Our guide to belly dancing
Kristina K

Our guide to belly dancing

First published date October 30 2013 Amended date October 30 2013

We’ve all been mesmerised with their swaying hips and snake-like movements that move so fluidly with the rhythmic drum tunes on the background. Of course there’s also the colourful harem pants, transparent sparkly skirts, hundreds of jingly coins, glitzy hip scarves, yards of silk and chiffon, and expensive-looking bralets. These belly dancers are a sight to behold and if you’re drawn under their spell, why not learn to shimmy and shake on our belly dancing courses? Or if you’re already a keen belly dancer, get on our more advanced courses and learn from the very best. Gain more than just some moves – you’ll feel empowered and sexy!


Different types of belly dancing

There are loads of different belly dance styles and names (take a deep breath); raqs sharqi, Oriental dance, Arabic dance, tribal fusion, American Tribal Style, modern Cairo style, Egyptian cabaret, Baladi, Turkish belly dance, Lebanese belly dance, Saiidi, Khaleegy, Ghawazee, Nubian, Folkloric, traditional Egyptian dance, classical Egyptian dance, Sha’abi, debke, fellahin, Bumbotaya, Hagalla, Pharonic and probably more. Whilst they may be called different names, the foundation of the movements are similar and it’s the music that determines the style. The outfits also vary according to the types of dance styles.


Shakira, Shakira…

Yep – her hips don’t lie! We won’t blame you if the only reason you’re considering belly dancing is because you’ve seen Shakira’s famous hip moves in her concerts. We think she’s really hot too and if that’s inspired you to do the hip bumps, then get on our group workshops and learn some basic steps in a fun, relaxed environment. On some of the courses, you’ll even get to show off what you’ve learned in theatre shows and performances. Now you can live your Shakira dream!


You’re the next Rachel Brice or Carolena Nericcio

If you’re hoping to make belly dancing a career, then enrol on our intermediate and advanced courses. You’ll learn more complex isolations on your upper and lower body, footwork patterns, complex shimmies and choreograph challenging movements. Choose from Egyptian and American caberet with hints of tribal fusion and theatrical belly dance so that you become a master belly dancer. You’ll also learn about the skills and qualifications required for employment in the industry. Props like hula hoops are sometimes incorporated to help with the workouts.


Do the shimmy and belly rolls

Double hip locks, undulations, backbends, figure eights, camel walks, tip twists, arm waves, head slides, shoulder rotations, diagonal ribcage circles... all sound very intimidating? Don’t worry - mastering a few simple movements or just one like the Mayan hips will blow everyone’s socks off! After all, it’s sometimes enough to learn just one party trick! But if you’re a serious dancer, then combining all those moves will help improve your dance techniques and give you an opportunity to learn and share from the best in the industry.


More than hip sways

Belly dance is not confined to those with good figures. As opposed to the wide misconception that belly dancers are mostly young and adventurous, belly dancing is suitable for everyone. It helps build self esteem (those hip actions will make you feel all sexy and feminine), aids in weight loss, strengthens your core and abdominals, and is even a suitable dance for men. Pick up belly dancing and you’ll discover muscles that you’ve never had and make loads of friends along the way.


A little history

The type and style of dancing which we now call belly dance can be traced back over 6,000 years. The early pagan communities worshipped a matriarchal deity and extolled the magic and fascination of the ability of women to create life. The ritual is often linked to fertility dances at that time. The sharp hip movements, muscular contractions and spasms demonstrate strong connections to the body’s responses during labour and delivery. The dances spread from Mesopotamia to North Africa, Rome, Spain and India. It’s believed that gypsies travelled and spread the dance. The integration of belly dancing can be seen in the use of the neck slides techniques which were introduced from India and the transformation of hip shimmy to foot stamping in flamenco dance.

Check out our Pinterest for some extravagant belly dancing costume ideas.  

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