Simple tips to make your Belly Dance learning fun & get more out of every class.
By Shemiran Ibrahim
1. Breathe & feel the moment
Breathe through the movement; keep your attention in your feet, your belly, your pelvis and your breath. Stay in the moment by living in your belly and pelvis, feeling your feet on the ground and sensing your breath flow past your nostrils and your lips.
2. Relax your lips
Part your lips sensually. Don’t clench your jaw or your mouth, stay loose. This will also help you to breathe out of your mouth and in through your nose, allowing for a bigger exhalation through the mouth and a deeper inhalation – refilling and re-energising your every move. Also, keep your tongue connected to the roof of your mouth; according to ancient Taoism, this keeps your energy flowing up and down your body. Try it especially when you are feeling blocked.
3. Let go of tension
Think loosey goosey! Watch yourself in your body; are you tensing up all the time? If you’re not having fun in class you’re missing the whole point. If you stress in your mind you will tense up in your body. Make joy your first focus and some magic will then happen with your movement; it will flow easier and feel better. Beautiful Belly Dance not only looks good, it feels good.
4. Watch your mind
Start challenging your negative self-talk. This is a key to open up a door to your true feminine beauty. Read the Emotional Aspects of Learning Belly Dance to help you on your learning journey.
5. Dance without ambition or competition
As Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi says in her illuminating and heart warming book Belly Dancing; Unlock the secret power of an ancient dance; “Dance without ambition or competition”. Judgment of self and others is such a joy killer. If these thoughts come up for you, pay no attention and shift your focus onto better things, like how it feels to have your feet on the ground, are you holding your posture up correctly, or simply listen to the music and lose yourself in it.
6. Create community
Make friends, don’t isolate yourself in class. Get to know like-spirited women from your community. This will bring bigger meaning to your dance.
7. Dress up
Buy some affordable jewellery to compliment your hip scarf, or a flowing gypsy skirt and any other additions that will add colour and spice and increase your interest. Costuming is a big part of the Belly Dance experience. Feel like a little girl again! Please note that if you wear skirts to tuck them into your waistband so that your teacher can still see your knees and feet; the base of all your movements!
8. Really learn the feet, they are your foundation
Don’t brush over the feet as unimportant. They are your very foundation on top of which your hips and whole body depend, like the base of a pyramid holding up the entire structure. Feel the earth with your feet, live in your feet.
9. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your teacher, it always serves everyone. And remember, you are a paying customer!
10. Soak in Arabic music
Get into the music, buy CD’s and listen to them all week. As a beginner, start with slower rhythms, then graduate to the faster tracks.