, Turkish, and American Cabaret belly dance. Explore new ideas to expand your dance repertoire, and create an engaging performance full of nuance and emotion! Full of both sharp and smooth, skillful isolations, as well as dynamic traveling moves, all with lots of hip work. This is an intermediate to advanced level class, previous dance experience suggested but not required. 


Bandari  (B)

Instructor: Sanaz Cordes

Bandari & Persian Dance is offered Tuesdays at 6pm

***This class runs on a rotating 8-9 week schedule, but you may join at any time. Please see the “Fundamentals of Belly Dance” description to find out our upcoming restart dates.***

Bandari & Persian Dance is fun and fitness-eqsue. Sanaz, our Persian instructor, will teach you some Farsi, and tell you silly anecdotes along the way!

Bandari is a type of Persian dancing that originated in the port villages of Southern Iran – along the Persian Gulf. This type of dance was influenced by African and Arabic movement due to its origination in port villages heavily travelled for trade.

Bandari is a lively, fitness-esque type of class that will get your heart pumping!  It is a celebratory chain dance that is usually performed in groups of people dancing in a circle. 

Additionally, our Persian instructor will share free-style dance beyond Bandari, including Persian social dance moves used at parties, weddings, and even clubs!

Students can expect to learn a basic Bandari movement vocabulary, have a mini-Persian language class (ha!), and learn easy choreography that will build throughout the session.

Performance Class (B to A)

Instructor: Arielle

Performance Classes currently offered:
Experimental Burlesque Student Troupe (I) Mondays at 7pm (offered by Arielle)
Semi-Pro Burlesque Troupe (A) Mondays at 8pm (offered by Arielle)
Bellyesque Dance Student Troupe (B+) Thursdays at 6pm (offered by Arielle)

A whole room full of people, clapping and cheering for you… Who doesn’t want to experience that? Get a slice of the limelight in our student troupe performance classes! These classes are a low-pressure opportunity for students who would like to perform in a group onstage. The troupes are also highly recommended for those who are new to town or who are looking to make new friends. Please note that these aren’t drop in classes; if you would like to find out where we are in a routine, please send us an email and we will gladly assist you!

Experimental Burlesque (I)

This experimental burlesque student troupe likes to get weird and sexual! Have a veritable boatload of fun with other ladies from the studio and learn a variety of burlesque routines from sexy chair dances, raunchy floorwork routines to funny routines as male strippers, drag queens and more. This troupe mostly performs for our thrice-annual, just-for-women event called Inappropriate Song Night, and occasionally learns a few family-friendly routines as well. Purchase or acquisition of a basic costume will be required, between $10 and $50 per performance. We strongly recommend a round of Fundamentals of Belly Dance followed by a round of Burlesque Fundamentals before attending this class.

Semi-Pro Burlesque Troupe (A)

Also known as the Trojan Whores, Dance Life's semi-pro burlesque troupe travels the state doing burlesque choreography of all styles with a weird and sexual twist. This class will learn a variety of burlesque-based choreographies- think pasties and thongs,- with the intention of taking them on the road to public gatherings such as the Wisconsin Burlesque Festival and more. This class is for those who are ready to take their burlesque dancing to the next level and make dat money, honey!

Prerequisites: at least one 8 week session each of Fundamentals of Belly Dance and Burlesque, at least 6 months with another troupe at Dance Life/6 months of serious, regular attendance at our other classes with a continued attendance at a technique class (belly dance, ballet, or burlesque) suggested.

Bellyesque (B+)

This class will learn a choreography based usually in either belly dance or burlesque together, and perform in Inappropriate Song Night, family friendly events and occasionally outside gigs here in Madison. The burlesque performances in this class are always clothed, and usually more on the classy or silly side of things. The belly dance performances are offered at a begintermediate to intermediate level. Purchase or acquisition basic costuming will be required, not exceeding a maximum cost of $50 per performance. We recommend a round of Fundamentals of Belly Dance before taking this class, and Burlesque Fundamentals is suggested as well but not required.

All these classes are specifically geared towards performance, so please join if you feel you can commit to attending most classes. We don’t recommend dropping in on these classes as they will often contain material not relevant to those who aren’t a part of the performance. Contact us to find out where we are in a routine and join one of our performance classes to be a part of the fun!


Burlesque Fitness (B)

Instructor: Caitlin and Marta

Burlesque is offered by Marta and Caitlin on Tuesdays at 7pm (B)

PLEASE NOTE: You must be 18+ to attend these classes, or have a parent’s permission

Burlesque Fitness: Follow along to popular burlesque music, including songs like, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Why Don’t You Do Right”, “All That Jazz”, “Superfreak” and more. Follow the instructor in a zumba-like fashion, and dance an hour away without having to learn a routine. So much fun, you won’t know you’re exercising!


Burlesque Fundamentals (I)

Instructor: Arielle

Burlesque Fundamentals (I) is offered Thursdays at 7pm

Learn the secret to a perfect burlesque grind, bump and shimmy in this 8 week Burlesque Fundamentals series. This class is structured similarly to our Fundamentals of Belly Dance class, with a different move being introduced each week. This class covers grinds, body rolls, all types of shimmies and shakes, hair-ography, level changes, walking, posing, posture and more. Get your dance lookin’ right! This class is also a great option for those looking to get the most from our burlesque fitness-based classes.

We recommend a round of Fundamentals of Belly Dance before taking this class to give you the necessary body awareness to properly and safely execute burlesque moves, though anyone may give it a try.


Tone and Tease (I)

Instructor: Kellie

Tone and Tease (I) is offered Thursdays at 8pm beginning 1/18

Looking for a fun and sassy way to get your sweat on and learn some new moves for the dance floor?  Come join Kellie for a half hour of stretching and sculpting followed by a half hour of saucy burlesque choreo designed to work you out and bring out your inner diva.  Bring a yoga mat if you have one.

Adult Beginner Ballet (B)

Instructor: Andrea

Beginner Ballet (B) is offered Wednesdays at 7pm by Andrea

This class is offered on the same rotating 8-9 week sessions as our Fundamentals of Belly Dance series. Please see that class description at the top of the page to find out the next restart date.

Adult Beginner Ballet is designed with the complete novice dancer in mind, but those with experience will still find it a useful tool for refining technique. We’ll cover basic foot and arm positions as well as correct body alignment starting at the barre and then moving to center floor exercises. Students will also be introduced to basic ballet terminology. Through the study of ballet, the student can improve foot and leg strength, speed, and agility, and learn how to use those dangly bits attached to your torso (talking about your arms here!) gracefully. Whether you want to improve your technique in other dance forms, improve posture and strength, or take your ballet experience to the next level (see Kya on Sundays at noon for intermediate ballet!), beginner ballet will help you achieve these goals. Ballet slippers (any color/style) are recommended.

Adult Intermediate Ballet (I)

Instructor: Kya

Intermediate Ballet (I) is offered Sundays at 12pm by Kya

Interrmediate Ballet will focus on Barre exercises and basic ballet floor movements. With this class your flexibility and body awareness will grow. This is a beginner intermediate level dance, we’ll work on everything from feet to hands. If you are new to dance, we recommend you take at least 8 weeks of Fundamentals of Belly Dance or any of our other technique classes. If you already have dance experience, we recommend you give it a try!

See this class happening here:

Chub Club Dance Party (B+)

Instructor: Marta, Nichole, Donna, Arielle, Tzeitel

Chub Club Dance Party is offered Wednesdays at 7pm

Inspired by Fat Kid Dance Party by Bevin Brandlandingham, a body positivity activist, Dance Life instructors Nichole, Marta, Donna, Arielle and Tzeitel will offer a fun dance fitness class geared towards bigger bodies (though any and all body types are welcome!) who might feel left out in more traditional class settings. Low impact and easy to follow, songs will span all genres and will encourage dancers to be comfortable in their skin right now. We’ll turn the dance party lights on, cheer for awkward, high-five for self-care, and have a blast!

Zumba (B+)

Instructor: Melissa or Nita

Zumba is offered Mondays at 6PM by Melissa and Saturdays at 9AM by Nita

Zumba: This fitness sensation combines Latin and international rhythms to produce a workout that is both fun and effective! The easy to follow steps and upbeat music might even make you forget that you are exercising! More a party than a chore, getting in shape with Zumba is appropriate for individuals at all levels of fitness.

If you like Zumba, be sure to check out our many other dance fitness classes which are a lot like Zumba: Burlesque Fitness, OULA,  Piloxing, Chub Club and XaBeat

See a Dance Life Zumba class by Melissa in action here:


XaBeat Fitness (B+)

Instructor: Min

XaBeat is offered Thursdays at 6pm

XaBeat is a dance-fitness program that provides high intensity cardio and toning in party-like atmosphere. The routines are fun, and simple and easy to follow so you can concentrate on enjoining the music, having fun, and getting a fantastic workout!

See a snippet of a XaBeat class happening here:

PiYo – Pilates-Yoga Fusion (I)

Instructor: Kate 

PiYo is offered Sundays at 10AM

**Borrow a mat from the studio or bring your own**

PiYo Strength is a fusion class that brings together Pilates, yoga, and bodyweight strength training. It is set to fun music that keeps the pace of the class, and your heart rate, elevated. What is unique about PiYo Strength is that you can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance all within one workout. All fitness levels are welcome to come connect mind and body through this dynamic class!

Piloxing – Pilates-Boxing Fusion (I)

Instructor: Kate 

Piloxing is offered Saturdays at 10am

**Borrow a mat from the studio or bring your own**

A non-stop, cardio fusion of standing pilates, boxing and dance that will bring out a sleek, sexy, powerful you! Piloxing will help you burn maximum calories, build lean muscles, and increase stamina.

The Piloxing program uniquely blends the power, speed, and agility of boxing with exhilarating dance moves and targeted sculpting and flexibility of pilates. Put it all together, and you have a muscle-toning, fat-burning workout that will make you feel physically and mentally empowered!

Training in barefeet is encouraged, but not required. You also have the option to wear 1/2 pound weighted gloves to increase the intensity of the class.

Watch a class in action here:


Hoop Dance 101: Finding Your Flow (B)

Hoop Dance 101 is offered on Wednesdays at 6pm (4 week session begins 1/24, you may join at any point in the session)

Instructor:  Tazi

Hoop dance is a mesmerizing and sometimes ecstatic form of movement that pairs traditional hula hooping, dance and prop manipulation. It can complement just about any style of dance, giving you the ability to adapt your hoop flow to be truly unique to you. In this 4 week session you will begin by learning the fundamental techniques of hula hooping on your body and manipulating the hoop off your body in the form of various tricks and transitions. This class is geared towards total beginners and novice hoopers alike. Join us for a challenging, fun and engaging session!


Hula Hoop Fitness (B+)

Hoop Fitness is offered Saturdays at 9am

Instructor:  Karin

Hula hoop fitness is a fun and high energy class to get your sweat on with fun music and some awesome people! Low impact but definitely an accessible full body workout for people of all fitness levels.

See a video of a Hula Hoop Fitness class in action here:

OULA Dance Fitness (I)

OULA is offered on Sundays at 12pm

Instructor: Jeanette

Looking for a fun high energy dance fitness workout or another genre to mix into your existing Zumba regime? This is the class for you! A great aerobic workout driven by the upbeat tempo of the charts top pop & top 40 jams. Brand new class & instructor for dance life, stop on in and check it out and see why Oula Dance Fitness is sweeping the nation!


Ballet Fitness (I)

Ballet Fitness is offered on Sundays at 11am

Instructor: Kya

Kya has been teaching Adult Intermediate Ballet with Dance Life for the last year, and has been dancing ballet for the last 10 years with Madison Ballet and Kehl Academy, and now she’s ready to pick it up a notch with Ballet Fitness! With an emphasis on muscle conditioning and core engagement, ballet fitness will help build stronger muscles, increase endurance and strengthen your core, all while making you feel like a warrior. Expect to start class with a set of ballet stretches, then work into movement combos including 2nd position plies, arabesques, etc and elevation combos (kicks, plies, etc), with the second half of the class focusing on strengthening floor work on a mat- please bring one with you. Wrist/ankle weights optional.

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THRIVE Madison Classes & Sessions

Personal and small group fitness - right here at Dance Life!

THRIVE's  fitness trainer, Dre Nichols, designs a personal training plan to meet your goals! 

In-studio small group circuit sesssions are perfect for customized training on a budget!   
Fun workouts with resistance training and weight training circuits.
Groups are limited to 8 or less people.
No intimidating, crowded gyms packed with muscle heads and over 50% lower in cost!

Check out THRIVE Madison's Fitness Page to Learn More!