Hello lovely hoopers!


Recently I've become more and more aware that I lack dance training.  I love hooping and it's a creative outlet for me, but often times when I watch videos of me hooping I see a certain awkwardness or nervousness in my movements.  I think this is because the last dance class I had was when I was in pre-school.


I've always been a reader, writer, video gamer....nothing that required grace or power.


I've decided that after Christmas I am going to sign up at a local gym.  They offer several classes but I am most interested in taking belly dance, yoga and pilates.  Hopefully, after I get used to balancing those classes into my schedule I can start taking classes at a local dance studio.  I would absolutely love to take a hip hop or modern dance class.


The problem is that I don't have a 'dancer body'.  I'm afraid that if I enroll in a dance class or yoga that I will be judged and as such not treated as 'part of the group'.  I know I am a bigger girl, and yes, I would like to lose weight to be healthier.  It's one of the reasons I want to sign up for classes, but I feel like I won't be accepted because of my weight.


Any advice or stories?

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Hmmm I did ballet when I was younger and various other dancing throughout my teens.  TBH, belly dancing helped me the most with hooping. :P


also, I have that same anxiety about going to classes. the last belly dancing class i signed up for, i went to one class and then quit because when i looked in the dance mirrors i felt so huge compared to the other girls. I have bad anxiety in general so it helps when the teacher is super out going. In hoop classes i love it because my teacher is a real looking woman with curves and what not and she is loud and outgoing and just makes everyone feel at home. i find i lose my insecurity when she's teaching and its awesome.


i wish i could give better advice. this is something i am battling as well. I would say go to different studios and see if they have a trial class. it helps to do that so you can get a feel for the studio/students.


also, i found a LOT of body confidence when i took a pole dancing class. it sounds trashy but it is a LOT LOT LOOOOOT of fun and so empowering! hard as hell too! i got a lot of flack for it but i loved it!

Before you buy a gym membership, talk to the teachers and express your concerns.  If they don't treat you and your concerns with the respect and encouragement you deserve, then don't enroll in their classes.  The teacher sets the tone for a class, and if the teacher doesn't treat her/his students with dignity, the class won't be beneficial.


My advice: Don't buy a membership in any gym where you feel judged; it will be a waste of money because you won't use it.  There are good gyms out there, and there are the ones that just want your money and don't care about your fitness.  Shop around and find the best fit for you, your schedule and your budget.


Good luck with it, Nicky!  Keep us posted, okay?

i used to be this 300 pound couch potato with no sense of my ability to dance. then i found underground rave-ish type parties where the "normal" expectations of a dancer's body are not really so much in play. through that sort of anonymous style of dance, i learned how to dance like no one is watching. it's funny, i see in the fire spinning community a lot what you're speaking to so i just started offering a dance expression class at my school for just this sort of "problem" because i believe inside everyone is an inner dancer wanting to get out. the key, imo, is compassion with yourself and not really giving a shit what other's think.

As a belly dance teacher I can tell you that belly dance is suited to any and all body styles.  I think your plan is good!

Hey Nicky~


I don't know about pilates, but the yoga classes I've been in have been very welcoming, regardless of size. A good teacher will make sure you're all taking things at your own pace and pushing yourself to the right level for you, and they'll take into account size and skill and whathaveyou. Just don't worry about looking at what the other students are doing, but focus on your breath and how the poses feel to you (and your instructor, of course. :P)


As far as bellydance goes, please sign up for a class! I was so worried about the same things you've posted, but the bellydance community is so welcoming! When I went to my first class, I was actually one of the smaller ladies there, much to my surprise. Bellydance is just plain fun. Once you're all shimmying together, no one cares what you look like, really. It's all about learning to move. If you can get out of your head and just focus on getting yourself moving and feeling how your muscles react to this and how your balance adjusts to that, you'll be fine.


I'd say that if you're in a class that makes you feel anxious, uncomfortable, or unwelcome, find another place to take lessons straight away. Other than that, please don't let your worries keep you from signing up!

Hi Nicky,

Taking a dance class is a great decision and will help you with hooping for sure! Nobody likes being judged for the way they look. The following classes are geared toward people of all sizes and should be very accepting:


Bellydance (a lot of belly dancers are 'plus-sized')

Hip Hop


I've never taken a pilates class, but in my experience I felt a little too self aware in ballet class my entire life and I was under 100 pounds. It goes with the territory.


That said, if you don't want to go the class route, I can recommend many dance dvds that will help you out. Let me know!:) Happy hooping.

I think your plan is great!  Explain your concerns to a membership person at the gym and they will steer you towards the right classes and right instructor.

Unless your planning on jumping into a ballet class and performing the Nutcracker before Christmas, your body type is fine for all that you want to do.  Be patient with yourself when you run into a move that you can't quite master.  It will happen.

A gentleman showed up in my "very choreographed" multi impact aerobics class last Saturday.  I have one male follower but no one else has ventured into the class.  There's a lot of impact, a lot of lateral movement and a lot of moves that have specific names.  I always tell new people that they're going to learn a new language and will be trying to match their feet up with what they hear.  It takes a few classes, be patient, do your own thing if you have trouble keeping up.


This guy tried so hard to keep up and finally gave in and just went with the music.  We were all going right, he was going left, we were up, he was down, you get the picture I'm sure, LOL.  Point is he payed me the biggest compliment anyone could.  He stayed and exercised, had fun, moved to the music and had a smile on his face the whole time.  He didn't leave.  The class gave him a huge round of applause when we were done.


Point being, a lot of your workout will be all about your attitude and not what anyone else thinks.

You'll be fine!

My advice is to do it anyway!  Dance, girl!  :)


I think that starting out with dance classes at a gym is a good way to go, especially since you're feeling insecure about your size.  It's probably more "accepted" for a larger lady to dance ballet in a fitness class than in a ballet studio.  But if you want to take studio classes, I say go for that too!  :)

Oh I just read that somebody mentioned DVDs, and I second this recommendation.  I first started working out with Yoga Booty Ballet DVDs (especially the Live series), which inform my [admittedly cheeseball] moves to this day.  :)  It's a good series to start with, and is fun and campy and not too intense.  I also like the Masala Bhangra Vol. 1 DVD (http://tinyurl.com/2dpzwtg) as well as the Power and Advanced DVDs from the Zumba set (http://tinyurl.com/259vd65).

I also recommend belly dancing lessons because it is not only a dance but an art form that celebrates the female body no matter the size. it will give you grace and a subltle sensuality and do wonders for your body! WHen I started my weight loss journey  I started back with the basics that I learned when I first got married 31yrs. ago. I was 19. I had 12 lessons  which stuck with me over the years.,and how I wish they had the internet back then! Anyhow, the first 25lbs. I lost I literally shimmied my ass off. The other 25 came from adding the hoop. Belly dancing and hooping are like peanut butter and jelly. Shimmy everyday,,,even for 5 mins. and watch the changes your body will make. it will happen.:)

And video yourself. Even if you never show us. and good if you show us cuz we love to celebrate with you.:):)!!!!


another great exervice dvd and equiptment is a fluidity barre. I have one in my pics.


either way...go rock it!:)

a zumba class might be the perfect thing -easy steps, really full classes so easy to hide, fun moves, available at the gym and a good workout. :)

I danced a lot in high school. I was a bigger girl but I was quite tall to, occasionally I'd get a dance teacher who would pick on me for being tall but that's more because she was used to teaching competitive dance classes. She didn't stop me from dancing I had another dance teacher who adored me for my size.


Don't ever be anxious or nervous or self conscious of your size! ! Traditionally in belly dancing the bigger the better, you need the belly! A lot of the teachers in my town are larger plus sized ladies, but once you know the art of the dance people watch you not because of your size but because of the hypnotizing ways your body can move.


And as for yoga classes, I've done Bikram which is the hot yoga and there are several times the biggest people in the class have not only out lasted me but outstretched me to! None of it has anything to do with size. I'd say take all the classes just so you can prove to yourself what a beautiful person you are and size doesn't matter it's the heart behind it <3


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