Exercise! - Belly Dancing?




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ToutDeSuite
10-11-2008, 08:15 AM
I'm thinking about trying belly dancing for workout variety. Anyone here know of a good beginner DVD?


Diva
10-11-2008, 08:35 AM
Do you have Fit-TV? If not call your provider, It only costs us an extra $5 a month on the bill and they have a show called "Shimmy" that is Belly dancing and they also feature an hour long Belly dancing session sometimes on the "All Stars Workout" show. As for Belly Dancing DVD's maybe try HERE. (http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=belly+dance+dvd&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=1148792261&ref=pd_sl_8b2g4t65n3_b)

Good Luck! I LOVE Belly Dancing!

ToutDeSuite
10-11-2008, 02:32 PM
I'm thinking about getting this one, Diva: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000FSL8WQ/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&v=glance. Do you have it? If so, how would you rate it?


ToutDeSuite
10-12-2008, 01:09 PM
I ordered the Shimmy workout DVDs -- seasons I and II.

Diva
10-12-2008, 01:56 PM
Girl! I am all about The Shimmy!!!!:belly:

ToutDeSuite
10-13-2008, 07:47 AM
It looks like a lot of fun and I love the settings, costumes, music... Shimmy!

Ufi
10-13-2008, 11:57 PM
Any suggestions on what to wear if you're beginning in belly dancing? Spending a lot of money on a costume doesn't seem practical, because what if you don't like it?

teaspoondiet
10-14-2008, 08:01 AM
If you want a fun work out you should try Wii Fitness. as far as belly dancing i know someone who want to belly dancing class.

aphil
10-15-2008, 02:59 PM
Hopefully I can answer some of your questions. I have been involved in Middle Eastern dance since 2000, actively (as in obsessed) since 2001...performing professionally since 2003, and have been teaching since 2005. I teach multiple classes per week, and perform on a regular basis.

~Costume~
There is absolutely NO reason to buy a belly dance costume, unless you are a performer. No reason. I don't practice or teach in my costumes, either-they are for performance only. If you are attending a beginning class, or just doing a dvd at home, wear athletic pants like yoga pants, and a simple yoga tank top or sports bra is JUST FINE.

~DVDS~
Are you wanting to actually LEARN to belly dance properly, or are you just looking for a workout to burn calories? What I would recommend to you will differ, based on what you want. Also, there are thousands of dvds out there...some are geared towards exercise, some are geared towards learning the basics, and others are geared towards professionals. It can be very confusing, especially if shopping at Amazon or somewhere with a lot of choices-because you might not know what you are looking for.

If you are actually wanting to learn to dance properly, I would recommend attending a live class. Nothing beats an actual instructor-who can coach you and tell you when you need to correct or adjust the movements.

ToutDeSuite
10-15-2008, 07:25 PM
Thanks, aphil. For now I just want to learn some basics and burn some calories. I just learned there will be a free lesson/performance in the area in December (I just missed one while I was away on a cruise), so by then I should have picked up a few moves from the Shimmy DVDs I ordered and will know whether or not I want to learn more in class.

raw23
10-15-2008, 08:04 PM
Why do belly dancers have such sexy stomachs? Is it the dancing or do they do other exercise to get their abs?

aphil
10-16-2008, 07:30 AM
Thanks, aphil. For now I just want to learn some basics and burn some calories. I just learned there will be a free lesson/performance in the area in December (I just missed one while I was away on a cruise), so by then I should have picked up a few moves from the Shimmy DVDs I ordered and will know whether or not I want to learn more in class.

Just be careful. I have not personally seen the Shimmy brand dvds or the tv show. (I have been wrapped up in more professional geared dvds the past few years...) So, I cannot give you feedback on how good they are. I will try and check them out so I can give a little better feedback.

If you are interested in a regular class, I recommend visiting the site www.shira.net, she has a very large instructor directory there, and you can look up instructors based upon the area that you live in. If there is not one listed near you, contact the closest instructor. They might very well know and instructor who has not yet been placed on Shira's list. :)

Why do belly dancers have such sexy stomachs? Is it the dancing or do they do other exercise to get their abs?

Belly dancers come in all shapes, and all sizes. What you are going to find in mainstream dvds (like what you might find at Best Buy) or on tv are obviously going to be the ones with the sexiest bodies. However, when you see live dancers, we are all shapes and sizes. It isn't like ballet, where a certain body type is required.

That being said, however, most belly dancers who are at a good weight for their height DO have pretty good bellies. Part of the reason is because if you do traditional crunches, the upper abdominal area is mainly being used. This would be most of the "6 pack" muscle area. However, belly dance movements naturally not only use this area, but the lower abdominal area as well during the movements. Also, it uses the oblique muscles A LOT. These are the side muscles...the ones that go around the waistline and weave into the ab muscles. The back (upper, middle, and lower) are also used a lot during the movements. The entire core is engaged when we dance.

Belly dance also works the upper thighs, calves, and shoulder muscles heavily as well. I can honestly say that my hands and wrists also get a good workout from the hand motions and from playing finger cymbals. Not many other exercises can do that for you. :lol:

So, when you are talking about a dancer who does this professionally, we are doing this dance form for hours per week. It really does change your figure...just like a competitive swimmer might get a large, broad upper body over time from their involvement in that sport.

crazy4eachother
10-16-2008, 09:50 AM
I have fit-tv and tried Shimmy for the first time this morning.... SO MUCH FUN! I know I probably looked ridiculous, but it was great! I'm adding shimmy to my workout at least twice a week.

ToutDeSuite
10-16-2008, 04:50 PM
It's the best! I've been doing it to youtube and can't wait to get my DVDs!

iriswhispers
10-16-2008, 05:05 PM
tie a big scarf around your hips... it makes me feel pretty when i'm shaking them! (if you want to go all out, get one with beads so you can make them shake, too).

Ufi
10-16-2008, 10:36 PM
Oh, I can't imagine performing, but I did think it might be a fun exercise. Winter is here, and the treadmill can get so boring.

aphil
10-17-2008, 07:03 AM
Be careful of the YouTube videos...there are a lot of "bedroom belly dancers" on there. Be careful who you decided to learn from, especially on YouTube.

(Meaning, a girl who took 2 lessons, and videotapes herself dancing in her bedroom, saying that she is a belly dancer so that people will leave her comments...)

aphil
10-17-2008, 07:07 AM
I found this clip on YouTube of the Shimmy tv show...and I have a question...do they actually INSTRUCT you on how to do these movements??

In this clip they are going through them in a routine, but they aren't instructing anything on proper form or how to properly execute the movement. Also, what they are calling a belly roll in this clip, is actually a camel walk. They aren't doing a belly roll at all...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjirfzoA38g

ToutDeSuite
10-17-2008, 10:28 AM
Hi aphil! I ordered the Shimmy DVDs but they haven't yet arrived, so I can't comment on whether or not they provide instruction. All I know is it's fun trying and the time flies by when I'm doing it.

I'll let you know once I get the videos if they provide instruction. I know I'd never learn some of the moves without it (e.g., what they call in the youtube clips a 3/4 shimmy). I'm definitely interested in learning more. So once I get the DVDs, I'll go from there.

I've had an empty nest for over 2 years now and I'm single, so I've been trying to find something I like to do. I'm not into the bar/club scene, and right now, this really interests me! A real first for me! I just hope it keeps my interest!

How long after you began taking lessons did it take for you to feel like you could actually belly dance, aphil? How often do you go to class?

aphil
10-17-2008, 11:51 AM
I'll let you know once I get the videos if they provide instruction. I know I'd never learn some of the moves without it (e.g., what they call in the youtube clips a 3/4 shimmy)....



...How long after you began taking lessons did it take for you to feel like you could actually belly dance, aphil? How often do you go to class?


Well, a 3/4 shimmy is going to be a different move, depending on whether you are doing cabaret styled belly dance, or American Tribal style belly dance. There are going to be discrepancies like that, at times. :lol:


As far as how long did it take me before I felt like I could do it...I would honestly say that this is going to be different for EVERYONE. I have been dancing for quite some time, but my instructor actually pulled me out of her beginning class, and asked me to perform with her intermediate class when I had only been dancing for about 12 weeks. I picked up finger cymbals and sword balancing really easily as well. The movements as I learned them never seemed "unnatural"...rather, it seemed like I was meant to be doing them.

From a teaching standpoint, since I instruct now, I can say that there are people who are "naturals" and there are people who have to REALLY work for a long time, and very hard, to do it well...and most people are somewhere inbetween. I can usually tell when I begin a new class session, IN the first session, who has a natural talent for it, and who has two left feet (or hips) and is going to have to struggle and work much harder than everyone else. As I said, most people are somewhere inbetween the two extremes.

So for me personally, I did rather well right from the get go, which is what prompted my instructor to have me perform at such an early time period. After that, I ended up attending classes 3 times per week, including a private lesson, and was in her professional performing company within a year of beginning lessons. Everyone is going to be different...

As far as how often do "I" currently attend classes-currently I teach 3 classes per week at this time, but I am working on aquiring a 4th class after the holidays. I teach 1-2 private lessons per week. I also have my own PERSONAL classes, or personal training, a couple of hours per week-where I hone my own skills-I do drills, choreograph songs, etc.

When they come around, I often attend seminars with master instructors-in fact, I am attending one on November 2nd, in Kentucky. (I am in Indiana.)

As far as performance goes, I average 5-10 performances a month. Tonight I am dancing at a Greek restaurant, where I am a regular performer.

SBD Sass
10-17-2008, 11:54 AM
An instructor taught an audience how to belly dance on a talk show and that's how I learned. I do it from time to time but when I do it too much my butt, my hips and my upper thighs get sore. I guess I should do it more often. The key to belly dancing is in the legs and feet. I think a beginner video is good, but like I said I learned from a talk show. I'm sure there are some videos on You Tube you can watch. Belly dancing is fairly easy one you learn how to do it. I thought it was hard because you can't see what the girls are actually moving under their grass skirts.

aphil
10-17-2008, 12:13 PM
Well...I wouldn't say that it is EASY. It depends on what you are doing...and, like any art form, there is tons more to it than you would learn from a single session. You can dance for 20 years and still not know or master everything. There is much more to it than hip shimmies and snake arms. ;)

For instance, once I mastered the basic moves, I moved on to more advanced moves. Once I was adept at sword balancing, then I moved on to doing more advanced moves with the sword balanced. My current thing that I am trying to master, is sword balancing while the end of the sword is on fire. :o

You can keep advancing, just like someone who starts out exercising with 2 pound weights can eventually be bench pressing their husband.


BTW-I wanted to give "props" to my former troupemates. As I mentioned, I used to be in a performing company with other dancers, before I went out on my own as a teacher/soloist. Here is a clip of my former troupemates. If you can, click the thing under the screen, to watch it in high quality, and click the thing to make it full sized on your screen.

They are my *sisters*. I love these ladies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkx1lZTW0V8

Oh...and the grass skirts are worn by the hula and polynesian dancers, not belly dancers. ;)

SBD Sass
10-17-2008, 12:52 PM
Well...I wouldn't say that it is EASY. It depends on what you are doing...and, like any art form, there is tons more to it than you would learn from a single session. You can dance for 20 years and still not know or master everything. There is much more to it than hip shimmies and snake arms. ;)

For instance, once I mastered the basic moves, I moved on to more advanced moves. Once I was adept at sword balancing, then I moved on to doing more advanced moves with the sword balanced. My current thing that I am trying to master, is sword balancing while the end of the sword is on fire. :o

You can keep advancing, just like someone who starts out exercising with 2 pound weights can eventually be bench pressing their husband.


BTW-I wanted to give "props" to my former troupemates. As I mentioned, I used to be in a performing company with other dancers, before I went out on my own as a teacher/soloist. Here is a clip of my former troupemates. If you can, click the thing under the screen, to watch it in high quality, and click the thing to make it full sized on your screen.

They are my *sisters*. I love these ladies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkx1lZTW0V8

Oh...and the grass skirts are worn by the hula and polynesian dancers, not belly dancers. ;)


Easy to learn, not to do...I hurt if I do it too much all in one day.

raw23
10-17-2008, 01:03 PM
Aphil - Are you in that video? It looks like so much fun!! Do you have any videos of your dances? I'd LOVE to see you in action! That sword balancing thing sounds AWESOME!!

aphil
10-17-2008, 01:04 PM
I have a lot of videos and dvds with performances on them...but I don't know how to put them on YouTube, or anywhere where I could link them here. :?:

Ufi
10-17-2008, 10:40 PM
That was a cool video. I can't imagine me ever being so bendy or exposing my belly, but it looks like fun.

There's a place that offers lessons near me. The fall ones have already started, but they'll do new ones in the winter, I think. The idea of going and dancing in front of other people is intimidating, especially being so big.

aphil
10-19-2008, 03:51 PM
Aphil - Are you in that video? It looks like so much fun!! Do you have any videos of your dances? I'd LOVE to see you in action! That sword balancing thing sounds AWESOME!!

I am not in that one in particular. I was with that particular performing company for four years, from 2003-2006, and that video was in 2007. I was THERE, though, just not performing with them at the time. I left that particular group when we relocated.

Like I said, I have tons of videos and dvds...I just don't know how to get them onto the computer. :lol:

ToutDeSuite
10-19-2008, 05:30 PM
Ufi, I don't think you're that big and you're on your way down. Besides, it's your choice to show your belly or not. You can cover up while taking lessons. And maybe one day you'll feel comfy showing your middle.

Diva
10-19-2008, 07:42 PM
I found this clip on YouTube of the Shimmy tv show...and I have a question...do they actually INSTRUCT you on how to do these movements??



Yes. They give you instructions on how to do the movements first and then slowly add on things. I LOVE doing The Shimmy. :) At the end of the show all the dancers go on and do a freestyle and encourage us to do so as well. I'd LOVE to learn to do this professionally! It makes me feel so sexy!

aphil
10-20-2008, 07:46 AM
Ufi, I don't think you're that big and you're on your way down. Besides, it's your choice to show your belly or not. You can cover up while taking lessons. And maybe one day you'll feel comfy showing your middle.


Actually, many styles of professional belly dance costumes do NOT show your middle. There are many folkloric costumes and baladi dresses that don't show the midriff at all. The midriff baring costumes (the fancy bra and belt sets) actually came into play when the dance came to America.


I'll have to take a look at Shimmy and see if it's any good or not. I haven't formed an opinion on it yet, having not seen the instruction. :)

Diva
10-20-2008, 07:58 AM
I was looking for some of the Shimmy shows last night on Youtube and couldn't find any. I found some, but they weren't from the Fit-tv show. I thought maybe I could find some clips of Fit-Tv.com, but none there neither. I know I have to pay an extra $5 a month on my cable bill to get that channel so...

Anyways, whether you have a good opinion of them or not, I LOVE that show. I have about 8 episodes saved on my DVR. ;) It's fun!

Diva
10-20-2008, 08:06 AM
UGH! They have a video HERE (http://health.discovery.com/convergence/shimmy/shimmy.html), but I can't get it to load on my computer. O'well...

djay
10-20-2008, 08:06 AM
aphil- You have me wanting to try belly dancing now! It sounds like so much fun!
I have a bum knee that flares up if I do to much high impact stuff. Would beely dancing be considered low impact?

aphil
10-20-2008, 08:13 AM
Belly dance is low to NON impact, depending on what you are doing. There is really no stomping, jumping, etc.

However...you do use your knees a lot, and the basic dance posture that you stand in 95% of the time is with bent knees. Even though it is low to non impact, there is this issue. Are you able to do lunges and squats with your bum knee? Think of the dance posture as almost a mini squat, as far as the knees are concerned...

aphil
10-20-2008, 08:15 AM
Oh....I also wanted to add, that if you have a bad knee, then don't EVER do belly dance floorwork moves!!!!

jahjah1223
10-20-2008, 11:18 PM
Ive been belly dancing for about 3 years and its made my waist VERY tiny lol

ToutDeSuite
10-23-2008, 09:18 AM
I got my Shimmy DVDs (seasons I and II) and they do provide detailed instruction and practice before going into the dance workout. It's so much fun and I love the music! If I decide I want to get serious, I'll think about taking classes.

What would be considered dance floorwor moves, aphil?

ToutDeSuite
10-23-2008, 09:19 AM
Are those workout outfits cute on Shimmy! And I love the costumes! Maybe one day when I get that tiny waist, I can be a belly dancer for Halloween!

aphil
10-23-2008, 10:05 AM
What would be considered dance floorwor moves, aphil?


Any of the dance moves where you are down on the floor, rather than in a standing position. They can put a lot of stress on the knees, legs, and core-and if you have back problems, knee problems, etc. you wouldn't want to do them.

jahra
10-25-2008, 10:42 PM
I have taken ME dance lessons since 1976, it was difficult
to get lessons back then in my area. It is nice to see so many
individuals enjoying taking lessons or learning by dvd.

For a beginner, the series by Neena and Veena is very well done.
It covers lessons slowly so you can see the steps.

Be very careful who you learn from. You need to be taught how
to do the moves safely. The Shira website and orientaldancer.net
are good sites where you can read discussions or reviews on
many of the available dvds.

For individuals who want to perform or teach, the dvds by Susanne
Delvecchio or Hadia (of Canada) are very good.

happy dancing!

Ufi
10-26-2008, 02:48 PM
I bought Hip Drop Hip Hope Bellydance Fitness for Weight Loss featuring Rania. I'm looking forward to trying it.