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You Can Belly Dance!

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I took bellydance lessons and performed, then became interested in costume. The historical relationship of dance and culture is fascinating.

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Take a Class, You CAN Belly Dance!

While a real life class is best, even if it is only introductory lessons, learning via a video is possible, too. It takes a bit more determination to stick with the practice, but whichever way you choose to learn, belly dance will awaken your body.

Western society has stiff movements - we hold ourselves stiffly and sit stiffly, while the movements of belly dance help to encourage flexibility and movement of the body.

Check out the videos and think about joining a local class (YMCA is a place to start looking). Get a few home instruction or fitness videos that will introduce ( or revive) you to bellydance. It is a healthy, mild form of exercise, and classes provide lots of camaraderie.

Willing to try?

Follow the online instruction and pick some at home videos for your big screen to teach yourself how to dance.

Learn to add moves to your own style or master some expert choreography.

— from Me

photo by Minoru Nitta

photo by Minoru Nitta

Good Stretches

and techniques to use

Before ... stretch; after ... stretch.

Any yoga warm-up is good, but if you want a few generic movements try these:

  • Stand tall and lift your arms overhead. Draw them up to the sky
  • Grasp a wrist and lightly pull, bend to the side that you pull
  • Repeat on other side
  • Straighten up, bend slowly to floor, circle up, one side and then repeat with other side
  • Sit on the floor, stretch to try to touch toes
  • Spread legs into V, try to stretch arms straight ahead and touch floor
  • Lie one back, pull knees up and slowly stretch lower back, lower legs slowly

Why stretch and warm up the muscles before dance, or any physical exercise? It improves balance and coordination, as well as flexibility through the increase of blood flow and raising the boy temperature. ( Thus, the term "warm-up"!) This helps to keep the muscles free from injury and maintains optimal movement.

Stretching prepares your muscles to lengthen and can help give a better range of motion.

A proper warm up increases flexibility and blood flow to a given area, which limits the chance of a muscle pull and joint pain.

— Shawna Reed, Exercise Specialist

Learn How, Easily and at Home - with DVD instruction

bellydance-instruction

Learning the Basic Moves

What to wear for practice - Good for class

This list is a basic suggested one, you can wear whatever is comfortable for you. It would be a good idea to add a practice skirt for those dances that use the skirt as part of the dance.

Yoga pants, or belly dance pants and a choli top work just as well as the ballet leotard and tights.

As illustrated by the model, these outfits can be very stylish! But what is most important is that you can move freely in your chosen practice clothing. Most classes encourage the same dance wear that jazz or ballet dancers might wear. Beside moving comfortably, in dance the reflection of your moves in a mirror also help to give an idea of the proper form.

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Choli style top and yoga pants; improvised hip scarf

Choli style top and yoga pants; improvised hip scarf

I've seen stretchy shorts, crop tops, all sorts of comfy outfits -all with the de rigueur hip scarf. But if you have a couple outfits like the one here, you will feel more professional and confident. It helps when mastering moves, to develop that kind of confidence.

bellydance-instruction
  1. Capezio Women's Hold & Stretch Footless Tight
  2. Capezio Women's Tank Leotard
  3. Gold Coin Belly Dance Hip scarf, V-Shape, Tote Bag Included
  4. Women's Hermes Sandal
  5. Brass Zills


Start out with these basic practice clothes and accessories for the full effect of both the movement and sounds that make this a truly fascinating dance form.

The coin hip scarf creates the movement and soft swish of the hip swaying figure eights; and learning to use your zills (the finger cymbals) creates a rhythmic accompaniment to all your dance variations.

Learn to Use Zills

The Most Important Thing: Isolations

Learning to isolate movements in different parts of the body. It requires control and practice, but gives the dance its beauty and characteristic style.

Hungarian Belly Dance Winner

Take Classes- featuring Hungarian Belly Dance Winner - Workshop seminars by this dancer I admire

Whenever a great dancer gives tips- listen and learn. Then dance with them! This video featuring Maya Szekely - Miss Bellydance Hungary shows how even a short workshop can teach alot.

Suzanna Del Vecchio

The Dance Performance

Music and Moves

There are a number of different dance sequences that match specific forms of music.

The introduction

Enter gracefully and quickly, do a few turns and greet your audience through arm movements and by sweeping the front of the stage during the entry. Use your veil, if you choose to, to create mystery obscuring view while you move slowly within it to garner the interest of the audience. You might even begin with a little floor work, getting down to the floor gracefully and gracefully winding back to standing position. But most performers swirl into the center of the stage. The most important part of the introduction is to welcome your audience to your dance and create a spark of interest.

The Rhythms

The pivots on several types of Middle Eastern rhythms.

The beledi is a four count rhythm. It has a short bridge of a double tap.

The tcheftetelli is also a four count with two measures, there are variations of this beat.

Listen and use movements and "freezes" to work with the music. If there is a story or lyrics with the song, be sure to understand them so you can match your dance to the mood of the message.

The taxim is the musician's improvisation, often a solo.

Confidence

Attitude cannot be emphasized enough. No matter what the mood or character you are trying to project to your audience, your level of self assurance are the wings you give to your performance. It isn't the beauty of costume, the shape of your form, or even the technical ability that matter as much as this one component.

bellydance-instruction
  • Instruments of Bellydance Music
    The instruments of Middle Eastern music deliver the unique sounds and driving beats of this world music. Learn about them, from ancient to modern times.

Tips for Drum Solos

Keep it subtle, especially arm movements.

Keep hip and torso movements isolated and sharp.

Variation. Vary the speed of moves, the parts of the body used, the smoothness and sharpness of the moves, and make combination of these while using occasional transitions.

Don't let anyone get bored looking at just one or two things you can do. When they think you are going to do another hip move- swivel your head instead.

Surprise, because otherwise your head doesn't move during the hip isolations.

Experiment with different moves.

Use beaded fringe or tiers of coins to tremble and sway with your most subtle moves.


Put Together a Performance

... an example

You taken your lessons, and practiced your shimmies, hip drops, and snakey arms, but how do you put together your performance? It is an improvisation, but a general line of choreography might be:

Entrance-

Slow and introductory beledi moves- ending with a spin and a freeze- then the taxim and tcheftetelli rhythms to give a full spectrum of isolation in upper and lower parts of your body and belly undulations. Floor work could go in here if you wish.

Transition to a quicker dance to showcase your moves with a swirling finale, or maybe include a drum solo, ending with a flourish, and then your bow. Gracefully exit, with perhaps a lingering look and visual embrace of your audience.

And remember CONFIDENCE, confidence, confidence!

When Performing

Win over your audience with your smile, and your desire to have them enjoy the music and dance as much as you do.

Would you like to learn to Belly Dance? - How would you begin?

Workshops and Classes - Both good options for learning to bellydance

Sadie is a great Instructor - She isolates and makes sure you get the moves

A customer is quoted as saying "I recommend this dvd for everyone, even advanced students need to constantly drill the basic. " and I agree. I like her smooth instruction and pleasant voice. Nice choice of music and the practice is expertly done with plenty of time to get the moves.

Which Style Do You Prefer? Which Teaching Technique? Sadie or Susan?

When I first moved to L.A., I didn't have a lot of money to join a gym or take classes, so I improvised. My sister and I went to the library and looked over their DVD collection and discovered Neena and Veena, these Egyptian twins who have a whole series of belly dancing routines. We did them all.

— AnnaLynne McCord

More about Bellydance

Were you here? - What do you think?

Ilona E (author) from Ohio on August 18, 2011:

Thank you moonlitta for the supportive blessing and "like" you granted me.

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