Dance classes in Doha

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There’s a new ballet academy on the scene that’s looking to become a new artistic hub with a range of dance, ballet and acting classes. Lisa Travell takes a tour with the team at Enana…

It’s every girl’s dream to be a ballet dancer, to don a pink tutu and perform perfect pirouettes. Of course it’s ideal to learn when you’re younger, a tad more flexible and prettier in pink Lycra, but what if you didn’t get the chance then? Maybe you craved a career as a comic, or ached to act but there was no professional tuition to help you fulfill these dreams. What you need to realise is, it’s never too late to experience Enana.

Enana Ballet Academy is the first of its kind in Qatar and is aptly named after the ancient Syrian goddess of love, culture and art. Founded by Jehad Mufleh in the 1990s in Syria, the original dance group consisted of only 18 members. Today the dance theatre alone boasts over 100 dancers and has held productions across the world, and Enana has expanded to include events and production, as well as the newly opened ballet academy.

Situated in Al Maamoura, this is not a couple of rooms temporarily fixed up for occasional use. This is a purpose built dance academy. Spacious and bright, each room has been carefully designed. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors and ballet bars adorn the walls of the studios, and I feel tempted to try a little pirouette as I’m shown round, but resist as I’m not sure they’d approve of my heels on the pristine flooring.

Albina Belova is originally from Russia and is the director of the academy. It’s a position she’s more than qualified for, as along with a masters degree in Dance History she’s also a dance instructor, choreographer and expert in classical ballet, character and jazz dance. ‘We moved here in June last year because of what’s happening in Syria,’ she tells me. ‘My husband started Enana there and we have become very famous in Syria and the Arabic world.’

Enana offer classes for both adults and children, from beginners to a professional level. There’s a host of dance courses to choose from including pre-ballet, ballet, jazz dance, yoga dance, kid’s gymnastics dance, pop dance, oriental dance, fitness dance, music together classes for babies, and even acting classes.

Albina is understandably enthusiastic and keen to encourage all ages to participate. ‘All children and adults have a right to learn, and enjoy dancing. In Russia only perfect people dance and the rest watch. Yes, there are different levels but everyone can dance.’ But it’s obvious her real passion is ballet. ‘That’s our biggest focus,’ she tells me. ‘I was actually surprised by how many adults came to me asking for ballet lessons.’

The academy will be offering professional certification however, Albina points out that if you intend to become professional, you have to put the hours in. ‘It’s hard work. You have to train regularly; twice a week is not enough. If you want to get certificates the minimum has to be three times a week for an hour to an hour and a half,’ she says.

But it won’t all be work, work, work as there are plans afoot to open a café, with aspirations that Enana Ballet Academy will become somewhat of an ‘art hub’. Joel Adams teaches acting at the academy, and he explains their hopes. ‘Our vision is to become an artistic community, where people can come, feel at home, explore, experiment and perform.’

Although the focus is mainly on dance, acting classes are also a key part of the academy’s offerings. Joel is keen to emphasise that mastering acting can benefit all parts of your life. ‘It’s amazing how many things you learn through acting: people get over their shyness, master public speaking, learn to empathise and learn teamwork skills,’ he tells me. As Enana Productions forms part of the Enana Group, they also plan to perform frequent shows. ‘Every class will end in something we can present,’ says Joel. As of this month, current students are working on an original production that will be performed on May 30.

With so many classes on offer, it may be hard to choose, but Joel is adamant that whatever class you select you’ll end up enriched. ‘You’re missing something if you don’t explore some kind of art, it not only helps make us well-rounded human beings, it makes us alive.’

Excited by the thought of ballet classes, I’m practicing my pirouettes and setting off to find something suitable to wear – although I don’t want any Lycra, pink, or tutus.
Ballet@enanadance.com or 6677 7399.

Three to try: ballet classes

IAID, Academy for Dance, Music and Arts, cater for all age groups and run courses in ballet, Indian classical dance, ballroom dance and jazz dance.
IAID, Al Hilal, enquire@iaidonline.org, (4432 0974).

Radisson Blu Hotel offer ballet classes for children aged four to 13 years at the Cabana Club.
Radisson Blu, Salwa Road, lauramarieknight33@gmail.com, (4428 1621).

Yama Yoga Studios offer a host of classes, including ballet, yoga, Pilates and kickboxing.
Yama Yoga Studios, Garvey’s European Family Club, Al Alziziya, and Asas Towers in West Bay, yamayogastudios@gmail.com, (6617 5802).

By Lisa Travell
Time Out Doha,

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