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Belly Dance Your Way Into Skinny Jeans

Belly Dancing

Written by Kristin Close

Belly dancing is something of a contradiction. It’s not just about your belly. Rather, every part of the body is involved in the dance, especially the hips. This dance is a great calorie burning workout, as well as a way to have fun and improve your health. With tips from Aphrodite, you will be able to belly dance your way into this season’s skinny jeans!

Most of the movements in belly dancing involve isolating different parts of the body—hips, shoulders, chest, stomach, etc. In most belly dance styles, the focus is on the hip and pelvic area.

Belly dancing, being a non-impact, weight-bearing exercise, is suitable and extremely beneficial for all ages. A good form of exercise, this type of dancing improves flexibility of the torso, helps prevent osteoporosis, relieves menstrual problems, reduces stress, and prepares women for childbirth.  

Now that we know the benefits of this art form, here are three of the most important belly dancing moves you need to know before attending class:

Shiver or Shimmy– a shimmering vibration of the hips. This vibration is usually layered onto other movements to create depth in performance. The simplest shimmy is created by moving the knees past each other at high speed, but contractions of the glutes, thighs or lower back may be used instead to create different qualities of movement. The shimmy can be performed in different directions - up and down, side-to-side, or in a forward and back swinging motion. The same move can be performed using the chest and shoulders, sometimes called a shoulder shimmy.

Hip hits – A staccato movement of the hips out from the body. This can also be performed using other body parts such as the shoulders or chest. Isolating the hip area, contracting your gluteus maximus, and moving the hips up or down usually achieve the move. The dancer's weight can either be distributed across both legs or on one leg with the toes of the other foot pointed.

Undulations – Fluid movements of the hips, chest and abdominal muscles in a circular or rotating fashion. There are a wide variety of movements of this kind, of which the most well known is probably the rotating movements of the chest forward, up, back and down, creating the impression of riding a camel.

You’re almost there! Now that you know the vocabulary, you can book a class at your local gym, dance studio, or private session.

For your first few belly dance classes, your major concern should be your dance attire. You need to wear form-fitting clothes, like a comfortable knit top and slacks/shorts or workout clothes. You and your teacher need to see your muscles work. The next most important item you will need is a hip sash (or scarf). This helps you isolate your hips from your waist and torso. It also makes noise, which will help you and your teacher see and hear your hips moving. Though you can dance barefooted, bring a pair of socks for your feet to help you execute turns and pivots. Bare feet perspire and tend to stick to the hardwood floor.

Now you know everything you need to know about belly dancing! Get your girls and together you can belly dance your way into skinny jeans (and last year’s jeans).


*All photos courtesy of ImageSearchPro