Level One: Circle Unit, Class 1
(Because practicing 5 minutes a day is better than even 2 hours once a week)
Welcome to bellydance! This week we learned basic posture (feet under hips, soft knees, zip up your abs, neutral pelvis, tits over toes, shoulders down) the hip bump, hip lift and drop, chest and hip slides, and the Egyptian shimmy. In all of these use a strong leg to control your hip movements with your muscles and do not hyper extend your joints. Straight legs are fine, but do NOT lock-out your knees. Use your glutes and thighs in particular to punctuate the hip movement, and step on the beat. Try to keep your slides flat, and to move just one part of your body at a time. Most important for your practice is to be patient with yourself and have fun!
You can use any music you want to practice to. If you plan to perform you’ll need to learn to follow Middle Eastern music. Youtube is a free source to put on while you practice until you feel ready to buy your own music. For CDs (digital or physical) I recommend buying compilation CDs at first because you get a wider sampling of music types and can find out what you like, but the downside is that you end up buying some songs twice, so pay attention to the track lists and artist names.(iTunes is a good place to start). Also keep in mind that tastes tend to change over time as you hear more music and your ear gets used to the way Middle Eastern music sounds. The student resources section of links on my website has suggestions for starter albums.
I promised short articles each week to give the dance some context. This week: a little about our history and the origins of the dance in the home and a bit about where those Western misconceptions came from, by Shira.
If you've already read that one, check out this article, it's a bit longer, but it explains a bit about why bellydance history is so complicated, and why so many myths surround it.
Since we learned the shimmy today, let’s meet Fifi Abdou. She’s got a reputation for her sass as well as for her big earthy shimmies.
You can see the type of party Shira is talking about here, one of the girls is especially dressed up and really quite good.
We also learned the Zagareet (plural of Zagaroota), the way we did it is easier to learn, but you’ll often see it with the tongue going side to side. You hear it a lot at weddings.