What does JWAAD mean?
(and why should I care?)
JWAAD stands for the Josephine Wise Academy of Arabic Dance. It is the largest body in the UK that aims to raise standards in bellydance teaching. A JWAAD teacher is one that has passed the full teacher training course run by JWAAD.
You wouldn't go to a ballet teacher that didn't have some kind of formal training, either from the RAD or another governing body. However, the teaching of bellydance is not governed as strictly and teachers can vary widely in their standards.
While there are many excellent and experienced teachers around the UK that are not JWAAD trained, having a JWAAD diploma is a guarrantee that the teacher has made a commitment to study both the dance itself as well as how to teach it safely.
Both Catherine Bartholomew and Ann Hall are JWAAD trained teachers in Kent and Charlotte Burton is currently studying for the full Diploma. You can find other JWAAD teachers listed at www.bellydanceclasses.org.