Don't stop the music

Fiorella Otero on learning jazz and ballet as a grown-up

Don't stop the music
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You might think that ballet and jazz dance are classes you can only get involved in when you’re a kid but grown-up dancer Fiorella Otero is here to tell us that’s just not true.

Sometimes I think I’m crazy for starting ballet at the age of 25. Most people start at five and yet here I am in my mid-20s attempting to do things like grand battements (petit battements in my case) and pirouettes and sometimes I catch myself thinking, So, why am I doing this again? Then I remember that I dance simply because I love to and it’s the things you love to do that require the most dedication.

As an adult, beginning to learn any type of dance form will certainly not be a walk in the park. There’s no doubt it’s easier as a child because what you learn at a young age is easier to retain, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to learn.

It was because of my passion for dance that when I moved to Doha the first thing I did was search for a community and classes I could get involved in. But I soon discovered adult classes are difficult to find, especially in styles like ballet and jazz, which are usually catered to young children.

This year, however, I finally found two places that offer ballet and jazz classes for beginner adults – Al Gheed’s Ballet Centre in Lagoona Mall and Doha Dancers at Yama Yoga Studios in Garvey’s.

Dalida Hafez, who trained in the Institute of Dance, Arts and Culture in Belarus, teaches ballet at Al Gheed’s on Sundays and Tuesdays from 7pm for QR100 per class. She believes that adults should not feel discouraged from learning this beautiful art form.

‘I know that there are people who had that childhood dream of being a ballet dancer, but they just didn’t have the opportunities, so I think that it is wonderful that places like Al Gheed’s are now providing these opportunities for adults in Doha,’ she says.

Most of Dalida’s classes begin with learning basic ballet movements with the support of the barre and then she continues with a sequence of stretches followed by movements on the dance floor without the barre support.

Even though the dance scene in Doha is small, it is slowly gaining momentum. Groups like Salsa N Candela (founded in 2008) and brand new Yamativo Mambo-Qatar are currently busy building a strong salsa community in the country that did not exist five years ago. Today, Doha Dancers is doing the very same thing for styles like jazz and contemporary.

‘We started the Doha Dancers group in September and I never imagined that it would propel as fast as it has,’ says managing director of Doha Dancers Tiffany Ho. ‘There is definitely an interest in dance in Doha and potential for a strong dance community.’

Melissa, the group’s artistic director, teaches jazz dance classes for QR60 on Wednesdays (7.30pm) and Saturdays (4pm) that incorporate her original choreography that’s influenced by styles such as hip hop, contemporary and African. She mentions that their goal is not only to build an interest in dance but to also showcase talent. ‘Every time I hear a song my mind automatically starts to choreograph,’ she tells me. ‘I love showing my love of dance to people and right now we are working on creating a performance in December.’

Melissa has been teaching dance, gymnastics, yoga, and aerialistics for seven years now and been dancing for 15, going from North America to Doha. Her jazz classes begin with cardio exercises and stretches, followed by different jazz moves and by the end of the class her students will have learned a full routine.

Some advice that Tiffany, Melissa and Dalida would give to those interested in dance is to know what your goals are as a dancer. Determining whether you want to improve your technique, get a fun workout, or just dance socially will help you find the right classes to meet your goals.

They also agree that to become a good dancer you have to practise and be persistent. ‘No professional dancer became a professional over night,’ says Tiffany. ‘If that was the case then it wouldn’t be fun anymore. What would be the point?’

It really doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or just looking to improve your existing skills because if you really have a passion for it then now is the perfect time to become part of Doha’s burgeoning adult dance community.
For more information visit for Al Gheed’s Ballet Centre, Lagoona Mall (6610 5857). Visit for Doha Dancers, Garvey’s European Family Club (6617 5802).

Three more to try

Get a taste of spicy Latin flavours in Yamativo Mambo-Qatar’s various salsa classes for QR65 or QR70. They teach different levels so check their weekly updated schedule on Facebook to see where you fit in and then dance your heart out!
Find the group on Facebook at

Learn a variety of dance styles from South America like the samba, cha cha, rumba, salsa, meringue and the Argentina tango on Thursdays from 6pm-7.30pm or Saturdays from 5.15pm-6.45pm. Rates can vary from QR350 for four sessions up to QR950 for 16 sessions. If you bring two, four or more people along with you, you’ll receive special discounts.
Fitzone 46, InterContinental The City, West Bay (4015 8888).

Pretend you’re part of the Gaelic dance scene by having a jig at this fun class organised by Salsa n Candela at eforea: spa in Hilton Doha on Tuesdays from7pm-8pm. It’s QR60 per sessions. The group also offers classes in Cuban dance, salsa and other Latin dance forms, and they often add new ones.
Visit or call 5504 7010 for more details.

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