Belly Dancing

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When I think of belly dancing, I see an image of a curvaceous female that exudes an earthy sensuality, a primal sexuality and moves to her own inner drumbeat. I’ve never taken a class or learned any moves but I think I just may work on expanding my hip movement repertoire :)

What is Belly Dancing?

Belly dancing, also known by “Arabic dance” has been around for a while - probably going back to ancient times since the movements are driven from the female form – hips, boobs and tummy. It is a sexy, sensual style of dance that expresses movements with the torso, core, hips, arms and hands. It’s also known as a folk style of dance in some parts of the world and some cultures. There is also “floor work” in this style of dance!

This style of dance is looked at differently depending what country/culture or context it is being viewed in. Some countries make the men and women watch this separately, some cultures look at is as an art form, entertainment and performance while to others it is a social or folk dance that is tied deeply to their culture.

This dance style also uses various costumes such as veils, midriff-exposing tops, harem pants, loose skirts with lots of beads, embroidery, jewelry, sequins and colors. They also sometimes use props such as tinkling finger cymbals. It is such a beautiful and mesmerizing sight to watch!

Watch this absolutely beautiful performance:

The Moves of Belly Dancing

It has a variety of sensual, sexy, earthy movements that focuses on the core and hips such as:

  • A variety of shimmies and shivers
  • Hip circles and hip figure 8s
  • Abdominal undulations (like body rolls!)
  • Hip drops, twists and lifts (booty-poppin’ help anyone?)
  • Moves with the shoulders and ribcage
  • Backbends
  • Head tosses (sound familiar?)
  • Different types of isolations 

They lace all of these together to make the most amazing expression of dance! The moves require a lot of core and abdominal control and strength.

The Benefits 

Some of the benefits of learning how to use your core/abdomen/torso to express movement are strengthening this area as well as the flexibility and strength of your spine. Your arms, shoulders and back muscles get worked as well with all of the arm movements. This is a great way to exercise if you need something that doesn’t impact the joints and you want to get more flexible, tone your abs while learning some super sexy moves.

Use these moves in pole dance

There are some moves like the body rolls in the torso, head tosses and backbends that you can learn in some pole dance styles. Using some of the moves would be absolutely stunning in a pole routine like:

  • Learning what to do with your arms when you aren’t holding on to the pole
  • Lots of hips moves while against the pole
  • A more flexible back to do backbends and other tricks on the pole that require flexibility in your core
  • Floorwork moves such as hip moves while on your knees
  • Better body rolls! Check out Alethea Austin’s body undulations and you can get some ideas.

Try Belly Dance!

You can learn how to in a class at a dance studio or a gym that offers it. Some private teachers may be available in your area as well. You can also learn in the privacy of your own home with a DVD course or a book. Here are some suggestions:

Belly Dancing > Sexy Dancing

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