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?
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!
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."
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.
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:
(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:
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!