The 8 Elements™ FAQ

What is required to take one of the 8 Elements™ Intensives?

At least one year of belly dance experience prior to taking the intensive. Proficiency in reading, writing, and conversational English is a requirement to attend the intensives as the curricula involves research assignments, written assignments, and collaborating with other participants. In the all three phases, there is homework to be completed prior to the first day of class. Attendees are notified of these assignments after registration.

Feel free to contact us here if you have questions about requirements and expectations.

May I take the 8 Elements™ Intensives without certification?

Testing for recognition and certification is optional at all phases of the training, however, you must pass the test to complete the phase and be eligible for the next one. If you are interested in the material but unsure if the intensives are right for you, you may be interested in just enjoying the intensive and opting out of testing.

Why test and certify?

We provide the testing and certification option for those who would find it valuable to have a public demonstration of the completion of this course's requirements. Many people may find that the increased expectations of their progress encourages them to push harder and achieve more in belly dance, whatever their individual goals may be. These intensives are not about the tests. We see testing as a tool to serve your education and development. 

If I test in one of the phases and have recognition of completion, can I teach the 8 Elements™ approach?

The first three phases of The 8 Elements™ are geared toward assisting you in developing technique and creativity for your personal dance practice and dance making. Upon completion of Phases I - III, you will be awarded a Practitioner's Certification, and may apply for Phase IV, Transmission, our teacher training intensive.  Participants who complete all four phases, projects, and testing, earning the Teaching Certification, will be certified to teach material from the Datura Style™ approach. More information about Datura Style™ can be found here.

What is the difference between recognition and certification?

Recognition is offered when a participant has completed and successfully tested at each phase of the training. Participants will receive a document of recognition and will be listed on this website. Two certifications are offered in the 8 Elements approach: The Practitioner’s Certification, which is awarded after completion and testing in Phases I - III and a Datura Style™ Teaching Certification which is offered after the completion and testing in Phases I - IV, and certifies the participant to teach the 8 Elements Datura Style™ approach. Participants who certify will be listed on the website as having certified as a Practitioner or Teacher.

What is the difference between a Practitioner and a Teacher Certification? 

Not all dancers wish to become teachers. We offer the two certifications to allow for people to focus on how they are most interested in applying the 8 Elements™ approach to in their dance practice. The Practitioner’s Certification demonstrates a completion of study and achievement of skill in the 8 Elements™ approach and the Teaching Certification officially recognizes those who can teach the Datura Style™ approach.

Both certifications will be listed on our official registry at

What are the testing requirements? 

To become recognized in the phases of the approach, and eventually certified participants must:

  • Complete all reading, writing and craft assignments and presentations.

  • Have attended all offered hours during the intensive, no exceptions*.

  • Receive at least 70% on the written exams.

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the fundamental concepts and techniques.

  • Arrange testing in advance and have receipt of fees paid at the time of the test, no exceptions.

  • Pass all practical demonstrations.

  • Pall all final project components

If I missed part of the 8 Elements™ Intensive, does that mean I can't certify?

Yes. A participant must attend all offered hours during the intensive, no exceptions. If you had to miss a portion of class because of illness or family emergency, you can make up the hours in a later intensive to complete that phase. 

I took the 8 Elements™ a year ago and didn't test. Can I test later?

Yes. Participants can test as many times as they wish, within 18 months from the last day of the intensive.  If a passing score is not achieved by the 18th month marker, then participants will need to retake the intensive to test again. 

There is a fee for testing. We have a schedule of set test dates available throughout the year for you to choose from. Written test dates are scheduled on approximately a quarterly basis. Please contact us here, if you are interested in testing. 

Will there be homework?

That depends. Homework and preparatory assignments will be required for those intending to test. Those attending the 8 Elements™ intensives who do not intend to test are not required (but are welcome) to complete work outside of the classroom. The same materials list will be supplied to everyone and all are welcome to participate to whatever degree they choose. 

What study materials will I need?

A list of materials and homework will be provided at least one month before the intensive. 

What should I expect for the testing process?

There will be a written and practical exam in Phases I-IV. In Phase III, there is also a final project component.

If I don't pass, can I take the test again?

Yes. Participants can retest as many times as they wish, within 18 months from the last day of the intensive.  If a passing score is not achieved by the 18th month marker, then participants will need to retake the intensive to test again. 

There is a fee for retesting. We have a schedule of set test dates available throughout the year for you to choose from. Written retest dates are scheduled on approximately a quarterly basis. Please contact us here, if you are interested in retesting. 

What do I get when I pass the test or certify?

  • A listing of recognition or certification on our online registry at which will make you more visible to the global belly dance community.

  • A document recognizing your achievement upon completion of all assignments and passing marks on the tests for each phase.

  • Upon completion and recognition of Phases I - III or I - IV a certificate of achievement as an 8 Elements™ Practitioner or Datura Style™ Teacher.

  • For those who earn the Teaching Certification, they will have a personal link on the online registry at

  • The satisfaction that you displayed a high level of commitment to your dance practice.

What will I receive if I don't test?

The purpose of this intensive is learning in a joyful and supportive environment. The process of learning is the most important process in our intensives, a reward in itself, even more important than the certification process. Some people will use the test as a way to help them learn and grow, and this is its primary reason for being. That said, only participants who complete the requirements and pass the test will receive an official recognition or certification.

When will I receive the results of my test?

Results of the test will be emailed out within 2-4 weeks following the intensive. If you've satisfied all of the homework assignments and passed all portions of the test for that phase, you will receive a recognition document. If you did not pass, you are welcome to test again. Please contact us here, if you are interested in retesting.

How can I stay up to date on the latest 8 Elements News?

If you're interested in receiving 8 Elements program announcements, including scholarships, training dates, and registration details via email, then please join our 8 Elements™mailing list here.

Where can I find information about scholarships for the 8 Elements?

We sometimes offer scholarships for Phase I: Initiation. We announce scholarships via our 8 Elements newsletter or on Rachel's Facebook page.

Can I take Phases i & II together?

Generally, we require that participants complete one phase before registering for the next one. However, we occasionally allow participants to take Phases I and II in a row on an accepted application basis. We have open application periods 1-2 times per year. Join our mailing list to be notified about the next open application period.

Will Rachel Post Her Playlists from the intensives?

RB uses many different playlists. If you ask during class or on Facebook during the intensive, she'll be able to post a link to her playlists. We regret that this option is not available once the intensive is over.