Do you want to learn belly dance at home? Feeling your insides and getting to know your muscles is the greatest way to begin to belly dance, because you focus on feeling your self, which is fun! Belly dance is the sweetest way to love your abs and build your internal body strength. Belly dance only looks hard because we are used to focusing on arm and leg moves to understand a movement. So just shift your focus on your softness, and the SHAPES of the movements and the belly movements will start to feel right and make sense.
The other reason to focus on FEELING your belly muscles as you begin the dance is you will look a lot more seductive and alluring. If you try to do the movements fast when you are just starting out, you tend to look like you are trying too hard and you look like you are not in touch with yourself. Belly dance is all about being in touch with yourself and letting others understand how this feels without you looking like you are struggling or in pain.
Here are five basic shapes that create beginners belly dance moves:
This is the sexiest and simplest. All you need do is feel the joints of your hip, the shoulder and make a circle. Keep the ball of the foot planted on the ground and roll that hip joint, feel the fullness of that joint and pull it into your self. There are so many circles to explore in the joints of the body, just make sure you feel the full circle otherwise you are cheating yourself.
2A. Figure 8 – Hips.
This is the toughest but the most hypnotic. Use your finger to draw the shape of a horizontal figure 8 in front of you. Have your hips follow your finger – do it SLOW. And SLOW down, the slower – the more seductive and the more juice you can feel in yourself.
2B. Figure 8 – Belly Undulation or Belly Roll.
This is the most confusing but the most satisfying. Start by lifting your heart with a breath. Exhale and drop the chest and pull in the belly button as if the wind is taken out of you. Move the belly button into spine and drop the tail and butt. Tuck the tail under and pull in the lower belly underneath your belly button. And start the vertical figure8 all over again by breathing into the heart and lifting the chest. Exploring different ways you can massage your belly organs with this roll is the best way to practice the movement as it is intended to be therapeutic and sensual.
3. The ripple or wave – as used in the “Snake arms”.
This move is similar to the “breaking” move used in hip hop but it is like feeling water flow through your arms. The easiest way is to feel your armpits. Yes! Lift up one wrist, then the elbow and feel the space created by the armpit, like there is golden air coming out of your ribs and the arm is lifted by the golden mist. (Your imagination is everything is this dance.)
4. Diamond (square or box)
The diamond shape or square is how you accent the front, back and sides of the hips, chest and head. You can focus on only doing side to side moves, as with the head slide. Or you can focus on doing front to back moves, as with the hip tucks up and down. Hip tucks lift the pelvic muscles up (front) and soften and release them down (back). The chest lift is also an up and down movement. The focus for the chest lift is feeling the heart lift front and drop back into the center of the body.
5. The “V”
This is the shape used for lifting the heart from the center of the chest up to one side and down to center and then up to the other side. The “V” is also the shape used for stepping one foot forward, then stepping feet together and stepping the other foot forward to shift weight from one hip to the other.
Exploring with the shapes of belly dance will give you a beginner’s vocabulary for the form of belly dance. To dive deeper into yourself I always recommend training with a professional belly dancer as they will give you new ways to explore this ancient art and teach you combinations of movements that continue to challenge your muscles and mind.
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