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Belly Dance Principles - Lower Body

Technique for feet, and the two poses of Belly Dance

 

NOTE: These following technical notes are not intended to be used on their own. They are there to supplement the student’s in-class learning as most teachers do not offer notes, and most students find themselves going home and forgetting what they learnt. Please use these notes in conjunction with a Beginner level Belly Dance course.

Each Belly Dance teacher in the world will teach in her own way, but there are fundamentals and basics that all teachers will cover at some point or other. So please use the following notes to help you elaborate on what you are learning in class, and hopefully help you practice a bit at home before next week’s class!

The Classical form of Belly Dance is known as Danse Orientale and is the basic form out of which most other styles come from. Getting the basics is so important, I can’t emphasise it enough. The foundation of any building needs to be strong so that beautiful architecture can be built upon it. Same with the basic structures and postures of Belly Dance. Please work hard in the beginning to get your feet and your posture right, they will be the foundation that will carry your form.

Belly Dancing Principle:
All Belly Dancing starts in the feet. Generate the movement from the ground up. Connect to the earth and always have your feet in correct posture for the move you are trying to do. You may think you need to generate the movement in your hip, but the real origin of the movement will be in your feet, weight distribution and knees. Get the structure right and the form will look after itself. Like the base of a pyramid, the feet are the foundation that hold up the both the structure of your movement, and beauty of your form.

Basic Feet Postures

There are two postures for the feet in belly dance. These poses can be used on the spot, and in traveling.

On the Flat

Means your foot is flat on the floor, connecting to the Earth, feeling Her energy.

On the Toe

Means balancing on the ball of your foot with your toes firmly grounded.

Fundamental Belly Dance Poses

There are two poses, structures if you like, upon which all Belly Dance movements happen:

The Basic Pose

The Classical Pose

I cannot emphasis enough the importance of getting your feet and weight distribution right. Please pay a lot of attention to this in the beginning.

The Basic Pose – Feet under hips

Feet under hips. Distribute your weight evenly between the two. Feel your weight in the centre of each foot, neither leaning forward nor back into your heels.

Knees released – neither locked or bent, thighs strong holding up your weight.

Both feet always pointing forward, andd parallel to each other.

VERY IMPORTANT: Slightly pull in the muscle that runs across the lower belly, roughly 1-2 inches below your navel, ever so slightly, think 5%. This will save your lower back from injury as it will elongate your tailbone. Your tailbone MUST be elongated in Belly Dance .

Rib cage lifted, shoulders totally let go, head high like a Queen.

The Classical Pose – One foot forward & up on ball of the foot (Toe)

Start in the Basic Pose.

Holding this pose, put one foot out to the front, and slightly to the side. Bend knee.

Bring this foot up on the ball. This is your “Working” side; working leg, working knee, working hip.

Put your weight into your back foot and leg, and keep this foot flat. This is your “Supporting” side. Release the supporting knee, never lock it. Activate supporting thigh to hold up your weight.

Both feet always pointing forward, andd parallel to each other.

You want to feel really centred and balanced.

Thighs, inner thighs and knees together – as opposed to far apart – this adds elegance to your form.

VERY IMPORTANT: Slightly pull in the muscle that runs across the lower belly, roughly 1-2 inches below your navel, ever so slightly, think 5%. This will save your lower back from injury as it will elongate your tailbone. Your tailbone MUST be elongated in Belly Dance

Chest lifted, shoulders totally let go, and head high like a Queen.

Classical Arms: Same arm as supporting leg is up at a 45-degree angle, palm facing down. The arm on the working leg side is at breast level or down with hand pointing to working hip saying “Look at my beautiful hip!”

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This article is an extract from Shemiran Ibrahim's "Belly Dance Student Guide". To read more and download click here.