A bowlful of jelly? Not!Toronto Star - Ontario, Canada, Sunday, 2 March 2008
Professional belly dancer Hannan Sultan offers tips to integrate dance and movement into busy days during a hectic time of year. Why not shimmy with your sister, uncle or grandma at a family get-together?
Much like the two-step done to rock music, Middle Eastern women do a relaxed hip-drop to belly dance music that accents the beat. To do it, put most of your weight on a softly flexed standing leg. The other leg is bent with the ball of the foot touching the floor. On that side, lift and slightly twist the hip forward. When the hip lifts, the opposite knee bends; when the hip goes down, the opposite knee straightens. That knee movement will keep your head from bobbing. Try keeping a beat with your hip. Alternate hips to prevent straining one side.
The shimmy is a hallmark of belly dancing, and a good shimmy looks loose and controlled – a bad shimmy looks like you've hit a shorted-out string of Christmas lights. Start with your pelvis in a neutral position. Keep your legs and hips relaxed. Bend and straighten the legs slowly at first and then build speed to a slight but fast bounce. When everything shakes, that's a good thing! Now, isolate the vibration to the hips and you'll burn calories.
Belly dancing, so fluid and sensual, perfectly suits the figure 8 hip movement that stretches the trunk and improves core strength. Imagine an "8" on the floor and follow it with your hips. The hips move from being over the right little toe, to the right foot's edge, then twisting back to the heel. Then slide the hips so the weight is over the left little toe, the left foot's edge, then the heel. You'll love how rich this looks.
Ready for lessons? Check out hannandance.com
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