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.
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:
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.