Exercise! - Belly Dancing for Fitness Club




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Mickey79sf
12-04-2008, 03:28 PM
Hi there!!!
I was hoping that there were some ladies out there that loved to belly dance for their workouts and would like to have some fun with it. I have been dancing for years and i love it. I'm back on the fitness wagon and thought hey why not start a group for women who love to belly dance and who want to chart our results. Doesn't matter if u use videos or take classes. Let's just have some fun, support and Lord knows accountability for staying on the wagon :coach:Any comments on how to set things up would be great. I was thinking maybe weekly weigh ins and progress reports on your belly dancing. BEWARE im far from the best belly dancer LOL but hey its makes me happy. :cheer::belly::D well hope to hear from you guys!!
Mickey


OnTargetforLife
12-04-2008, 04:42 PM
That sounds like great excercise and fun!

Any recommendations on a good beginners video Mickey?

If so count me in :carrot:

Deb

Mickey79sf
12-04-2008, 05:36 PM
That sounds like great excercise and fun!

Any recommendations on a good beginners video Mickey?

If so count me in :carrot:

Deb


HI Deb:welcome3::
Glad to see u are interested :woohoo: To answer your question, my favorite belly dance dvd's are Instructional Belly Dance with Jillina. I put the link at the bottom for ya. I have the whole 3 DVD series for this and I'm just now on lesson 2 lol.. I think u will find that they way she breaks down each move makes it easier to learn. she also sets up the chapters so u can go at your own pace (repeat the parts u need work on with out having to start the whole dvd over :)) I have also used the DVDs from the "Twins" (when u start researching belly dance dvds u will see who i mean lol) but didn't care much for their teaching style. oh and i have also heard that they have On Demand (Comcast Cable) belly dance workouts too. I plan to check that out and see how it is. I'll let ya know. Let me know if u have any more questions :)

http://www.amazon.com/Instructional-Bellydance-Jillina-Level-1/dp/B0001906OA


Mickey79sf
12-05-2008, 12:56 PM
Well, Gotta say, I had hoped for more people to be interested in this :( but oh well, I shall push on even if this starts to look like a blog instead of a forum lol .Last nite I worked on my belly dancing for an hour. I am working with Instructional Belly Dance- Level Two with Jillina. It's been awhile since I last practiced and man was this an eye opener! So, everyday I'm going to try and post tips for learning from a dvd as well as just basic belly dancing tips. weight loss progress will be posted in my ticker and signature. Well hope to have more people join in the fun!
p.s gonna post the tips in a seperate message ;)

Mickey79sf
12-05-2008, 01:35 PM
:belly:BELLY DANCE TIPS FOR BEGINNERS!!!!:belly:
12/5/08

1. Really spend some quality time streaching and warming up!:exercise: Feeling loose and warmed up makes it alot easier to do your isolation. I learned the hard way when I did a figure 8 and felt stiffness in my back:yikes:. My fav forms of warming up, free dancing (put on my fav songs and just cut loose :))and crunches (u use alot of abs in belly dance).

2. Learning from a dvd can be a lil overwelming because it can seem like the video is moving faster than you can keep. But thats why we have a pause button and rewind :lol:. At one point last nite i felt like i was tripping over my own feet trying to do the moves as fast as she did. :idea:So, I stopped, broke down the moves for one combination, and just practiced that over and over, slowly and at my own speed until I knew I could do it accurately and gracefully. At the end of an hour long practice I may have only learned one new combo, but at least I got it down right :bravo:

3. Final tip of the day, finish up by free dancing and adding in the new belly dance moves u just picked up:dance:. It helps to make them feel natural to you and they will become second nature.

Hope these tips are informational and help u in your journey of belly dance and weight loss :goodvibes:

Diva
12-05-2008, 07:35 PM
Count me in! I've been doing the Shimmy from Fit-TV for a while now a couple of night a week. :)

Thighs Be Gone
12-05-2008, 07:40 PM
Hey, I just finished a belly dancing class in my area. Honestly, I think I learn more from Shimmy. I even invested in the belly dancing belt with all the coins. It really helps me get into the spirit and magic of belly dance. I find I can many of the moves--just not as well as the ladies on Shimmy. It's a good workout but gentle too--and oh, so beautiful. So many women these days are into the whole "pole dance" thing. For me, belly dancing IS my pole dance. It is much more seductive and all about the anticipation.

Mickey79sf
12-07-2008, 02:34 AM
Hi Thighs and Diva :) Glad to hear from you :) I to believe that belly dance is far more seductive and beautiful than any strip tease. It feels like art for me and it accents the beauty of curves. I didn't get to practice last nite because it was my 1 year anniversary but i sure did shimmy ;) lol. Im thinking of doing a class, in San Francisco, there is a great belly dance scene. But i would feel better going when i had a lil less belly lol.
Heres a question for all, what Belly dance move do you have the most trouble with?

Beautiful Ace
12-07-2008, 02:39 AM
Belly dancing is sort of in my culture, I'm lebanese. I love it, I think it's beautiful, and I find it really fun. I can't wait to go to the lebanese festival thin and tear up the dance floor with my fab moves. hehe. I guess I'm going to have to get a dvd soon!

Mickey79sf
12-07-2008, 02:50 AM
Hi Beautiful!:welcome:
For one, im sure u are a beautiful dancer now, but i know what ya mean ;) :hug: And since u know more about it than I do, don't be suprised if I ask you many questions :D Jillina has great dvds and the twins are ok, just a suggestion. Some use fit tv, I haven't tried that program yet, but I will. I like dvds because i can pause them and practice the moves at my own pace. We are all gonna end up a more fit and sexy as sin by the end :D Check out the tips of the day for belly dance thread as well and feel free to leave any tips that you may think others will find useful . Take care
Mickey


Belly dancing is sort of in my culture, I'm lebanese. I love it, I think it's beautiful, and I find it really fun. I can't wait to go to the lebanese festival thin and tear up the dance floor with my fab moves. hehe. I guess I'm going to have to get a dvd soon!

bopeep
12-08-2008, 09:30 PM
I just started belly dancing in September, and have fallen head over heals in love with it. I like lots of different sorts of exercise in general, but at heart, I've always been a dancer. I haven't done much as an adult because I got too fat and self concious to dance :( . I just turned 40 and decided I was old enough not to care what anyone else thought and so I signed up for classes. I am hooked and having a blast! :carrot:

My teacher's style is mostly Egyptian, and I really prefer that to American Cabaret, but I kind of, sort of, might also like to try tribal :o. Once I get better at this. It looks soooo funky and challenging!

I really like my classes, as my teacher is very plus size positive. She is thin, but really encourages all sizes and ages to participate.

I've followed a couple of DVDs, though I really prefer the live classes. The twins are great dancers, but they seem too perfect and plastic to me, but I do like Jillina. I'm planning on picking up Bellydance for Core Fitness by Ayshe to give that a try.

BP

Beautiful Ace
12-08-2008, 09:43 PM
Oh, it's in my culture but I'm very white washed... The only thing I know about it is how it looks when people do it... ahaha, and of course, the moving the hips and hands .... I'm no pro!!!

Mickey79sf
12-10-2008, 12:17 AM
Hi BP:welcome: and BA -
Sounds like we are all in the same boat... sorry i have been a bit awol the last few days, just got busy with work and stuff.. but my DF (dear fiance :)) is going to get me a dvd player for the living room so i have more room to practice.. trying to do it in our cramped lil bedroom was causing all kinds of stubbed toes :) keep updated as to how the dance is going and as well as the weightloss.. im interested in seeing if it produces as much weightloss as the traditional excersise or not.. doesn't matter that much cuz we do it for the joy more than anything .. soo keep those hips a shaken ladies :D :belly: ttfn
Mickey

bopeep
12-10-2008, 01:55 AM
I went to an extra class tonight. The regular classes I signed up for are over for the year, but my teacher invited some of us to go to her more advanced class that she teaches elsewhere - for free! :woohoo: That was fun, and hard. And painful - I stepped on one of my toes and bruised it! :o :lol: Klutz!!

Lots of hip work and some travelling shimmies, which I am starting to figure out. Reverse camels are hard! But I'm getting them. Belly rolls are impossible! I'm not really able to move my abdominal muscles in isolation yet. I can do it when I'm laying down on the bed, really concentrating, but not when I'm trying to follow and there are arms and feet and hips to think about too! :p

I don't know if I'll be able to practice much this week - I'm coming down with a cold and I may wind up crawling under the bed covers for a few days. Hopefully it'll be a quickie cold! Right now I feel like someone ran into my head with a truck! :frypan:

BP

Mickey79sf
12-12-2008, 06:25 PM
Hey BP,
That sucks about the cold :hug: but congrats on the invite! I would have been past excited if it had happened to me. I swear i have the hardest time with traveling shimmies lol.. i lose the whole smooth motion the moment i pick up my feet and try to move in any direction.. the other thing i have the worst time on and don't laugh when i tell u, is spins. :eek: I can't seem to spot to save my life and the end result is me standing there dizzy and about to puke lol well theres my embarssing belly dance secret.. ohhh reverse camels are hard as **** lol.. i always have to fight the urge to do them the front way lol.. well hope u get better soon. ttfn
Mickey :belly:

Thighs Be Gone
12-12-2008, 07:08 PM
I can many of the moves somewhat. What I have the most problem with is putting the arm movements with the body movements as I see others doing. I know it's lack of coordination and I am sure it will come naturally when the movements...well, become more natural.

Diva
12-12-2008, 07:21 PM
I can many of the moves somewhat. What I have the most problem with is putting the arm movements with the body movements as I see others doing. I know it's lack of coordination and I am sure it will come naturally when the movements...well, become more natural.

I have trouble with that too. I guess practice makes perfect. I hope so anyways. I dream of one day being at goal, putting on a fancy Belly Dancing outfit and doing a little dance for my dude. I love the looks on the faces of men when you tell them you're belly dancing. It's so cute! One of the guys that works at the community center where I work out asked me the other day if I was all done. I was obviously pink in the face and all sweaty, my hair a mess (yeah, I don't leave looking pretty, lol) and I said, "actually I'm going home to do 100 crunches and some Belly dancing", and he smiled all big and said Belly Dancing?! and I said YUP! And he says, Good girl! :D hehe...

LOL! Silly men....;)

Mickey79sf
12-18-2008, 07:50 PM
Hey Ladies,
Sorry i have been MIA for a few days, but unfortunately its going to get worse :( Me and my fiance are getting ready to go on xmas vacation. its been a lot of planning and packing and so i haven't been around. I will be gone for about two weeks, but please keep the club going. I will love to read all the post and catch up with everyone when im back after the new years. Hope everyone is doing well and has a wonderful holiday :hug: :belly:
Mickey

aphil
12-20-2008, 03:26 PM
Hey ladies~

FYI-

I haven't been in this area of the forum for a couple of weeks, but I wanted to let you all know that I am a professional Middle Eastern dancer (both performer and instructor). I have been trained in Egyptian, Turkish, American Cabaret, American Tribal Style, Tribal Fusion, and some Lebanese, Greek, and North African styles. I also have dabbled in Classical Indian Dance and Bollywood as well. I use veil, finger cymbals, and do sword and basket balancing.

I teach classes in my area, and dance weekends at a Greek restaurant. If you ladies have ANY questions for me-I'll be happy to answer.

On another note, though-I, and most ME dancers don't like to affiliate ME dance with burlesque, striptease, pole dancing, or anything along those lines. I also refuse to take a gig for a bachelor party or other all male party...or even belly dance for a man that I am with, and make it sexual in any sort of way, or portray it that way. It is an ancient art form, and many pro belly dancers have a hard time fighting stereotypes associated with the dance. It isn't a sexual sort of dance at all...it is feminine, but not sexual. It is a trained art form-and I take a lot of time honing my skills and learning technique from master teachers...and I don't like anyone to equate it with something like stripping.

Many people think that you are just dressed up pretty and "shaking it" and they have no idea...they want to join my class to be the next Shakira, and I have had people actually get miffed at me for wanting to teach them ME drum rhythms, musicality, and proper technique and etiquette in my classes.

*off soapbox now*

:D

aphil
12-20-2008, 03:53 PM
Mickey-

I wanted to address you personally in a separate post. :D

You mentioned feeling some tightness in the back area during a figure 8, and this is most likely due to improper body positioning/posture. Were you doing a figure 8 traced onto the floor, or were you doing a figure 8 traced onto the wall in front of you? If you had a pencil attached to your body, which would you be drawing the figure 8 on, the wall or floor?

You mentioned being in San Francisco...if you are at all interested in American Tribal Style belly dance, I would highly recommend taking classes from Carolena, the director and founder of Fat Chance Belly Dance. ( Her website is www.fcbd.com ) ATS is done in a group, not solo, and is more earthy-less sparkly. She is the BEST instructor of that style of belly dance, however, and you are lucky to be close to her. If you can, I would recommend taking a course with her!

GirlMeetsNeedle
01-02-2009, 12:17 AM
Hey aphil!

I really find your information on Belly Dancing to be quite helpful, as I've been hoping to get involved in a couple of local classes.

One question though...why can't Belly Dancing be sexual? I mean, isn't it kind of a celebration of the feminine mystique - of a woman's most ancient power, her sexuality? I've always seen it as such. I mean, Mata Hari actually insisted on dancing in the nude.

:)

Anyway, looking foreward to hearing more about all sorts of belly dance stuff!

Diva
01-02-2009, 12:22 AM
I got my Shimmy on for 30 minutes tonight. :belly:

Happy New year girls!!

jahjah1223
01-02-2009, 12:54 AM
I am middle eastern and am VERY good at belly dancing i LOVE it with passion!

bopeep
01-02-2009, 01:09 AM
Hi aphil - It's great to be able to get another source for answers or pointers!

I've had something of a fascination with Middle Eastern culture for ages - I studied Egyptian Arabic, I love the art and the music (have lots of classical, Warda and Fairouz, as well as more contemporary Egyptian pop stuff), and I have wanted to learn to dance for ages, but I felt too fat (I know, I know, there's no such thing as too fat to dance, but I *felt* too fat to try :().

I know what you mean about the Shakira wannabees! There were a couple in my beginner class. Mind you - I would loooove to be able to dance as well as she does, but that has more to do with the fact that she can dance, not that "she is a belly dancer" (in quotes because I understand that she has trained in it, and may do belly dancing in her own private time, but that's not what she's doing on stage or in her videos).

GMN - belly dancing did not originate as a sexual dance. It was, and still is, traditionally done in front of members of the same sex at weddings or other social gatherings. It has been adapted/corrupted/evolved (depending on your point of view) into a 'sexy' dance by some people. Most traditional or professional dancers do not want anything to do with that sort of performance and believe it gives the whole thing a bad or disreputable name. If you sexualize it, then it is no longer proper 'belly dancing' but becomes something else. Burlesque, exotic, whatever you want to call it. Those are fine styles of dance, but aren't Middle Eastern dance. It's like if you did a dance from 'Swan Lake' around a stripper pole - it might look great and sexy, but it wouldn't be ballet anymore.

Seriously though - take the plunge and get into a class! It's so much fun! You'll learn a lot about it, and get fit while doing something fun and interesting! :carrot:

BTW - Mata Hari was an exotic dancer who used Egyptian and Middle Eastern dancing as *inspiration*. She was not a 'belly dancer' or a Middle Eastern dancer. :)

BP

aphil
01-02-2009, 01:52 AM
GMN - belly dancing did not originate as a sexual dance. It was, and still is, traditionally done in front of members of the same sex at weddings or other social gatherings. It has been adapted/corrupted/evolved (depending on your point of view) into a 'sexy' dance by some people. Most traditional or professional dancers do not want anything to do with that sort of performance and believe it gives the whole thing a bad or disreputable name. If you sexualize it, then it is no longer proper 'belly dancing' but becomes something else. Burlesque, exotic, whatever you want to call it. Those are fine styles of dance, but aren't Middle Eastern dance. It's like if you did a dance from 'Swan Lake' around a stripper pole - it might look great and sexy, but it wouldn't be ballet anymore.

BTW - Mata Hari was an exotic dancer who used Egyptian and Middle Eastern dancing as *inspiration*. She was not a 'belly dancer' or a Middle Eastern dancer. :)

BP

EXACTLY.

Belly dancing should not be a "sexual" dance. It can be sensual and beautiful...but it should never be done for the purpose of enticing men...because if that is the point, then the person is disrespecting the art form. (The ballet on a stripper pole is a great analogy. :D )

I study Middle Eastern dance rhythms, I study technique, and travel to train with many master instructors to educate myself just like a ballet dancer would-and to have someone dress up in a belly dance costume and shake it for their boyfriend in a sexual way cheapens and disrespects the art form and the culture that it came from.

Many professional ME dancers work very hard to DISPEL the stereotypes surrounding ME dance...and when someone uses it in a sexual way, it works against us and enforces the stereotypes that we are trying to dispel. Belly dancers are not PG-13 exotic dancers. It is a cultural dance, a folk dance, and many other things-but not a sexual one. Pro ME dancers train like ballet dancers do, and to have your art form that you live for portrayed as a lap dance by someone is disrespectful to the art form.

JMHO... :D

shcirerf
01-02-2009, 09:14 AM
Glad I stopped in here. I was looking for some belly dancing videos the other day. Glad to see some recommendations!

It sounds like fun and something different to do for exercise.

Beautiful Ace
01-02-2009, 09:21 AM
I can many of the moves somewhat. What I have the most problem with is putting the arm movements with the body movements as I see others doing. I know it's lack of coordination and I am sure it will come naturally when the movements...well, become more natural.

Just thought I would pop in here and say, I bet if you were to concentrate on learning and mastering the body/feet movement, and then adding in the hands after, it would be a lot easier! Kind of like, how you ride a bike with your hands on the handle bars, but once you master it, you can then ride with no hands.

aphil
01-02-2009, 12:06 PM
In my classes, I teach individual isolations for MONTHS before the students start doing layering (doing more than one movement at a time-like upper and lower body together, or upper body while doing a traveling move with the lower body...)

You must be able to master an individual movement fully before trying to do it with another movement.

bopeep
01-03-2009, 04:22 AM
In my classes, I teach individual isolations for MONTHS before the students start doing layering (doing more than one movement at a time-like upper and lower body together, or upper body while doing a traveling move with the lower body...)


This is the one thing I'm not too keen on with my instructor - not enough basics. But her beginner classes have some advanced beginners and intermediate students in it as well (she encourages some of her students to take multiple classes), so I can see why she doesn't spend all of the class time on the basics. She does break it down so that the complete newbies like me can see the isolated muscle movements and practice them but we can also progress as we start to get the hang of it. I picked up on what I was supposed to be doing very quickly, but I could see that a lot of her other new students were struggling for a lot longer. I think she has kind of forgotten how little (i.e. nothing) complete newbies know!

In general though, I really like her because she is so very encouraging, especialy with older and heavier students. I'm definitely learning a lot in her classes (I was taking two to three classes a week from her, and will start up again in a couple of weeks), and she makes it so much fun. At the end of a 90 minute class, my hips and belly felt like they were going to fall off, but the classes passed in an eyeblink! I know that there are better instructors in my area, but I also know that they are out of my budget right now, and their instruction would be wasted on me until I can get the basics mastered. :D

BP

dreamer081
01-04-2009, 04:17 PM
hi im new here and i just wanted to say how happy i am to find this website that has people supporting belly dancing for weight loss because some people who know that i like it were so unsupportive that i almost gave up..almost. im so happy that i didnt! im sixteen and i have been overweight for most of my life and since i was little my entire family has tried to get me to loose weight especially my mom, and it made me so depressed all the time. but around a year ago i found belly dancing on fit tv and i tried it, and i fell in love with it. i told a few people and they gave me a weird look, saying that its for skinny people and that its like strip tease which caused a huge argument with me and them because i thought of it as an art and a way to feel better about your body. -_-' hehe sorry for my rambling i just needed to express that because i've been holding it in for such a long time.

i secretly practice belly dancing on my own because it makes me feel so good about myself and i feel so happy and alive when i do it, and im one of those people who doesn't dance at all at parties because i was so self conscious about my weight from all the things my family has said to me in the past years. i weigh about 160 right now, i use to weigh 170 >_< and my mom would never stop bringing the issue about my weight into a conversation. she tries to help but it makes me feel worse sometimes, anyways.

i have to say that belly dancing is the number one thing that has made me happy and gave a self confidence. i think that any girl or woman who has low self esteem should take belly dancing.

i have been trying to improve some of the movements but i've been having some problems.

i was trying to do the figure 8 but it came out looking funny and my back felt kind of tight and stiff. the figure 8 that i was trying to do is the one facing the floor where you would be drawing the 8 on the floor instead of the wall.
i also wanted to know if there were any moves that work the abdomen the most. sorry if my question sounds kind of silly but i havent had any real instructions and i mainly watch the old episodes of shimmy from fit tv. i would really appreciate any feedback, thank you!

bopeep
01-04-2009, 08:08 PM
Hi dreamer!

I'm glad you didn't completely fall victim to the thoughts and attitudes of others! I did, and it kept me from trying to learn something I was fascinated with for over 20 years (I'm 40). There are a lot of bad attitudes out there about how you 'should' look to do belly dancing. When I told my mother I had taken it up, there was stunned silence, then a comment about how I 'had plenty of belly' for it. That comment hurt me way more than I ever let on, but I wasn't going to let it stop me, now that I have found the will to do it.

I have done my own practicing to videos and I also take a class. I learn waaaaaay more in the class then I do with the videos. The instructor can give you feedback on what you are doing right and wrong, and how to practice certain muscle movements until you learn to control them properly.

Do you have access to a community rec centre or a Y with classes? Maybe a local college or university offers classes? I'm assuming you are a student and would qualify for a reduced rate? Perhaps you can 'barter' for classes - maybe exchange babysitting with an instructor for a few private lessons. Would your mother (or another family member) be willing to pay, or help you pay, for some classes?

BP

TempleBody
01-05-2009, 01:41 AM
Oh heck yes baby! I'm in here.

I do weight training and running, but my bellydance is for fun and relaxing in the evening.

There's a few free workouts on youtube also. "Temple of Jehan Workout" is excellent (but not for beginners!!). There's the Goddess Workout with Dolphinia (too slow and cheesy for me though) and there's a few Veena and Neena videos (just search 'em on youtube) that are there that people can try without buying.

By far my favorite VHS was Kathy Smith's bellydance video. She's terrible, but she was dancing with some bellydance stars (Ansunya).

For great music downloads, I go to demna DOT com.

bopeep
01-08-2009, 03:25 AM
I signed back up for classes! Woo hoo! They don't start for two and a half weeks though :(

I've been practicing almost every day at home, but it's not the same as the class :D

BP

aphil
01-08-2009, 09:19 AM
Hi dreamer!

For the figure 8 being drawn on the floor, this is how I break it down to my students:

~Get yourself in good dance posture FIRST. Chest and head lifted, long neck, shoulders down (not scrunched up), tailbone slightly tucked under (so you don't have your lower back swayed) feet close together and facing forward, and finally, knees soft and slightly bent.

~To break down the movement, think about each hip performing one "loop" in the 8, and the center of your body being the "center" of the 8 where the loops intersect.

~Twist your left hip diagonally forward a bit. Think about making your left hipbone point towards the corner of the room. Then, push that same hip around to the BACK CORNER of the room. (Assuming that you are facing a wall in your home.) Your hips should be in a slightly diagonal position now, with the left hip towards the back corner of the room, and the right hip towards the front corner of the room.

~Slide your hips diagonally in this same position, so that you are pushing your right hip forward towards the right front corner of the room.

~Then, repeat the same motion with your right hip as you did on the left hip-push your right hip back and around now, so that it points towards the BACK RIGHT CORNER of the room.

~Now, your left hip will be facing diagonally forward. Slide through your "center" and push your left hip towards the FRONT CORNER of the room.

~You keep repeating this in a soft, even motion. For a nice forward figure 8. :)


When you do this movement in the mirror, what you want to look for as far as technique, is when you lift up your shirt and look at your waistband of your pants-check that the waistband of your pants (and therefore your hips) stay "even". You don't want your hips doing any "up and down" motion. You want an even figure 8 traced onto the floor.

Daimere
01-12-2009, 12:17 AM
I am thinking about starting bellydancing in a few weeks. What should I expect? There is a hour half long class and an hour long class. I'm really nervous about it since I will be plus size and it's a beginning tribal class.

aphil
01-12-2009, 08:27 AM
Since you are starting a TRIBAL/ATS style class, know that it is a completely different format than traditional belly dance. Tribal belly dance is an American creation-it isn't the traditional belly dance that comes from the Middle East.

Tribal belly dance, at least traditional ATS style, is always done in a group, or tribe. In the beginning class, most likely the instructor will teach you basic moves and isolations for the most part. Later, though, you will learn about tribal cues and improvisation in the class. You will learn how to dance in a group, and work with that group or "tribe".

Tribal belly dance has much more earthy costumes, and earthier styled music. If you want to know what to expect from a tribal class, try googling "Fat Chance Belly Dance" and "Gypsy Caravan" which I would consider to be two of the best, most traditional American Tribal Style belly dance groups. It will give you a better idea of what to expect as far as the movements/music/costuming of the style that are getting ready to take a class for.

Don't worry about being plus sized! I have had a couple of babies along the way of my belly dance journey-and have danced anywhere from 160 pounds all the way up to about 240 and about to go into labor! :lol:

Be prepared to dance in bare feet, and wear something comfy like a fitted baby tee shirt or yoga tank, and comfy pants like yoga pants, etc.

Good luck on your new class! Let me know if you have any more questions! :D

Daimere
01-12-2009, 10:42 AM
In my town, the only place that teaches bellydance is tribal dance studio. I wish there was another place that teaches traditional bellydance. Either way, I'm not going to complain! At least there is something because I really do want to dance. I'll probably try to force myself to go in the next few weeks when I have money. I've been saying I will do this for a year and I think I'm ready this time around.

bopeep
01-13-2009, 01:48 AM
Daimere - I'd go for the tribal! It's one of the styles I want to explore once I get the hang of my more traditional Egyptian style. It looks like so much fun.

I wouldn't let your size get in your way! I used that as an excuse for a long time and now I really regret the wasted years. My instructor has two girls in her troupe that are plus sized - one is about my weight, and the other sounds like she pretty close to yours. They are both amazing dancers, and the fact that they are plus sized does not make them any less able to do it. It was really great for me to see them because it dispelled the last of my fears about being too fat to dance.

One thing I found a bit frustrating as a heavier newbie (I just started in September, so I'm a newbie too), was that it's kind of hard to get visual feedback on your abdominal muscles. Learning to move them independently takes a fair bit of practice, and I found I had to use my hands to feel what they were doing as it's kind of hard to see them ;) I have just begun to be able to move them independently, and now I can see the belly move sort of as it is supposed to, but I had to learn that by feel.

BP

Medea5
01-13-2009, 06:01 AM
Hi my name is Robin. I just found the Shimmy program on FitTv, I have a dvr so I can record all the episodes. I've been doing one to two episodes a night for the past couple days. I would like to take classes but the independent studios cost too much for me right now and the one at school is only once a week and I work that day.

Daimere
01-13-2009, 06:32 AM
bopeep- how do you think bellydancing has helped your weight loss? The more positive things I tell myself, the more likely I will go. And thanks for the ab trick! I'll remember that.

aphil
01-13-2009, 08:11 AM
bopeep- how do you think bellydancing has helped your weight loss? The more positive things I tell myself, the more likely I will go. And thanks for the ab trick! I'll remember that.

bopeep-
It's funny that you mention the hand thing...that is how I first teach my students to do belly rolls, or anything involving isolating the ab muscles. I have ALL of the students do this, not just the heavier students. :)

Daimere-
I have found that certain areas of my body have definitely changed over the past 8+ years that I have been involved with ME dance. My quadriceps are much, much stronger because of the slightly bent knee'd posture. My oblique muscles, and the upper part of my center ab muscles (the top of the 6 pack) are much more apparent. My shoulders are much more capped, and firmer/tighter. My ankles have slimmed down. I have always been very curvy with a smaller torso, bigger chest, and bigger through the hips/thighs and I will always be shaped that way-but the shape of the curves has changed. My butt is much more "bubbled" now from the years of dancing in a semi-squated dance posture with the bent knees. As long as I continue to belly dance professionally-I will never have a "flat" bum. :lol: My posture in my upper body is much, much better-even when just standing and talking normally.

There have been LOTS of changes in me from dance. :)

bopeep
01-13-2009, 01:08 PM
aphil - I can see why it's a good idea to teach everyone to move their abdominal muscles with the hands. I figured it out on my own, and it made a big difference. I do like my instructor, and I do find I'm learning a lot from her, but I wish she would teach more bare bones basics, like you do, in her beginner class!

daimere - I found belly dancing was really good for helping me lose weight - my weight had plateaued for several months prior to my classes, and the dancing jump started the weight loss again. BUT - I was attending two to three 90 minute classes a week, and practicing at home. That's a fair bit of activity and would result in weight loss regardless of what sort of dance I was doing. I fell head over heals in love with the dance, so wanted to do all I could, and the 90 minute classes passed in an eyeblink!

I have noticed some things have really improved in my three months of learning. I already had pretty decent muscles from doing light weights for nearly a year, but my endurence with those muscles has improved. My posture is already much better, and I have developed a bit of a bounce in my step - I don't plod along anymore! ;) I have had some knee and hip pain for most of my life (minor arthritis and joint issues), and the pain has completely disappeared. My pectoral muscles are developing for the first time ever (I always hated working them, so they got neglected), and this has brought 'the girls' to a better and less saggy position. My hubby has also noticed some serious muscle development, ummmm, 'down there'...:o

medea - Hi! Welcome! I have to say, that I found I learned way more in classes. The videos aren't a bad way to learn or to introduce yourself to belly dancing, but if you can find some affordable classes, it's so much better. The one thing that I think makes a class so valuable, is that you get an instructor who will correct your posture or movements. It's really hard to see what you're doing wrong when you're following a video - you think you're moving in a certain way, but if you were to look in a large mirror, it's often not what you thought you were doing! :lol: :dizzy: Have you checked into your local recreation centres? They often have dance classes, and maybe one will offer BD (my class is through a local rec centre). Another thing to check, is to call those expensive local dance studios, and ask if the teacher allows drop in students - you don't sign up or pay for the season's worth of classes, but just pay for one class at a time (usually $10-20 per class). This is not a very cost efficent way to learn if you're taking more than a few classes, but if you are learning mostly at home, a couple of classes would give you an oppertunity to have some feedback on what you are doing right or wrong.

10 more days till my class starts back up! :woohoo:

BP

Medea5
01-13-2009, 08:04 PM
bopeep- I would love to take classes but I can't find any that work with my schedule. I'm gonna keep looking but there isn't much going on around here.

Daimere
01-13-2009, 08:09 PM
I have noticed some things have really improved in my three months of learning. I already had pretty decent muscles from doing light weights for nearly a year, but my endurence with those muscles has improved. My posture is already much better, and I have developed a bit of a bounce in my step - I don't plod along anymore! I have had some knee and hip pain for most of my life (minor arthritis and joint issues), and the pain has completely disappeared. My pectoral muscles are developing for the first time ever (I always hated working them, so they got neglected), and this has brought 'the girls' to a better and less saggy position. My hubby has also noticed some serious muscle development, ummmm, 'down there'..

Those are some great things I would love. Especially the reduction of knee pain!

I have found that certain areas of my body have definitely changed over the past 8+ years that I have been involved with ME dance. My quadriceps are much, much stronger because of the slightly bent knee'd posture. My oblique muscles, and the upper part of my center ab muscles (the top of the 6 pack) are much more apparent. My shoulders are much more capped, and firmer/tighter. My ankles have slimmed down. I have always been very curvy with a smaller torso, bigger chest, and bigger through the hips/thighs and I will always be shaped that way-but the shape of the curves has changed. My butt is much more "bubbled" now from the years of dancing in a semi-squated dance posture with the bent knees. As long as I continue to belly dance professionally-I will never have a "flat" bum. My posture in my upper body is much, much better-even when just standing and talking normally.

That is all great! My mom has theorized that if I ever become skinny, I will have a flat butt. :P

I emailed the lady this week and the teacher got back to me real quick. She is very encouraging, especially with fitness of different ranges. I will force myself to do it this weekend or next Tuesday. I'm so excited and this is helping me to push myself into it. I'm very shy and new things kill me. If I don't know the ins and outs, I back out of it out of fear.

aphil
01-14-2009, 08:06 AM
bopeep- I would love to take classes but I can't find any that work with my schedule. I'm gonna keep looking but there isn't much going on around here.


I recommend that if you take a look at Shira.net and look at her instructor list in your area. Contact ALL of them, and see if any work with your schedule. Also, if the classes don't work with your schedule, ask the instructors that you contact if they know of other instructors in the area-because not ALL of them are listed in the online directories. There are going to be dancers and classes out there available, but you have to dig around to find them. :)

bopeep
01-15-2009, 03:43 AM
I emailed the lady this week and the teacher got back to me real quick. She is very encouraging, especially with fitness of different ranges. I will force myself to do it this weekend or next Tuesday. I'm so excited and this is helping me to push myself into it. I'm very shy and new things kill me. If I don't know the ins and outs, I back out of it out of fear.

:bravo:

That's great that the teacher got back to you so quickly. I'll bet she's used to a lot of shy people starting up. In my beginners class last fall, several people were very, very shy, but it was so much fun that most of us kept coming back. This gave me a huge boost to my confidence and has really helped me find a 'me' I like much better. The rec centre my classes were at had an Xmas show, and when I started the class, I was adamant that I would not be in it. *ME* dancing in front of people????? NO WAY!!! I wound up doing two dances, and loved it! :lol:

I think if you're a dancer at heart, then you should follow your heart :D

Let us know when your first class is!

BP

Talina
01-16-2009, 11:56 AM
I've been wanting to try belly dancing for a few years. I love the movements have have always found them so hypnotizing. I'm finally getting the courage to go to a local class, but due to other commitments I won't be able to start for about 2 months.
I don't watch tv so I'd never heard of the show Shimmy before. It looks interesting and I want to check out a few episodes. I'll probably get the dvds if I like it. Would it be a good start? Or should I just wait to take the class? I'm concerned that if I don't get started now, I'll just put it off.

aphil
01-16-2009, 11:59 AM
Honestly (and this is just my opinion as an instructor) if you are planning on taking a class very soon-you are better off to wait for the actual class.

If you start doing dvds before you go, you could start practicing the movements incorrectly, and it is harder to erase bad habits/form than it is for the instructor to correct you and get you doing it right from the beginning.

Once you have a good grasp of the basic movements in class, dvds can then be a good at home practice companion.

Talina
01-16-2009, 12:17 PM
That was my concern as well. That just means that I'll have to make sure I don't keep putting it off which will be hard. I'll have to keep lurking in these forms to stay motivated.

JazzyNurse
01-17-2009, 02:36 AM
I just started belly dance class two weeks ago. Love it! It is soooo much harder than I thought it would be. Wow, am I totally out of shape. It's an awesome work out and will hopefully boost my weight loss. I do not feel uncomfortable because it's a small class, only 7 of us and everyone is so diverse. The instructor is awesome. It is so fun and I will be sticking to it, oh probably forever!

bopeep
02-10-2009, 01:20 AM
I am so happy! My instructor's troupe is participating in a show and I get to have a (very) small part in one dance. This means I get to have a ton of extra lessons!!! :woohoo: The show is not actually not proper belly dancing, it's more of a theater/fusion thing, but the techniques and movements are the same as what I am learning in class, so it's all good as far as I'm concerned! I'm learning the proper context in class, so learning a bit of adaptation on the outside is also good :D

Jazzynurse - isn't it addictive!?! And so much fun!

BP