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Belly Dance

belly

Join in on the fun with improvised dances targeting your core. Learn how to isolate those specific muscles needed to move your torso and strengthen your body at the same time.

About Belly Dance (from wikipedia)

Technique and movements

Belly dance is primarily a torso-driven dance, with an emphasis on articulations of the hips.Unlike many Western dance forms, the focus of the dance is on relaxed, natural isolations of the torso muscles, rather than on movements of the limbs through space. Although some of these isolations appear superficially similar to the isolations used in jazz ballet, they are often driven differently and have a different feeling or emphasis, which is usually more subtle and contained.

Correct posture and muscle control is as important in belly dance as it is in other fields of dance, and enables a dancer to move the hips freely whilst avoiding lower back injuries. The basic posture used varies slightly between styles (in particular, the knees may be more or less bent, weight may be held slightly further back or forward, and 'resting' arm position may vary), but a kinesiologically correct posture should always be used. Some belly dancers also study Pilates or Alexander technique in order to achieve a healthy and efficient posture.

There is no universally codified naming scheme for belly dance movements. This is due to the folk/social dance origins of the dance form in the Middle East, and the very diverse range of teaching traditions in the West. Some dancers or dance schools have developed their own naming schemes, but none of these are universally recognised. Many dancers today prefer to use simple, physically descriptive names for groups of related movements.

Movements found in belly dance

Many of the movements characteristic of belly dance can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Percussive movements - Staccato movements, most commonly of the hips, which can be used to punctuate the music or accent a beat. Typical movements in this group include hip drops, vertical hip rocks, outwards hip hits, hip lifts and hip twists. Percussive movements using other parts of the body can include lifts or drops of the ribcage and shoulder accents.
  • Fluid movements - Flowing, sinuous movements in which the body is in continuous motion, which may be used to interpret melodic lines and lyrical sections in the music, or modulated to express complex instrumental improvisations, as well as being performed in a rhythmic manner. These movements require a great deal of abdominal muscle control. Typical movements include horizontal and vertical figures of 8 or infinity loops with the hips, horizontal or tilting hip circles, and undulations of the hips and abdomen. These basic shapes may be varied, combined and embellished to create an infinite variety of complex, textured movements.
  • Shimmies, shivers and vibrations – Small, fast, continuous movements of the hips or ribcage, which create an impression of texture and depth of movement. Shimmies are commonly layered over other movements, and are often used to interpret rolls on the tablah or riq or fast strumming of the oud or qanun (instrument). There are many types of shimmy, varying in size and method of generation. Some common shimmies include relaxed, up and down hip shimmies, straight-legged knee-driven shimmies, fast, tiny hip vibrations, twisting hip shimmies, bouncing 'earthquake' shimmies, and relaxed shoulder or ribcage shimmies.

In addition to these torso movements, dancers in many styles will use level changes, travelling steps, turns and spins. The arms are used to frame and accentuate movements of the hips, for dramatic gestures, and to create beautiful lines and shapes with the body, particularly in the more balletic, Westernised styles. Other movements may be used as occasional accents, such as low kicks and arabesques, backbends, and head tosses.

 

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