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.  

 2018 new cycle start dates

  • 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) 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:


Khaleegy Belly Dance  (B+ to I)

Instructor: Sanaz Cordes

Khaleegy Belly Dance is offered Tuesdays at 6pm

Khaleegy is a folkloric belly dance style from the Arabic peninsula and the Persian Gulf. It varies from a playful and lively to a more classic belly dance style. It involves a a focus on footwork, spins, and graceful movements in the upper body and arms. Dancers toss their hair and perform mesmerizing turns. Sanaz, your Persian instructor will share some Persian and Arabic vocabulary and tell you silly stories about the origins of this gypsy-style belly dance. You will learn fun choreographed routines infused with Egyptian and modern pop movements, as well some Khaleegy movement fundamentals in each class...start on day one or drop in whenever you'd like!

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 two rounds of 8 week sessions each (4 total sessions) of Fundamentals of Belly Dance and Burlesque, at least 1 year with another troupe at Dance Life/1 year 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 Fundamentals (B+)

Instructor: Arielle

Burlesque Fundamentals (B+) is offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm. Please see the Belly Dance Fundamentals description to find out when we restart our next session.

Learn the secret to a perfect burlesque grind, bump and shimmy in this 8-9 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 feelin' right!

A round of Fundamentals of Belly Dance before taking this class is recommended but not required. If you're very new to dance, the belly dance series may make the class more accessible, though many enter this class without taking belly dance and do fine. It's at your discretion!

This class is intended to be taken once a week, though you may take both classes in one week if you desire. Both Tuesday and Thursday's classes offer the same material each week. For example, if on week 3 we learn about shimmies on Tuesday night, we will have the same lesson that coming Thursday.


Tone and Tease (I)

Instructor: Kellie

Tone and Tease (I) is offered Tuesdays at 7pm

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:


Livin' Large Dance Party (B+)

Instructor: Marta, Nichole, Donna, Arielle, Tzeitel

Livin' Large Dance Party is offered Wednesdays at 7pm

Step away from the mirror and get into Livin' Large Dance Party- a weekly celebration of fun and movement! This dance fitness class is designed with fuller figures in mind, though any and all body types are warmly welcomed. 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

Saturday's Zumba class will be covered by Move! Dance Fitness by Nichole for the months of June and July. Move! will feature an array of dance styles and music selections. If you like Zumba, give it a shot!

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:  OULA,  Piloxing, Livin' Large Dance Party 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 will be covered by WERQ Dance Fitness for the month of June. 

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:



Instructor: Kim

WERQ will be covering Xabeat on Thursdays at 6pm for the month of June, and will move to Mondays at 7pm beginning July 9th

WERQ is the fiercely fun dance fitness class based on pop, rock and hip hop music.  The warm up previews the dance steps in class and the cool down combines yoga-inspired static stretching and balance poses.  WERQ is taught by certified fitness professionals, so the WERQout is safe and effective. It is a wildly addictive cardio dance class with a pre choreographed workout with new routines made available weekly.  


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 and Tricks (B)

Hoop Dance is offered on Wednesdays at 6pm

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 part 1 of this 8 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!


Hoop Dance 102: Building Your Flow

This second part of this 8 week series will build on how to use the tricks learned in the first session, Hoop Dance 101. We will take the concepts and tricks and integrate them into choreography over the coming weeks! Though some knowledge of prior tricks is helpful, beginner level hoopers-to-be are more than welcome to join! Expect lots of laughs, sass and fun challenges! Glitter, shiny clothing and outrageous get ups are encouraged.


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!