Exercise! - Belly Dancing!




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aphil
07-23-2004, 10:52 AM
Hello everyone!
This thread is for those who do some form of belly dancing as exercise! We welcome anyone who has an interest in this dance-from someone who does a belly dance beginning fitness video in their living room to the seasoned dancer who performs and dances with swords, snakes, and fire! (Just joking...or AM I? :devil: )

I am going to start out this thread with a bit of an introduction of myself, as well as a sort of "primer" for belly dance "newbies." Here goes!

I started belly dancing about 3 years ago with some beginning fitness videos at home, and I soon grew more interested and hungry for information than the mainstream belly dance fitness videos at the area stores could provide. I set out in search of an instructor in my area-and found one within a 30 minute drive. I have been dancing under her instruction for over a year and a half now-and went from a student in her beginning class to a student in her 4th level (advanced) class and one of the dancers performing in her troupe. I have performed at various festivals and cultural events, and have taken workshops with some awesome instructors from all over. I dance with veils, finger cymbals, and perform sword balancing. I am currently on the brink of learning a new trade-doing double sword balancing-I am just waiting for my new set of matching scimitars to come in. :) I have been trained in various types of belly dance-Egyptian and Turkish Cabaret, North African, dances from India, gypsy, and American Tribal Style.

On the fitness end of things-I dance in 2-1 hour classes each week, and practice at home for 30-45 minutes twice a week religiously. I may do more than that if there is an upcoming performance. Along with my belly dancing I round out my fitness routine with a little extra cardio, and strength training 3 days a week!

The amazing thing to me about the belly dancing experience in relation to fitness...is that in the weight I have lost in the past 2 years...the most amazing change is the 7" that has melted off my abs and waistline. Belly dancing works! :D

Now I am going to give sort of a beginning "primer" to those wanting to get involved in belly dancing-so you become more familiar with terms, videos, etc.

Belly Dance Beginning Fitness Videos

If you are interested in belly dancing at home for fitness-here are a rundown of a few vids I recommend to get you started:

BellyDance Fitness For Beginners Basic Moves-this is a 30 minute video by Veena and Neena Bidasha-and it is complete with a warm-up and cool down. It goes over some of the belly dance beginning moves and basics-such as hip circles, shoulder shimmies, and snake arms. It is slow and repetitive-and starts the moves at a very slow pace-and then speeds up in increments so you can "get" the move.

BellyDance Fitness For Beginners Slim Down-Of the two cardio vids Veena and Neena have out (Fat Burning is the other) I like this one best. It incorporates cardio moves with belly dance "intervals." The Fat Burning is more Middle Eastern Folk dancing the entire time...and it is "boring." :lol: It alternates the cardio moves with hip movements, chest isolations, and arm movements.

Magical Motion with Atea-This is a video from the 80's...so the hair, makeup and costume styles may be a little outdated-but the information and teachings here is very solid. It goes a little deeper into learning belly dance moves...and also touches lightly on finger cymbals and veils, and costuming.

These are videos that I highly recommend to start with...as you gain basic knowledge of the dance-then there will be discussions of other videos, teachings, and props throughout the thread. :D

Looking to take classes in your area? Check and see if there is an instructor in your area! There is an instructor directory at this site:

www.shira.net

(This is a great website that also has tons of information about costumes, music, videos, and other belly dance stuff.)

Have a video that requires a veil? (There are many that do!) You can make a veil suitable for dancing out of 3 yards of chiffon fabric-just hem the raw edges. It is very easy.

Cabaret or American Tribal Style?

You will find that most mainstream belly dance fitness videos are cabaret style belly dance-meaning, what you traditionally think of when you think of a belly dancer-a glittery bra top and fancy skirt...a flirtatious attitude...dancing with veils...but there is also another style called American Tribal. Videos aimed at the more seasoned dancer can be one or the other.

American Tribal style differs from cabaret in the fact that it is always danced as a "group" or tribe. The costumes are more earthy-with antique jewelry instead of sequins, and the dancers often dance to more tribal type of music and live drummers...and they often wear exotic tribal tattoos on their faces and such during performances. If you are interested in seeing more about American Tribal Style Belly Dance-check out:

www.fcbd.com

Come on in and post! Are you taking classes, or doing belly dance in your living room for exercise only? How do you like it? What are your goals with it in relation to fitness?

Bellydance is one of the most enjoyable forms of physical activity that I have ever done...and starting classes was the greatest thing I think I have ever given myself!

Aphil


HatterasMermaid
07-23-2004, 12:26 PM
Hello Aphil,

I am most definately NOT in your league! LOL I am certainly FARRR FARRRRR away from where you are with your dancing! I discovered "belly dancing as exercise" last fall and well....I've got to admit that I've been intrigued by this form of dance since I saw a belly dancer perform for my grandfather on his 80th birthday when I was a teenager! So... (beganing my "journey" weighing over 215.5 pounds)I purchased the Veena and Neena "Bellydance:Fitness for Beginners: Slim Down" tape for several reasons. Belly:got that! 30 minutes:gotta love THAT! Something different:totally exotic here in my rural little part of the world! :)

I have to wait until nearly midnight....with the shades drawn tight...the dh snoring loudly (so I can hear if he wakes up!) AND the two ds sleeping with doors barred again so I can hear any movement! :) I do NOT need to hear their helpful hints about THIS tape and my ability (or lack there of!) They are supportive of my efforts but have laughed like crazy at just the tape BOX and have ASKED to see me do this tape! Not even a MAYBE, yet!!!!! Anyway. I enjoy the tape especiall when I know that I'm alone with Veena and Neena! I enjoy attempting the movements. Notice the word attempt! This is a big feat for someone who owns NO abs since childbirth! :)

The story of my "journey" has a lot of bumps in it. I have just returned to making a consistent effort with my eating and exercising! (I do a variety of other tapes too! I also do WW at home..aloneeeee!) I'm excited to find a support for this form of exercise! I'm not too sure that I'm the sort of "dancer" that you were hoping to attract with this thread....BUT.... here I am! LOL and I'll be back! hehehee!

take care,
Robyn (215.5+ / 187 / 150 ) (HatterasMermaid at 3fc!)

aphil
07-23-2004, 01:36 PM
No-you are exactly the type of dancer I was hoping to attract! :D I want to hear from everyone enjoying belly dancing as a form of exercise. I started out at exactly the same place that you did...2 years ago I was 211 pounds and a size 20...and I had started doing it lightly with videos like Veena and Neena.
I totally realize that not everyone has an instructor nearby...and not everyone wants to perform someday-but it is not a "mainstream" fitness activity like walking-and I thought we could use a thread for it here!
So if you are doing it in your living room...or doing it in front of an audience-you are at home here! If you ever have any questions about any method or move-feel free to ask me or Mauvaisroux-who should be making an appearance shortly on this thread-as she takes professional lessons as well. :D
Stick with it...it does wonders for the body...and the spirit at the same time!


teapotdynamo
07-23-2004, 02:40 PM
I responded in another thread at some point... I would like to take at least one lesson (to see if I like it as much as I think I will!), but I live in NYC, and I'm nervous about finding a teacher who is "size-friendly." I know that's pathetic, but I know I won't keep up with it if I'm not comfortable.

Maybe I'll try one of the vids you recommended first!

aphil
07-23-2004, 05:43 PM
Belly dancing is very size friendly in general actually...belly dancing was traditionally done by women for other women during celebrations and family events. (Get that silly picture of women in the harem dancing for the sultan OUT of your minds! :lol: )
It is done traditionally by women of all shapes and sizes, and all ages! There are MANY professional belly dancers who are women of size...PLEASE do not let this discourage you! :) Some of the best performers I have ever seen are women of size.
Check out the instructor directory...contact a local instructor-I am sure that she will ease your fears. The women in the classes I attend are ages 17-mid 60's...and from 95 pounds to almost 300!

jiffypop
07-23-2004, 06:38 PM
OMG!!!! you CAN'T imagine how timely this is, aphil!!!!! at the beginning of the month, a girlfriend and i who share a b-day went to celebrate ourselves, and we decided to go to the local moroccan restaurant. well, it turns out that they have a monthly LADIES NIGHT. and there we were!!!!!

so picture this: all those nice comfy banquettes with all the cushions. those little gold-colored etched tables. mirrors and scarves and artifacts everywhere. and clustered around those little tables are about 5 groups of women of all ages - from a pair of 12 year olds [with a couple of friends and their mothers and aunts] to a few who were not younger than 55.

and no men

and at 9 pm, a beautifully dressed belly dancer appeared - with sword. and some of the women got up and danced with her.. and a few could actually ululate [very strange sound, by the way]

and then EVERYONE [with two exceptions - can you guess who????] got up and danced!!!!!

and i looked at my friend, and said hmmmmm. i'd been thinking about taking up kayaking, but maybe belly dancing would be fun... and there it sits. weighing belly dancing on one hand and kayaking on the other.

i'll keep reading this thread. maybe i'll get inspired!!!!!!

HatterasMermaid
07-24-2004, 11:59 AM
ahhh, shucks....that idea of dancing for "my" sultan was what was keeping me trying that hip lift! :) just kidding! I enjoy "doing" the tape with Veena and Neena. Teapot and JiffyPop, you've gotta try the video at the very least! :)

I do wish that the video was more like other exercise tapes by showing the moves from head to toe. What I mean is... I can't see what their feet are doing at times. Veena and Neena (V&N from here on out!) have such exotic hands and arms. I certainly don't have a darn part of me that qualifies for exotic (hehe) AND I'm far from owning "dancer arms" (or hands for that matter!) but I do give it my all when I'm dancing! LOL More along the lines of Disco Duck than anything exotic.... but well... I do work up a sweat!

I can NOT imagine doing "my dance" with anyone! LET alone someone who REALLY knows what she is doing! BUT the thought of finding someone to show me what to REALLY do is sooooo intriguing! Aphil, your statistics being so close to mine add to the intrigue! I will definately be spending time following the links from the first post! Who knows, I may end up being a BellyDancingFirstGradeTeacher. THAT should liven up my PTA meetings! hehehehee Thanks for the encouragment and information!

Jiffypop and Teapot.... You must find a copy of the videos and try it out. While I've never tried kayaking, I've certainly enjoyed my late night dance sessions with V&N!
I've gotten sweaty...but never close to drowning! (The thought of getting in a kayak scares the sweetbejjeeeezums out of me!) Lifting my hips on land is much more my speed! :) Jiffypop..... next time in that restraunt...video or kayak or not...You've gotta dance! No matter! Let loose girl! Dance like no one is watching!

til next time.
ya'll take care!

jiffypop
07-24-2004, 11:50 PM
oh my... you ARE inspiring, hatteras.. sooo teapot.. i will if you will

oh dear. <deep breath> a trip to a video store???

HatterasMermaid
07-25-2004, 04:58 AM
Jiffypop,

Were you inspired by the *VISON* of my PTA meetings? Or my DiscoDuckBellyDancing?! Cause they are both *VERY*VERY* inspiring visions! Perhaps it was my near death at the thought of stepping a toe in a kayak! Whatever caused your inpiration....get yourself to Target! That is where I got my V&N video! And it was less than in expensive! It was down right CHEAP! :) Gotta love a tape that doesn't cost you an arm (you'll need those to dance!) and a leg (AGAIN...you're gonna need THAT!)

You must let me know how this turns out! (AND...I've decided many things about life while on my "journey"...one of which issssss that I'm never EVER going to be the one sitting watching others dance EVER again! Big, little (hahaha!) or inbetween! I'm gonna dance, sing and enjoy life! Well...except my family watching me and the belly dancing tapes....OK...so I've got the idea...I just can't quite LIVE it! :) I'm getting there! )

take care!

nelie
07-25-2004, 05:41 PM
I think I may join you bellydancing ladies. I went to the Best Buy yesterday to see if they happened to have any of the bellydancing dvds. They didn't. I just wanted to check before I ordered from Amazon as I am usually impatient when I want to try something new. I am going to go check a couple other places today while I am out as well.

My gym actually offers a once a week, hour long bellydancing class. It costs extra and I keep forgetting to ask how much but the class is kind of on the wrong day for me right now. I just wanted something kind of entertaining to do at home. Since I have been doing mostly weight lifting for the past couple months, I have recently started adding some various cardio activities to my routine and I think this might do well for a once or twice a week activity.

teapotdynamo
07-25-2004, 07:32 PM
<Deep breath> I'm in if you're in, Jif. I'm gonna get this next week sometime. They have the vids on Amazon, btw!

I went to this huge party last night where they were playing some Middle Eastern music, and i kept grinning, thinking to myself, "Soon I will know how to dance to you, lovely Middle Eastern music."

Woo hoo! Thanks for the encouragement, Aphil! Maybe soon I will also work up the courage to take that class!

MichelleRae
07-25-2004, 09:08 PM
Hey girls!! I was wondering if you can recommend some good beginner belly dance videos? I would love to try this! Although my belly has no problem "dancing" on its own ;) lol. Any suggestions would be great!

Michelle

nelie
07-25-2004, 10:47 PM
Michelle, the first message in this post has some recommendations. I did a look through on amazon and I'm going to buy the ones by Neena and Veena. I didn't have any luck at the store finding any bellydancing videos, they were all pilates or yoga so I'm going to order today from amazon.

MichelleRae
07-25-2004, 11:01 PM
OMG LMAO!!! I guess it would help if I didn't forget what I read by time I replied lol!! Yikes hope this isn't early onset alzheimers lol. Thanks nelie forgive my airheadedness ;)
Michelle

mauvaisroux
07-26-2004, 12:12 AM
Thanks for starting this thread Aphil!

I have been taking lessons for about 3.5 years now and I love it!

I do cabaret style or Egyptian style as opposed to folkloric. So far I have performed in public on several occasions and once on television.

One of the nice things about bellydancing is that you don't have to be an athlete to do it. There have been women of every shape, size, height, weight and age in the classes that I have taken. You don't need any special equipment or exercise gear to do it. This is one class that I have stuck to since I enjoy the workout I get as well as learning something new.

I find it also gives many women more self confidence and makes them feel more comfortable with their bodies. I wish I had discovered bellydancing in high school! :lol:

I always feel energized and invigorated after dancing but I also feel like my mind is relaxed since I have to focus on movement and music rather than the other million things going on in my head - it is great stress relief :cloud9:

I am one of those people whose weight is mostly in their lower body and it is difficult for me to lose there but by bellydancing twice a week I have actually lost a few inches off my hips :cb:

For beginner's I would recommend wearing yoga pants or leggings with a t-shirt or sport tank - whatever you are most comfortable in- or one of those krinkle flowing Indian cotton skirts and a t-shirt. Add a pretty scarf or shawl tied around your hips and presto you are ready to go!

Most people dance in barefeet in the dance classes but some wear those inexpensive Chinese slippers or gymnastic shoes which I would recommend if you are dancing on your living room carpet so you don't get rug burn on your soles :lol:

I have the Neena and Veena exercise tapes and the Goddess Workout which are nice but I prefer the N&V ones.

aphil
07-26-2004, 10:36 AM
Hi Mauvais!
I totally agree with you about wishing that I had discovered it and started taking lessons in high school! My class was yesterday-and it was great. We do a lot of "drills" in class...just like football players do in practice before they actually start learning new plays or whatever. Our instructor has taught us drills to do-each to a different Middle Eastern "rhythm" that works on a different skill, and familiarizes us to recognizing the different ME rhythms. So-when we go to class-we all warm up before class starts-and when it does we jump right in to doing a few drills across the floor...and then we go on to working on choreography or a new step, etc.
Oh Mauvais-one of my performances was on tv as well. Totally forgot if you can believe that. :lol: We performed at the local Internationale Festivale and it televised on the area educational/public station. (The one that Sesame Street/Nova and stuff like that is on.) :D
I have great news! In September there is a workshop a few hours away with Dalia Carella (a big belly dancer who specializes in gypsy style) and there is a "Best Of The Midwest" belly dance show afterwards for dancers in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, etc. and I was asked to dance in it! :cb:
For those of you doing belly dance at home-test out the Veena and Neena vids and see if you like them. If you do-then try to find an area class-you won't regret it! If you don't have anything nearby-then after you are seasoned with those videos-I would be glad to recommend some to you that are a little more advanced/professional...even some beginning ones that use veils and finger cymbals! (I am gonna get you hooked... :D )
Have a great day everyone!
Aphil

jiffypop
07-26-2004, 11:35 AM
my gym offers a class... and i've been EYEING it, and have spoken to the instructor - who encouraged me to take it. but i've never been able to fit it in because my work schedule WAS so very very crazy and deadline driven. BUT i start a NEW job in a week or two, much more normal hours. much happier place. so THEN.. it looks like i can take the class!!!! oh my!!! maybe i'll get the instructor to come to a support group meeting!!! can't you just see it?? all those women a couple of weeks postop trying to shimmy??? maybe that would be too mean!

i've never been one for videos.. in fact i''ve never even been in a video store!!!!

and hatteras, you inspired me BECAUSE YOU'RE DOING IT!!!!. happily. with grace. and acknowledging that you don't have the perfect sculpted bod.

ok teapot... i'll go to the gym this week and check out the class schedule...

and aphil.. you COULD be developing into one of my idols...

and pssssstt.. could we not tell the weightlifters that i'm doing this?? /i'm supposed to be an iron-pumping sort of strong chick or something... not a flexible dancing sort of chick. not that i've ever actually danced in my life. but it's probably time to start. doncha think????

nelie
07-26-2004, 03:10 PM
Jiffy, don't worry, I'm also been doing the weight lifting thing. We can be strong and sensual at the same time.

aphil
07-26-2004, 05:24 PM
jiff-
I strength train 3 days a week full body...not the tiny 1 pound neoprene dumbells...but sculpting, body building stuff with heavier weights-5-15 pounds depending on the exercises. I utilize weights even when I do abwork.
I am a strong mama! :strong:
The thing is...I bet half of those body building women have no idea how heavy my sword is...or how much abdominal and back strength it takes for me to do some of the floorwork belly dance moves!
Belly dance incorporates so many different physical aspects when you really get into it...you learn flexibility, strength, cardiovascular stamina, balance, (floorwork/sword/cane dancing) and you also learn a lot about music-because you have to learn and recognize musical cues and such when you dance. If you play finger cymbals...you are dancing and playing a musical instrument at the same time. (Ask Mauvais what a fun task this is! :lol: ) And veilwork is GREAT for strengthening the shoulders and arms.
I love, love, love my strength training and do it religiously-but belly dancing has given me so many benefits beyond what the weight room can offer. Self confidence is a HUGE one. ;)

jiffypop
07-26-2004, 06:57 PM
ok ok ok. you have talked me into TRYING this. and really.. i've NEVER IN MY LIFE danced. <or gone into a video store> so many new things at once!!!

and much less expensive than a kayak!!!!!!

sweetnsassyfied
07-27-2004, 01:30 AM
okies okies i am getting off the "wishful thinking couch" too. ~smiling brightly~ for a little over a year i have been toying with this idea of belly dancing. knowing full well i would love it. i used to do another form of dance for a living and i swear some of my old dancer muscles twitched hoping to be used again just reading this thread. ~laughing~

i am going back to the states in a few weeks and scribbled down the titles of the beginer dvd's. could you please post a few advanced/ intermediate ones too. for i know i wont be back again till the "pass" is open ( winter is over ~grinz n winks~ )

thank you so much for starting a new thread perfect timing for me. recently we had eaten at a Persian restaraunt, it appeared the owners family had all gotten together to celebrate that night as well. a young girl of 12-ish had gotten up to dance. i was awed at the grace and fluidity of the movements as other family members joined in. soon the whole restaraunt was dancing, including the kookie american lady who was laughing, clapping, and thoroughly enjoying the evening. ( that was not a video camera i saw..........was it....... hopefully they will never hear of America's funniest home videos....~laughing~ )

i am really looking forward to this thank you again for this thread!

sincerely,
sassy who adores being a Tourist even when she isnt...........

HatterasMermaid
07-27-2004, 01:53 AM
HAD to check in and see what was going on with my BellyDancingBuds! :) YES, Jiffy! It is time that you danced! :) I'm so glad that you are gonna try this! This is one of many tapes that I do...but the only one that makes me grin and giggle and feel "exotic" while doing it! (Ok...my exercise ball makes me laugh...but trust me...THAT is farrrr from exotic! ) I thought of you gals on Saturday night as I was literally sweating with N&V and dancing my way around my living room! :) cut off sweat pants, tank top, discoduck arms and all! I love love LOVE that I can dance barefooted! :) (It is the little things that thrill me!)

I wanted to add that I do "The Firm" videos with 3, 5, and 10 pound weights. Not exactly the same kind of weight lifting that you are talking about.. BUT... the body sculpting with weights has made SUCH a difference! I "feel" my dancing after I'm done! This is a GOOD thing! :)

Finger cymbals?! Veils? Yeah, you made me grin! Sword?! Um, I need a LOT more REAL practice before we need to give me a weapon to dance around with! I've got to finish my housepainting project so that I can spend some time investigating a REAL class...gasp... did I really just THINK that?! YIKES! He he! Veils! Hmmmmm?!

Jiffy...my video was less than $10...I've not priced kayaks lately...but I'm thinking.....
hehehee!

ya'll take care!

HatterasMermaid
07-27-2004, 01:58 AM
Sassy...

I'm jealous.... you have old dancer muscles twitching!?! I just have OLD muscles that twitch! :) But...I'm trying! Soooo what form of dance did you "useta" do?! And do you still have those graceful "dancer arms"? My arms just twitch sorta too! hehehe!
Tell me what you were wearing at the restruant! My dchildren LOVE that show! I'll tell them to keep an eye out for you! LOL

take care!

aphil
07-27-2004, 10:05 AM
Hi everyone!
Just want to add that I am down another pound this week. ;)

Okay...here goes!

sweetnsassy-fomer dance experience, huh? Then you are in for a treat! :D Something that anyone with dance experience (jazz, ballet, clogging, tap dancing, square dancing, etc.) is going to notice right off is a major difference between most dance forms and belly dance. The biggest physical difference-is that in most dance forms the "dance" or the "expression" is done through the limbs. Cloggers and tap dancers have their arms flailing about...you got the Rockettes doing their high kicks...the ballerinas are one one leg posing in an arabesque with their arms held out in a perfect position...you have seen it all before. :dizzy: Belly dance is different in the fact that traditional dance primarily uses the limbs-with the core of the body being "secondary." You might hold good posture, or bend over, or twist your trunk during a turn....but your torso is not the "main event."

In belly dance-your torso is the "main event." Every move-even one that is using your legs, your arms, or such moves THROUGH your torso when done correctly. When you do snake arms correctly-if you pay attention, the wave does not stop where your arms meet your body. It goes completely through your shoulders and back all the way through to the other arm. You learn to completely isolate your chest, back, ribcage, obliques, and abdominal muscles aside from any other movement. After a few years you gain the control to move one portion of your abdominals with everything else remaining still...you gain the control to move your ribcage and chest up and down with "deep breaths" not being a factor. :lol: You learn a kind of control that no other dance form teaches.

So-I recommend the beginning videos for anyone-even those with other dance experience-because this is so different. I will give some more recommendations though!

*for safety's sake-you can try veil and finger cymbals at home...but I would not recommend swords, candles, cane, or snakes without the guidance of a trained professional instructor!*

There...that was my disclaimer. :lol:

Okay...beginner vids to try...
BellyDance Fitness For Beginners Basic Moves-Veena and Neena
BellyDance Fitness For Beginners Slim Down-Veena and Neena
Discover BellyDance Basic Dance-Veena and Neena
Atea's Magical Motion

and I'll add a few more...
go to www.rubyjazayre.com and order Ruby's videos. She is a great instructor that I have taken workshops with before...and her videos are great. They are geared towards someone wanting to learn belly dance more professionally-like to practice with along with taking a class. While it may be tempting to skip over it-her first video is a MUST-about posture and positioning and balance. You have to have the correct posture and foundation to dance correctly. This is something that is not talked about in the Veena and Neena videos...but it is touched on in Magical Motion. (I prefer Magical Motion as a beginner video over the V&N videos for this main feature!) You will NOT be disappointed with Ruby's videos!

Hmmmm...more...
If you want to play around with a veil....you might want to try The Goddess Workout with veils. It can be found at Borders bookstore and at Amazon.com and other more mainstream places. I am not to keen on her choreography and footwork in this video-but it teaches some basic things to do with a veil. My veil instructions are in the first post if you don't have one...or this video is also sold in a set at Amazon that comes with a veil already.

Today is my day to dance at home between my classes. I plan on working on some drills, going over some basics, and playing around with my finger cymbals.

You all have a great day.
Aphil

nelie
07-27-2004, 12:45 PM
I am skipping swimming today because tomorrow is the bellydancing class at my gym. I know that doesn't make much sense but I need to do weight lifting today, bellydancing tomorrow then weight lifting on thursday, otherwise it would've been swimming today, weight lifting tomorrow.

If I can get out of work on time, I am going to take the class. I called up my gym yesterday and asked how much per class and it is 2 dollars so that isn't bad at all and it'll give me a feel of what to expect.

deathbychoc
07-27-2004, 01:59 PM
Okaaaay. So I've been reading this thread with great interest because belly dancing seems really cool. For haha's, I checked online and found a place that offers classes the next town over! Who knew? So now I'm considering this crazy idea. But I have a question.

Do I need to wear those costumes? Quite frankly, I have a belly full of jelly and if my tummy is hanging out, it would be mortifying and dangerous. I don't know if I can do this if my stomach is all hanging out. Plus, I have stretch marks :( and it's not something the world needs to see.

I can't believe I am sitting here considering this.

~Lisa

aphil
07-27-2004, 02:29 PM
Honey...cute user name btw... :lol:

I have stretch marks. I had 9 and 10 pound babies...and there was NOTHING that was gonna prevent me from being mark free. The tips that I can offer on that front is to use a good cream/lotion and massage it into the belly and hips every day after your shower or bath. It really helps keep that area supple and will fade them a little over time-so that the texture blends in with the rest of the belly a little better. They won't go away-but they will look better.
Second-you wear costumes for performance. If you get to the level where you are performing for an audience. You aren't going to see anyone in head to toe sequins or chiffon in class. You can wear stretch/lycra pants...or yoga pants that are lycra like with looser legs...basically anything you would wear for any sort of workout. You can wear a sports bra if you want...or if you are more comfortable-you can wear a tshirt to cover your belly. I would recommend a tshirt a little more fitted though so that the teacher can see you chest/back/shoulders more clearly for posture. In classes they may sell hip wraps that have the coins or fringe or beads on them to put on over your regular workout gear-this just makes it more "fun" and adds that accent to your hip moves. Totally optional.
I dress like this for class...and save my harem pants, caftans, 10 yard skirts, and fancy choli tops for shows only.

Aphil

mauvaisroux
07-27-2004, 08:48 PM
I wear yoga pants, a t-shirt or lycra tank and wrap a small hip scarf around my hips for some jingles.

Some girls in my class wear those flowing "hippie" skirts (Indian cotton skirts) and a tee,
others wear lycra exercise pants with a t-shirt and a light crochet shawl tied around their hips. Whatever you feel comfortable in.

I save my heavy hip scarves and fancy costumes for performances.

I usually dance barefoot if the classroom has hardwood floors but if the classroom doesn't I wear gymnastic shoes - they are little slip on shoes that I got for $12.00 at a dance store.

Sassy- sounds like a fun night out! BTW I found you a "Mountie Moose" so please pm me with your address :lol:

aphil
07-28-2004, 09:41 AM
Yes-if you are ever dancing on a surface that is not good for the feet-they gymnastic slip on shoes are great. If you can't find any-some other options are a soft ballet slipper (split sole works best) or what they call "lyric sandals" which is what I use-and they are available at any online dance shop or dance supply store if you have one in your area. The lyric sandal doesn't cover your whole sole-it has a strappy look on top, and just provides coverage on the bottom of your foot where the "pressure" of your body weight is-like the ball of the foot. I have even seen some dancers use the tai chi/martial arts soft soled shoes. Really you just want something very flexible-so you have coverage but still can "feel the floor" under your feet...and you still have ample movement in the foot to flex/point your feet.

nelie
07-28-2004, 11:38 PM
I went to the bellydancing class at my gym tonight. It was pretty cool, I was sweating and it didn't actually seem like much was going on. I mean everything was mostly small movements which doesn't seem like much exercise but it was and my calves got a good workout. I'm definitely going to go again next week. Also, the dvd I ordered from amazon was shipped today so then I should have some fun this weekend.

sweetnsassyfied
07-29-2004, 04:53 AM
Hatteras i dont know if it was a twitch or a cringe n creak. but i Choose to acknowledge it as a twitch....... make that an excited twitch ~laughing~ the style or type of dance was more like " show-me-oh", jazzy, sensous, think Flashdance along those lines. sure wished i had kept it up, i wouldnt be in the shape that i am in if i had. sorry body o'mine..... ~blushes~ i repent!! might have to start stretching and do the more aerobic type dance for cardio ~ nodnodnodnod~

Aphil that is one of the main reasons i think i would enjoy bellydancing...... the controlled, isolated, sensual movements. just reading your words had me purring, yum........ i cant wait till september 20th to get here so i can begin. ~smiling brightly~ i'm yearning to get learning!

Mauvaisroux Thank Youuuuuuu!! pm-ing Pm-ing PM-ing........ not to be misconstrued with pms-ing. and since we are doing our best not to misconstrue..that is Mountie Moose, not Mounted Moose....... right?!? ~laughing~ okies on that note i better end this post here.........

Happy Dancing Ladies!

sinerely,
sassy

aphil
07-29-2004, 10:10 AM
sweetnsassyfied-
Ooh Flashdance, huh? ;) I have a background in jazz/modern and ballet dance from when I was a child/teen...I also have cheerleading background as well. When I started belly dancing it was like having to unlearn everything I ever learned about dancing...and relearning it a different way. You are definitely going to enjoy the ride though. Definitely!!! September 20, huh? :D

If any of you are interested in getting a hip scarf to use with your videos, or before your classes start-check out Ebay or:

www.dahlal.com
www.aliahscloset.com

Dahlal has some new ones in the Egyptian scarves that are longer for plus sized women-you have to click on the scarves and read the descriptions-I know a few say that. I have seen a few on Ebay that are longer for plus sizes as well. Scarves can vary from $20 with just a few coins or beads to shake around-to $100+ for a scarf that is long or fancy covered from head to toe in jingly finery. :lol:

If any of you are interested in a 'performance" video-a video of belly dance performances for you to watch to "wet your appetite" while you are getting into a class...there are a few mainstream ones out there that you can find at Borders or Suncoast video, etc. Bellydance Divas, Bellydance Superstars-I have seen both of these on dvd.

If you sew and would like to make your own costume items...some great patterns are from BD Patterns-they are much better than the Halloween Costume patterns in the fabrc stores. At the Dahlal site I mentioned above-they also have a "Dancer Designs" section that shows you how to make costume items out of veils/hip scarves/etc. from their site.

If anyone lives near a Renaissance Festival-contact them and see if they have any belly dancers performing. I know the Ohio and Georgia faires do...most do-you just need to find out when. It would be a good experience to see some live belly dancing if you are new to it.

Has anyone seen or tried the Jillina videos out now? They are out as mainstream videos-I saw them at Best Buy and at Amazon.com. I have not tried them yet-so I don't know if they are any good or not. If you have or do-let us know how they are-what all she teaches in them, etc. We'd all love to hear about them if you have experience with them! I know there are a few volumes...1-3 I THINK. There are also some new mainstream videos called Instant Belly Dancer-they are supposed to teach a few belly dance moves to use with your regular club/party dancing. I don't know if they are any good either...so if anyone tries these-please gossip! :gossip: :lol:

I also have the Goddess Workout with finger cymbals...as a review I give it a C. ha ha It does teach you how to play finger cymbals in a basic way-and she explains it well...but it is a really short video...and the dance choreography that goes with it isn't very good. It works though if you are only wanting to practice the finger cymbals part-but the dancing part is sorta :rolleyes: Too short to be an effective workout and not really all that great.
She has an interesting method for helping you remember the cymbal rhythms though...instead of telling you the musical terminology she says a silly phrase that matches it...but, hey-it works.

Hope you all are having a great day!

ps-guys-I saw pics of Mauvais from one of her dance performances and she is GORGEOUS!!!!!

mauvaisroux
07-29-2004, 03:52 PM
Aphil - you are making me blush :o

Thanks for the heads up on the Goddess zill workout tape. I have her two dance ones and the veil one too. I use the veil one to practice at home when I am not taking classes. I am currently off until September but trying to do tapes at home to stay in shape.

HatterasMermaid
07-30-2004, 03:31 AM
Hey ya'll! Just checking in! I've been sidetracked lately! Redoing a room in the house and trying to get a new teaching job! (Which I found out that I GOT this morning! Giggle, giggle!) I'm not giving up on the belly dancing... I've just been SOOO distracted by my "dancing" with my paintbrushes and going for interviews, etc!!! forgive me!

Flashdance! Whooohoooo! Go, Sassy! "What a feeling!" Leg warmers and all?! ;) I will spare you all my "Flashdance, 1983Dreams"! BUT...just know...the mere mention of this brings back thoughts that make me grin! :) If you were dancing like THAT...what on earth caused you to sit down?!

When I do my N&V tape, I tend to start out with all my clothes where they are supposed to be... ie, shorts or yoga pants and my sports bra. By the end of the tape I find myself pulling the waist of the pants down on my hips some so I can see or feel or WHATEVER my hip movement. (Remember...I'm at home alone! LOL) I can certainly see the advantage of having some sort of scarf tied there ...that way I can see the hip movement with no fear of dropping trou! Perhaps as I get my priorities straight and GET this dancing thing going on a regular basis... I will have to find something of this sort! I LOVE how feminine and exotic these scarves and outfits look!

Nelie! GOOD for you! So glad to hear that you tried it! Gonna go back?!

Enough babble from me!
take care!

aphil
07-30-2004, 10:03 AM
Hatteras-
congrats on getting the new job! :D Good for you!

Mauvais-yes, I have had the Dolphina zills vid for a while. zil teachings-B+....dancing along with it-D. Averaged out to a C. :lol:

Here is another video that is really good for beginning instruction if anyone is interested:

"Absolute Beginning Belly Dance with Delilah"

This is like the Ruby videos I mentioned earlier-not a mainstream video like V&N...but a professional dance video geared toward a beginner. This would be a great practice tape for someone taking a beginning class to do at home. I don't know the website right off hand-but I am sure if you punched the title in your search engine it will come up. :D

Some videos that I think are awful and a waste of money:

Belly Dancing for Fun and Fitness with Janine Rabbit

Sharqui The BellyDance Workout

Don't waste your hard earned cash. These videos want to be good...but they display way too much improper form and technique.

I have been feeling really inspired lately. We have a couple shows coming up in September. Me and a couple gals along with our troupe director are dancing in the Best Of The Midwest show...and our director will be doing the choreography...but we also have a performance in September at the local arts faire...and it is a half hour-45 minute set. I will be in the groupe dances...but most likely I will have a solo as well. I have been getting inspiration as far as what to choreograph for that. I am debating on basket balancing or double sword. Not sure yet...but I have some music narrowed down to 2-4 songs. I am also going to the Ohio Renaissance Festival this fall and am getting my wench belly dancer costume together so I can improv with the dancers there.

I have my class on Sunday...we are still working on drills and zills. It is our last class of the current session...I am not sure what we will work on next session. Our instructor does her intermediate and advanced classes in 8-10 week sessions...and when each one starts...we focus on a different aspect of dancing. Whatever she wants to focus on. Last session was improvisation-dancing to live music without choreography-figuring out on your own how to string your own moves together depending on the rhythm of the music-that sort of thing. The time before was chiftetelli rhythm...veil before that. I am curious as to what is next. :)

Happy dancing everyone!

suzie76
08-01-2004, 10:38 PM
Hi-can I join in?

My name is Sherry. I've been using bellydance videos/dvds at home since last year. In addition to Neena/Vreena, I also enjoy the Rania Bellydance for Weight Loss four dvd set, her Sensual Art of Bellydance (I may be messing up the title), Bellydance Jam (excellent instruction) , Jillina's instructional dvds and The Ultimate Bellydance Workout from Temple of jehan (New York bellydance company). You can see clips of some of Rania's on Collagevideo.com

There are reviews of most of these videos on amazon, but the prices at Deep Discount DVD are much cheaper, and they have free shipping.

Sherry-

Jiffypop-I'll be back on our board really soon-I started back to school and I've been really busy-missed you !

aphil
08-02-2004, 11:22 AM
Hi!
I am not familiar with any of Rania's bellydance workouts other than the titles...although I DO have her 10 minute quickies dvd. It isn't a bellydance workout though...more of a workout for bellydancers. *that made sense didn't it? :p * More like a body conditioning/strengthening workout to help a dancer. There...that sounded better. :lol: I do like that dvd though.

I am familiar with Rania as a dancer though. She performs cabaret style-and dances with a variety of props-cane, wings, sword, veil.

Yesterday was the last class in my current session. The next session f intermediate and advanced classes for me start in the beginning of September. I have a ton of rehearsals and private lessons the entire month of August however...we have to get prepared for September performances. The troupe dancers stayed after class was out yesterday-and we discussed the basic idea of what we are doing for the Best Of the Midwest show. We are doing a group sword balancing act...and it is a political type of song...so we are dressing more solemn rather than flashy. All in black choli tops, black harem pants, black coined scarves...and I am making see through chiffon (veil material) ghawazee folkloric styled tunics to go over them. Think...a big loose see through sleevless tank top that goes to mid calf length...in a muted color like metallic gray or antique gold...over top of the top and pants...then the hip scarf will be worn on top. Our bellies will show through the tunic material since the fabric is sheer.

Sherry-I have seen the Bellydance Jam vids at Amazon.com but have never actually "seen/viewed" them. Can you tell me about them? How long they are? What moves/isolations they teach? How are the instructors/backgrounds/music selection? Give us the goods. :lol:

Aphil

nelie
08-02-2004, 12:49 PM
On saturday, I received my Belly dancing video by Neena and Veena, the Basic moves one. I did it last night and I half expected that it wouldn't be a workout but just an overview of the moves but I did feel like I was working out some at least. I also had to put down my arms a couple times because they got tired of being up all the time. I did like it though and it really did help going to the class because I was more aware of isolating different parts/movements. I wish I had a mirror in my living room though when I was doing it so that I could see myself.

aphil
08-02-2004, 05:18 PM
The isolations you will find over time-may not look that strenuous-but they are.Snake arms really work the triceps and the shoulders...and the ribcage work really works the middle back and the sides of the waistline!

suzie76
08-02-2004, 05:49 PM
Hi,

Here is a link to the Bellydance Jam website. There are clips and descriptions of the dvd:

http://www.bellyqueen.com/index.html


Also, Natural Journeys (who release the Neena/Vreena dvds) are coming out with new workouts in the next few months. Check their website at NaturalJourneys.com under "Coming Soon"

Hope that helps!
Sherry

mauvaisroux
08-03-2004, 04:08 PM
Those tapes sound interesting - thanks for sharing! :)

Aphil - your outfits sound cool! :cool:

fedmae
08-06-2004, 03:40 AM
I just signed up for a belly dancing class after seeing a performance at a festival. It starts in September. I ll keep you posted on how it goes.




Fedmae

mauvaisroux
08-06-2004, 08:22 AM
I am sure you will have fun :) I was hooked after one session and here I am almost 4 years later still doing it!

aphil
08-06-2004, 09:53 AM
Hi!

I just found out that the piece we are dancing at the Best Of The Midwest is called "Kirya." I got together part of the troupe costume stuff last night.

I am also making a costume for my instructor that also needs to be finished before that date. (I am a professional costume maker by trade and the costume maker for our troupe as well) It is called an "assuit" costume. That means that the skirt, and bra top are made out of assuit fabric-which is a stiff sheer fabric (kindof net-like) that has little bits of thin silver metal actually woven into it-making designs. You can see some assuit fabric/costumes at:

www.liquidsilverdesigns.com

I would like to get a picture up here next month of it when it is finished. :)

The morning of the Midwest show-Dalia Carella is holding a workshop that I am attending that day. I have seen a few of her videos...and have heard some wonderful things about her dancing. She does a lot of fusion belly dance-such as gypsy style. I am excited to learn from her that day! I love workshops so much-my instructor is absolutely wonderful-but every dancer after a while develops their own style...their own preference in moves, music, etc. and it is nice a couple times a year to learn from someone who does things totally different than what you are normally exposed to for a change.

I found out I am vending at two workshops over the next two months. One the end of August, and the other in September sometime. I am going to attend the Ohio Renaissance Festivale in October and while we are there I am planning on watching the Naughty Navals at while I am there. (The belly dance group who originally got me inspired for all of this a few years ago!)

So-it looks like I am going to be a busy bee the next couple months! ;)

How is everyone doing it at home liking their new videos? For those taking classes-how are you liking them? What are you learning?

As for me and what I usually practice with at home...I usually practice at home with the Veena and Neena Slim Down, or Atea's Magical Motion/Fast Moves/Slow Moves videos, Fat Chance Belly Dance Tribal Basics (American Tribal Style), Dolphina Goddess Workout with veils (for veils practice), and then I have other videos that I use now and then-for finger cymbals, sword, drum solos, and other basic videos.

Mauvais-if you are interested in a video for cane practice-I found one! It is called "Egyptian Belly Dancing For Intermediates" by Hillary Thacker. She teaches Egyptian flirty type moves-really loose and lots of hips-and teaches some basic cane practice at the end of it. It is sort of hard to find-but check around online if you are interested. Cane videos are hard to come by! I found mine by chance on Ebay. :lol:

Can't wait to hear about how everyone is liking their videos and classes!

Aphil

nelie
08-06-2004, 01:15 PM
I went to my second class on Wednesday and it was pretty good. The teacher is pretty good about showing you simple moves and then more advanced moves if you are comfortable with the beginning moves. I am doing pretty good as long as things stay slow ;) Once things start going faster, all **** breaks lose and my body is doing things I don't think it should. I haven't had a chance to do my dvds since the first time I tried them, but I'm hoping I'll get a chance this weekend.

TerryT
08-12-2004, 11:01 PM
After reading this thread, I checked around and found some classes in my neighborhood. A new one started August 4th, but I was not motivated to take it yet. I plan to take the one starting in September. She has classes starting every month. I think she said her beginners class was every week for 4 weeks. I just hate to have everyone see my body in spandex! She said no loose clothes so she could be sure we move correctly. Actually I found her class from the Belly Dance link. I hope to be motivated in September. I really do not like exercise.

mauvaisroux
08-12-2004, 11:40 PM
Thanks Aphil!

Glad you enjoyed your classes nelie! :D

Terry - I am sure you will enjoy yourself. Why don't you try yoga pants? They are comfortable but not as form fitting as spandex but your teacher will still be able to see you move.

aphil
08-13-2004, 09:58 AM
Yeah-Wal-Mart or about any large retailer sells the yoga style pants. That is what I wear for class also-they are form fitting through the waist and hips-but flare out a little looser through the legs. I think it gives a slimmer look. If you are uncomfortable with wearing a crop top-a lycra blend athletic tank top should be form fitting enough for her to see your chest and ribcage work. I hope you enjoy it! It is a good workout...but fun!

I have some news on the belly dance front...first-I tried the Jillina instructional dvd level 1. This was actually tough-more geared towards the intermediate level dancer that is familiar with all of the basic moves. She runs through a quick 10 min. run down of basics-shimmies, snakes, shoulder shimmies, hip lifts, figure 8s...and then goes directly into putting them into combinations. She doesn't go slow! She goes right into it-and you better keep up! :lol: This is more like what we do in my intermediate/advanced classes...I was thinking in my head-"Wow-she is going QUICK...if this is level 1...what is level 2 & 3 going to be like? :lol: " It is more of a choreography video as well-the point in it is not to learn basic bellydance moves and practice them-it is to learn certain moves put into combinations-then putting those combinations into a choreography to a certain song. I would recommend this video for someone who has a lot of experience and time with other "beginning videos" to learn all the moves first-because this would be too fast for your first belly dance video. There are some really cute choreography combinations in it though that would be great to throw into your own choreography in the future. It definitely has some merit to it. Plus-she uses some popular belly dance music-such as Hakim in it.
It has a nice set-a hardwood floor with lots of nice rugs and tapestries to warm the place up. Very pretty...not "sterile" like some videos are. I enjoy a video with pretty things to look at. :) It is a good video when you want to use all of the basic moves that you know and learn how to combine them into a "dance." She is darn cute too...long red hair with little bangs and snow white skin. There is nice performance footage of her doing the dance in full costume at the end of the video as well as an added bonus.

We had our first rehearsal Tuesday night for the Best Of The Midwest show...and we started the choreography. I found out that during this piece (a 9 woman sword balancing act) that a few of us are going to go away from the group during it and do a mini solo...and I am one of the soloists! :dance:
Actually-I am the first one! :D So far-the whole group goes out at certain times and gets into their positions...and then I pretty much make my grand entrance onto the stage and start doing some balancing...then I cycle back into the group and my instructor goes out for her solo part. I am pretty excited about it all. During my part I am doing some knee balancing with some plies...some ribcage work and belly rolls...YIPPEE! I finally get to perform belly rolls!

I am meeting her at the fabric store today to pick up fabric for part of our costumes. I have the belt and skirt done for her assuit costume I am making...when the bra is done I'll take some pics and get them up here for you to see.

TerryT
08-14-2004, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the info on the yoga pants. That may be more my style. I am sure it is a fun class, but I m not very coordinated, so I may not be able to keep up.

aphil
08-15-2004, 12:02 AM
Don't worry...the thing about a live class that differs from doing it at home with a video-is that if you aren't getting something-the instructor can come over and correct you or show you how to do something properly-rather than you just trying to keep up. The basic isolations are usually taught in basics pretty thoroughly as well-so you learn the basic moves before throwing them together into a dance of some sort.
If you have trouble with something-don't despair. Everyone has trouble with something. One person may do beautiful snake arms-but have trouble learning to play zils...another person may be able to do all of the moves easily-but may be corrected a lot on her posture-we all have something that is tough for us. :D