Our Legacy

Bellydance Now has an amazing legacy.  It’s roots are based in the Josephine Wise Academy of Arabic Dance (JWAAD) which is one of the longest-established and most respected schools of Bellydance in the UK. The JWAAD Teaching Diploma was established in 1990 and is the only national accredited Belly Dance Teaching Diploma in the UK.

Since it started, it has gone from strength to strength.  It is recognised as being a course of depth and excellence, as the most prestigious and the most detailed course in the UK.

JWAAD has worked with One Awards (formerly OCN North East) to accredit courses, the systems and accreditation criteria have been tried and tested thoroughly.  JWAAD now accredits its own courses using this accreditation process.  You can study the fascinating subject modules that include key aspects of Bellydance technique, expression performance and teaching as stand-alone accredited courses, or as part of a Teaching Diploma.  Bellydance Now continues to maintain the same high standards and is committed to keeping the courses updated and relevant working with a range of experts from around the globe.

Josephine Wise set up the original Teacher Training Diploma Course with Maggie Caffrey under the JWAAD banner in 1990. Their original vision was to raise the level of the dance in the UK by providing training for teachers, who could then pass on good technique and authentic dance styles. Both were dancers and teachers who were passionate about belly dance. Both had trained in Contemporary dance and in dance teaching, so they transferred their skills to the belly dance world. The original course ran for over twelve years before Maggie retired.

Josephine Wise has been a professional dancer and teacher since 1978, and has danced extensively throughout the UK, Europe, Egypt and the Middle East. During the 1980s she danced in the famous London nightclubs including the Omar Khayam, and at private functions and weddings for several members of Arab royal families.

Over the years Jo has choreographed full-length works for and toured the UK and Europe with her dance companies Sharqi, Masriat, and now Johara Dance. She has also choreographed works for the theatre and opera in the UK and France.

Jo’s professional training in Contemporary Dance, the Alexander Technique and Pilates have all informed the way she teaches Bellydance, and have given her a well-rounded understanding of the intricacies of training dancers. Her musical training in singing, clarinet, percussion, world music and jazz has given her a wide understanding of the structure of music and how to express it. Jo is also a professional singer/songwriter.

She has performed and taught at many major festivals in cities around the world, including the Ahlan Wa Sahlan in Cairo, festivals in Europe including Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark, in the USA and around the globe.

Now based in Bristol Jo is focussing on her songwriting, releasing her own albums and writing her memoirs.

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