Suhaila Level 1   •   Jamila Level 1   •   L1 Online Certification Testing

Salimpour Level 1

Suhaila’s certification program provides a well-rounded curriculum to train students to become complete belly dancers.  Dance certification by Suhaila provides students with formal recognition of their dedication to and hard-earned proficiency in Suhaila’s challenging style.  The certification program encompasses the following consecutive levels. Each level builds on the previous level, providing specialized training within a logical, cumulative sequence.  Over the full course of study, students are trained in dance technique, finger cymbals, rhythm identification, history, music, culture, improvisation, performance, choreography, teaching skills, etc.

  • Basics (Level 1)  The Fundamentals
  • Fundamentals (Level 2)  The Next Important Step
  • Intermediate (Level 3)  All the Pieces of the Puzzle
  • Advanced (Level 4)  Performance
  • Teaching (Level 5)  Teaching Certification

Jamila’s certification program provides a strong curriculum to train belly dancers in technique and performance. Dance certification provides students with formal recognition of their dedication to and hard-earned proficiency.  The certification program encompasses the following consecutive levels. Each level builds on the previous level.  Over the full course of study, students are trained in dance technique, finger cymbals, rhythm identification, history, music, performance, choreography, teaching skills, etc.

  • Basics (Level 1) —Introduction to the Format Part 1
  • Fundamentals (Level 2) —Introduction to the Format Part 2
  • Intermediate (Level 3) —Taking it All Apart to Put it Back Together
  • Advanced (Level 4) —Performance
  • Teaching (Level 5) – Teaching Certification

Suhaila Level 1

Level 1 starts with the basics of Suhaila’s format. Learn the skills necessary to develop the physical strength and mind-body connection to continue through the certification program. This level represents Suhaila’s extensive formal training in the structured disciplines of Contemporary and Middle Eastern dance. Due to the unique nature of Suhaila’s format, all new students in the Certification program, whether they are beginning or advanced dancers, begin with L1.

SL1 Training Tools

These resources will help you prepare for SL1 workshops and series.  Although no previous experience with the Salimpour formats is required to take a SL1 workshop or series, we highly recommend that you work with some of these resources in advance to make the most of your workshop or class experience.

  • Salimpour School Online Classes.  Take classes from the comfort of your own home to fit your time schedule. Various subscriptions available.  Learn the warmup, technique, movement breakdowns, and basic dance movement.
  • Level 1 Study Guide.  The Guide is a useful (and highly recommended) outline to help you organize your training and study for the written and practical portions of the L1 Certification Test.
  • Cymbal Jams.  Cymbal Jams, audio download training tools, include over 70 finger cymbal patterns.  The patterns are broken down slowly, then up-to-tempo, explained in both right-hand and left-hand dominant version.  (Includes the original 24 patterns from Jamila’s class finger cymbal CD plus an additional 48 patterns.)
  • New Danse Orientale.  Contains an excellent written breakdown of each finger cymbal pattern.
  • Rhythm ID CD.  This CD includes over 40 Middle Eastern rhythms (on separate tracks).
  • Audio Training Downloads.  Once you learn SL1 concepts, use Audio Training Downloads. Drill Breaks provide a training option that takes under 30 minutes each session (and most under 20 minutes). L1 Drill Breaks help you drill areas in which you need more work. L1.5 Drill Breaks help bridge the gap between L1 and L2.
  • Level 1 Three-Day Workshop.  These workshops are an introduction to Suhaila’s format and focus specifically on L1 material. View the current Workshop Listings for the most up-to-date information on workshops scheduled throughout the world.
  • Learn all SL1 movements (and straddle squats for 2 minutes) for testing.  Movements are done in Home Position, traveling with basic foot patterns, and with basic finger cymbal patterns.
  • Recommended Reading.  Jamila’s Article Book, Middle Eastern Music: History & Study Guide, The Salimpour Belly Dance Compendium Vol.1‘, The New Danse Oriental.  Learn more here.  Start your dance education with history, culture music and dance origins.

About the Exam

Information about L1 and L2 exams in both the Suhaila and Jamila formats is consolidated in one section.  Visit the certification exam page for more information.

Additional Assistance

Finger cymbals and patterns are introduced in SL1, and students begin strengthening the necessary muscles to play correctly with precision.  Training and testing include the following patterns played left and right hand dominant standing in home position and while traveling with basic foot patterns and movements.  A stronger focus is placed on singles and 3s.

  • Singles (quartertime, halftime, fulltime, doubletime)
  • 3s finger cymbal pattern (halftime, fulltime)
  • 3-1-3-1-3
  • 7s
  • 3-3-7
  • 3-7-3
  • Running 5s
  • 3-5-5
  • 5-5-3
  • 3-5-1-3
  • 3-1-5-3
  • R-L-RL
Congratulations.  After you pass the SL1 Certification Test, there is still more to learn! Here is information to help you move forward with your training.

Certificates.  Each dancer has a personally prepared certificate which will be mailed upon its completion. Certificates take several weeks to produce, up to 12 weeks or more in some cases. A more typical time frame is 6-8 weeks.

Resources for Further Training

  • Salimpour Online Classes. A subscription gives you access to over over 300 hours of classes including Level 1, Level 2, Dance Movement, Folkloric Fusion, and more. Obtain 5 CECs by paying for a full year in one payment.
  • Drill Breaks: Audio Training Downloads. Options include Level 1, Level 1.5, Level 2, and Level 2+.
  • Level 2 Finger Cymbal Drum Solo Choreography Subscription. Review the required choreography for L2 with L hand dominant cymbals.
  • Jamila Level 1 training and certification.
  • Daily Twitter Drills. Take a minute every day to focus on the format.
  • Our main website has a lot of information. Read through the certification section carefully to get a better idea of the overall program.
  • The Resources page of this website provides additional tools.

Maintaining Your Certification

  • Your certification is valid for two years.
  • To maintain L1 certification, you 1) must accumulate 20 Continuing Education Credits (CECs) before the certification expiration (two years) and submit a renewal fee; or 2) you may test successfully for a higher level.
  • CECs may be accrued by taking any workshops or classes taught by Suhaila or by officially licensed instructors.

SL1 Testing Options

Whether you are interested in certification or just want to learn about Suhaila’s format, SL1 3-day workshops and series are an excellent introduction.  SL1 3-day workshops and SL1 Class series focus specifically on presenting the content and training needed for SL1 certification and understanding the fundamentals of the Salimpour program.  These workshops and series are taught by Suhaila or by her authorized instructors.  Click here for current options.

To prepare for a SL1 Workshop or Series:

  • Use the training tools provided on this page.
  • Review How to Prepare for a Workshop, What to Bring, and Studio Rules found in the Workshop About page.
  • You are encouraged to arrive early and warm-up prior to class.
  • Suhaila often runs over the allotted teaching time. Please plan accordingly and allow for maximum flexibility in your timing to take advantage of unique events and opportunities.
  • Bring finger cymbals, ballet or jazz shoes, hand towel, refillable water bottle, and deodorant to reapply as necessary.
  • If you are traveling from out of town, visit the Travel page for information about location, housing, and transportation.
  • For more about the exam and what to expect, visit the exam section in the Certification dropdown menu.

Jamila Level 1

In Jamila L1, students learn the basics of the format: step families, dance history, and finger cymbal work. Learning tools, workshop information, testing details, and a list of the covered steps, cymbals, etc. are provided in this section.

JL1 Training Tools

Salimpour School Online Classes.  Take classes from the comfort of your very own home, wherever you live, to fit your time schedule. Various subscriptions available.

The New Danse Oriental Manual. Explanation of step families and moves.

SL1 Study Guide.  Knowledge of Suhaila Level 1 material is required including breakdown of movements by muscle contractions, foot positions, arm positions, foot patterns, etc.

Cymbal Jams.  Cymbal Jams, audio download training tools, include over 70 finger cymbal patterns.  The patterns are broken down slowly, then up-to-tempo, explained in both right-hand and left-hand dominant version.  (Includes the original 24 patterns from Jamila’s class finger cymbal CD plus an additional 48 patterns.)

Rhythm ID CD.  This CD includes over 40 Middle Eastern rhythms (on separate tracks).

Level 1 Three-Day Workshop.  These workshops are an introduction to Jamila’s format and focus specifically on L1 material. View the current Workshop Listings for the most up-to-date information on workshops scheduled throughout the world.

Many Tribes Article. Read “From Many Tribes: The Origins of Bal Anat” by Jamila Salimpour.

ICMED Speech. Read the Speech presented by Jamila Salimpour at the International Conference on Middle Eastern Dance, May 1997.

Steps, Step Families, and Finger Cymbal Patterns. View the JL1 Steps tab in this section for a list of steps, step families, and finger cymbals covered in JL1 along with arm positions (when applicable).

Additional Assistance.  For questions about the program, requirements, and tools, email the Certification Coordinator.

Private lessons (in person or via Skype) are available with licensed L5 instructors.  Learn more here or email the Certification Coordinator.

Recommended Reading.  Jamila’s Article Book, Middle Eastern Music: History & Study Guide, The Compendium Vol.1, The New Danse Oriental.  Learn more here.  Start your dance education with history, culture music and dance origins.

Specific Steps, Cymbals, etc. covered in Jamila Level 1.
In parentheses are the arm positions assigned for Jamila L1.

Basic Egyptian Family
Basic Egyptian (L1-5th)
Basic Egyptian Backwalk (L1-5th)
Basic Egyptian Walk with Pivot (L1-5th)
Basic Egyptian Walk with Pivot Angled (L1-5th)
Bow Step (default)
Step Forward-Back-Forward (L1-2nd)
Full Spin with Basic Egyptian (L1-2nd)
Open Spin with Basic Egyptian (L1-2nd & 5th)
Pivot Shift Step (L1-5th)
Half Turn with Pivot Shift Step (L1-5th)
Twist Step (L1-2nd)
Twist Step with Leg Lift (L1-2nd)
CCW Pivot Halftime (L1-5th)
CCW Pivot Fulltime (L1-5th)
CCW Pivot Doubletime (introduce) (L1-5th)
CCW Pivot: One Up, One Down (L1-5th)
CCW Pivot with Leg Lift (L1-5th)
Five Count (L1-2nd)
Five Count with Half Spin (L1-2nd)
Five Count with Full Spin (L1-2nd)

Arabic Family
Arabic 1 (L1-5th)
Arabic 2 (L1-5th)
Arabic 3 (L1-5th)
Arabic 4 (L1-5th)

Running Choo-Choo Family
Running Choo Choo (L1-4th)
4 Forward, 4 Back (L1-4th)
2 Forward, 2 Back (L1-4th)
1 Forward, 1 Back (L1-4th)
Forward, Middle, Middle Back (L1-4th)
Zenouba (default)

Shimmy Family
Singles on the Up halftime (One Ups) (L1-5th)
Singles on the Up fulltime (Two Ups) (L1-5th)

Taqsim Family
Basic Taqsim (L1-5th)
Reverse Basic Taqsim (L1-5th)
Maya (L1-2nd)
Reverse Maya (L1-2nd)
Circle Step (L1-2nd)
Crescent Step (L1-2nd)

Spins
Three Step Turn (Full Spin) (L1-2nd)
Open Spin (L1-2nd)
Basic 4/4 Spin (L1-2nd)
Spinning in 2/4 (L1-2nd)

Head Movements
Forward, Forward (default)
Side, Side (default)
Around, Around (default)
Crescent (default)

Cymbals
All finger cymbal patterns to be played right and left hand dominant.
Alternating Singles: quartertime, halftime, fulltime
3s (Longa): halftime, fulltime
3-1-3-1-3
7s
3-3-7
3-7-3
Running 5s
3-5-5
5-5-3
3-5-1-3
3-1-5-3
R-L-RL

JL1 Testing Options

JL1 Workshops and Series

Whether you are interested in certification or just want to learn about Jamila’s format, JL1 3-day workshops and series are an excellent introduction.  JL1 3-day workshops and JL1 Class series focus specifically on presenting the content and training needed for JL1 certification and understanding the fundamentals of the Salimpour program.  These workshops and series are taught by Suhaila or by her authorized instructors.  Click here for current options.  To prepare for a JL1 Workshop or Series:

  • Use the training tools provided on this page.
  • Review How to Prepare for a Workshop, What to Bring, and Studio Rules found in the Workshop About page.
  • You are encouraged to arrive early and warm-up prior to class.
  • Suhaila often runs over the allotted teaching time. Please plan accordingly and allow for maximum flexibility in your timing to take advantage of unique events and opportunities.
  • Bring finger cymbals, ballet or jazz shoes, hand towel, refillable water bottle, and deodorant to reapply as necessary.
  • If you are traveling from out of town, visit the Travel page for information about location, housing, and transportation.

JL1 Online Multi-Week Course

New in 2018, we will offer JL1 multi-week testing course delivered through the Salimpour School Online.  Students will be assigned weekly videos, tools, and reading materials for training.  A JL5 instructor checks in regularly to answer questions and provide supplement materials if needed.  Testing is handled through an online written exam and through video submission (students films self executing the practical exam); visit the exam page for details.  To prepare, use the training tools listed in this section.  Testing courses are available for specific dates.

About the Exam

Information about L1 and L2 exams in both the Suhaila and Jamila formats is consolidated in one section.  Visit the certification exam page for more information.

L1 Online Testing Registration

Salimpour Level 1 Online Certification Testing

Online testing available for both Suhaila Level 1 Certification and Jamila Level 1 Certification.

We now offer both SL1 and JL1 multi-week testing course delivered through the Salimpour School Online.  Students will be assigned weekly videos, tools, and reading materials for training.  A L5 instructor checks in regularly to answer questions and provide supplement materials if needed.  Testing is handled through an online written exam and through video submission (students films self executing the practical exam); visit the exam page for more information.  To prepare, use the training tools listed in this section.  Testing courses are available for specific dates.  Note:  Current SL1 certification is required to take the online JL1 certification course.

  • What It Is.  The Online Course and Testing Module is the perfect opportunity to study and test for Level 1 certification from the convenience of home.  There are two sections: 1) 5-6 week online course and 2) optional testing module.
  • Time Commitment.  This course is a 6 week commitment for Suhaila Level 1, and a 5 week commitment forJamila Level 1. Dancers should plan for approximately 10 to 12 hours per week to focus on the course study and related materials. The optional testing module must be completed within 30 days of course completion.
  • Review the Training Method in Advance.  If you don’t already have one, create a free account at SalimpourSchoolOnline.com (no payment information required).  During the course, videos will be delivered to you weekly via your online account.  We highly recommend that you use the free 3-day trial to test out the classes to determine if this learning method works for you.  
  •  Course Breakdown.  The course is in three parts: 1- the multi-week course itself (see below), 2- the practical exam, and 3- the written portion of the exam (distributed when practical portion is passed).   The program follows the Salimpour curriculum as taught in Level 1 workshops.   Each week you will receive limited access to specific and progressive course material through a Google classroom and your SalimpourSchoolonline.com account.  In addition to the videos included in the course, we will recommend optional additional online classes to supplement your training (subscription required).  You will also receive documentary videos, interactive questions with your instructor, and required reading material posted throughout the week.   At the end of the course, you will have the option to proceed immediately to the certification testing phase:  a practical exam submitted via video for evaluation, followed by an online “written” exam.  You have 30 days after the last date of the course to complete the video practical and online written exam.  The practical and written portion must be completed within the 30 days allowed.  No extensions will be given.  The testing phase requires an additional fee.
  • Course Includes:
    • The full L1 course material prerecorded divided up and taught by Suhaila Salimpour following a L1 in person workshop experience.
    • Weekly questions to help start critical dance thinking for future work in the Salimour formats.
    • Personal access to the L5 instructor for questions, feedback, encouragement, direction and check-ins.
    • Video guide links and documentary material.
  • Personal Instructor.  As part of the course, a personal instructor is available to you for direction, questions, explanations, motivation, examples, feedback, and other course study information.  You can also use the Google Classroom platform to load short clips of video if needed to ask questions and get verification throughout the course.
  • Skype Check-In.  Students who study remotely may not have the awareness of whether they are moving or playing cymbals correctly. It is always best to check! We recommend that along with this course and study that you have a check in with a L5 instructor to get feedback on your progress in the course as you prepare to test. You can do this by filming yourself in the areas you need, schedule a Skype private and submit video for feedback. Payments are arranged between student and instructor.
  • CECs.  Each multi-week course (not the testing module) is worth 8 CECs for current certification program members.

SL1 Online Multi-Week Course

Materials to Get:

  • SL1 Study Guide
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Cymbal Jams download patterns for L1 (listed above in dropdown)
  • The New Danse Oriental (Cymbal Breakdown)
  • Highly Recommended:  Online classes membership (monthly, 6 months, 1 year)
  • Compendium Vol.1 (Recommended Reading)
  • Jamila Article Book (Recommended Reading)
  • Additional study materials also listed above in the SL1 Training Tools.

Advanced Preparation and Prerequisites.  Dancers are expected to have completed or be actively working on the following:

  • A minimum of three different classes of each of the following topics:  Suhaila Format (Singles, 3/4s, Pelvic Locks, Squares, Circles, Vertical Figure 8s, Horizontal Figure 8s, Twists).
  • Cymbal Jams download patterns for L1 (listed above in the drop down).
  • SL1 certification is a requirement to sign up for JL1 certification.

JL1 Online Multi-Week Course

Materials to Get:

  • SL1 Study Guide
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Cymbal Jams download patterns for L1 (listed above in dropdown)
  • The New Danse Oriental (Cymbal Breakdown & Step Families)
  • Highly Recommended:  Online classes membership (monthly, 6 months, 1 year)
  • Compendium Vol.1 (Recommended Reading)
  • Jamila Article Book (Recommended Reading)
  • Additional study materials also listed above in the JL1 Training Tools.

Advanced Preparation and Prerequisites.  Dancers are expected to have completed or be actively working on the following:

  • A minimum of three complete Level 1 Step Family series/classes for each Step Family.  Jamila Format Step Families (Basic Egyptian, Arabic, Running Choo-Choo, Shimmy, Salaam, Taqsim, Spins, Head Movements).
  • Cymbal Jams download patterns for L1 (listed above in the drop down).
  • For the JL1 module, you must have a SL1 certification to sign up.