Belly Dancing: Basic Moves for Beginners
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Published by TOP4 Team
Any woman built on more generous lines than a catwalk model owes a debt of gratitude to those long-ago Middle Eastern women who entertained each other on boring evenings in the harem, with a spot of belly dancing. Thanks to Hollywood, we’ve all seen how dynamic our natural curves can be when backed with some Arabian Nights music and a chiffon veil.
Belly dancing is such a fun form of exercise that you can now find classes in many towns, and, if you really get into it, with costume-making and performances. Belly dancing includes something most of us never get – flexibility work. Our modern way of life limits us to a tiny range of movement leading inevitably to stiffness, lower back pain and aching joints.
In fact, belly dance (Raqs Sharqi) probably started as a symbolic enactment of giving birth and kept women in good shape for the real event. Its swaying movements ease aching muscles and, when the rhythm speeds up, it’s an energising aerobic workout.
Here are some basic moves, so treat yourself to a tape of Middle Eastern music and get shimmying. Navel-rubies are optional.
DANCING FROM THE CENTRE
Practice each movement several times, then start linking them to create a smooth continuous dance.
Stand with your feet slightly apart, back straight, knees slightly bent. Arms should be by your side, slightly bent with palms facing forwards. Arch your back, tipping your pelvis down. Then contract your buttock muscles and flatten out your lower back, thrusting forward with the pelvis.
Standing with your feet slightly apart, swing your hips from side to side in a straight line, trying to keep your shoulders still.
Now link the movements for pelvic tilts and hip swinging – arch your back, push your right hip out sideways, flatten your back, push the left hip out – so you’ve made a circle. Continue in a smooth circling movement. Vary the sizes of the circle, some small, some as large as you can without moving your shoulders.
As your pelvis thrusts forwards in a tilt, take a short step forward with your right foot. Tilt back, then do two quick thrusts. On the second one, step forward on your left foot. Do two more thrusts and then step forward on your right foot.
As your hip comes round to the right, take a small step forward with your right foot. Complete the circle, then as your hip moves left, take a small step with your left foot. Remember to leave one and a half circles between steps.
Figure of eight
Next, change the circle to a figure of eight – sideways to the right, forward, back to the left, sideways to the left, forward, back to the right. It takes a bit of practice to create a smooth movement.
Suck your stomach in and lift your ribcage so your back is slightly rounded. Push your abdomen out, then in, in a continuous undulating movement.
With your arms out beside you at shoulder level, move your shoulders backwards and forwards fast to shake your breasts.