Belly dancing is commonly stigmatized for its use of the exposed belly in dances, however, belly dancing is a dance that uses the whole body, not just the belly. Belly dancing features many different kinds of dance moves, involving arms, legs, hands, and of course also hips and stomach!
Belly Dance Body Positioning
If you want to become an excellent belly dancer you will need to learn some basic belly dance techniques, stances, and moves! Belly dancing requires a lot of effort, energy, and not to mention correct posture! Your back needs to be straight, aligned with your hips, and your chest should be pushed out. As you straighten your back and push out your chest, pull your shoulders back a little to emphasize your belly dance posture and keep your knees loose. You are now ready to learn the first belly dance steps!
Some Examples of Belly Dance Steps!
Belly dancing is commonly broken down into several types of moves including shimmies, slides, lifts and drops, twists, figure eights, circles, and undulations. Check out a few of these interesting belly dance techniques and moves, and then give them a try for yourself!
- Chest Camel- This step is named after the movements of the camel and is accomplished by pushing out your chest, then up, and back down. This pattern of movements completed the “chest camel.”
- Egyptian Figure Eight- The Egyptian Figure Eight move features the hips, where each hip is completing the opposite motions of the other hip. One hip moves downward, up, then returns to the center, while the other hip does the opposite: moving up, to the center, and then away from the center.
- Ghawazee Step (Push Step)- In this step, the back hip is sent backward as hands are placed perpendicular to the floor. This step mimics the motions of a horse.
- Maya Hips- In “Maya Hips,” on hip goes upwards, then down, and then back to the center, while the other hip does the opposite- moving down, to the center, then up. This movement is the mirror image of the Egyptian Figure Eight.
- Zar Head- The head of the dancer moves in circles while throwing the hair. This movement is completed o resemble the zar ritual.
Belly Dance Styles:
Due to the wide origins of belly dancing, there are also many styles of belly dancing. The three main styles of belly dancing come from Egypt, Turkey, and America, although there are also Indian belly style dances as well as many other dances that include folklore.
- Egyptian Baladi- Baladi, meaning “my country,” is a social dance, that when performed by women can truly express the heart. Baladi dances feature pelvic undulations, simple footwork, upward pointing chest, hand gestures, arms in a “W-position,” and pops of the abdomen.
- Turkish Oriental- Turkish dancing is known to date back to the 1400s. Turkish style belly dancing interestingly entertains female crowds and includes torso articulations, hip pops, and shimmy moves, among others. Turkish performs have previously been called chengis when referring to this type of dance.
- American Cabaret- American Cabaret goes by a variety of names including AmCab, Vintage Oriental, or American Nightclub. American Cabaret reigned as king of belly dance in American during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, however, American Cabaret is less specifically defined today. When performers enter the stage in American Cabaret they usually are covered by a veil, which is slowly removed.
Many Styles, Moves, and Exciting Dances to Try!
The few moves and dance styles mentioned here are just the beginning! You can learn a lot more by checking out the dance classes we offer through our website www.dancingmeow.com! If you are just interested in learning a bit more on your own, you can check out videos on YouTube and try practicing beginner dance steps with your friends and family. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!