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Old 01-20-2013, 07:13 PM   #1
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Where are the bellydancers here?

Ok, so I used to think bellydancing was something to blush about as if it were on par with pole dancing or something. But about a year after an acquaintance became really vocal on FB about her love for bellydancing, I reconsidered. Did you know it probably actually developed as a way to prepare women for pregnancy and labor? And that it is a way for women to celebrate together? And is performed at weddings with the belief that it helps make the couple fertile? Now I think of it much more as a female bonding sort of ritual (I'm looking forward to doing it with a friend who thinks it might be a good homeschool exercise for her daughter), although some moves can definitely be sexy.

I used to be an uber-muscular workout queen (I mean, I had nicknames based on my muscle mass) who would have scoffed at bellydancing just b/c of its slower pace. But illness has sidelined me so that a little bellydancing actually is quite a workout on a good day (and who knew all of those intricate core muscles we have--not the old me!). I also love how it helps me care for my back, tones my abs without awkward sit-ups, and eases my monthly period.

So I'm kind of a fan and wondered if anyone else here was . I'm very short on rhythm and coordination, but I'm developing more coordination as I go and am enjoying it at my own pace. My chiropractor says that I'm stronger. And he is amazed at the flexibility of my core; he says that it is truly unusual. When he's cracking my back he can shake me like a rag doll, lol.

I'm having one problem, though, that I'm hoping an initiated party can help me with. It's with the shimmy. I tried a number of styles of shimmy back when I was searching the internet and using free video clips (hip shimmies, choo choos, etc.). I find that most of the shimmies are easy so long as there is energy to pull them off. However, the video that I bought is purely Egyptian style, and Egyptian shimmies (or "knee shimmies") are by far the hardest to pull off. I'd love some tips on how to do Egyptian shimmies without killing my knees. I can inconsistently do a basic Egyptian shimmy okay, at least for a little while, but they do quickly strain my knees. And I find that I cannot "layer" them at all. (Layering means that you are moving with the shimmy, layering it on top of circles, walking, figure eights, etc.) I have progressed to intermediate skills in all areas except for the shimmy. With the shimmy I cannot even do the second half of the beginner's portion of the video. Taking a live class is not at all an option for me.

Any tips?

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Old 01-21-2013, 10:10 AM   #2
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

I am a pre-beginner, but I'm enjoying it! I can't help with your question though, sorry!

I am/was a dancer - ballet, tap, jazz - and loved it. Recently have been trying to move more and have found some bellydancing workouts on youtube - but bellydancing is HARD! I'm loving it, but I've never felt so uncoordinated in my life!
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:59 AM   #3
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

I never took dance or played sports (inner city when I was young compounded by amish type dress), so I really have terrible coordination. But I figure I'm the only one who has to enjoy it. I can do most of the moves--doing them at the right tempo... well, it's over-rated . Hahaha!

I'm guessing that if you already took dance you may be calling yourself "pre-beginner" for actually being in a similar level as myself. I'm using Leila's beginning bellydance DVD, and so I'm in the intermediate (integrated moves) portion of a beginner's video really. I'm a bit far out from putting actual dances together, although I had learned a short dance that was online a while back (from twin sisters who were actually teaching really bad technique, so I'm trying to scrub my brain of that).

Anyhow, Leila is really quite good, although she might seem too slow to someone with a dance background. In time I would like to supplement this video with one of Sadie's videos who is supposed to be quite comprehensive but who jumps into putting movements together faster than I could possibly handle at present.

Glad to find someone else here who is enjoying the challenge
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:13 PM   #4
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

Interesting!! I'm glad to know some names to look for and one to look out for! ;-) I have just been dancing along with various youtube people, I have no idea if the technique is good or not!

and yeah, it'd definitely fun! and I'm the only one who has to watch me! Maybe some day I'll show DH....
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:24 PM   #5
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

Shimmies are hard, they take a long time to develop the endurance to do them. I used to belly dance all the time and when we moved didn't find any local dancers, so I haven't practiced in a while. I do remember that it took about 6 months of practicing to get really good at doing a prolonged shimmy. My teacher advised us to do it slowly at first. 1. to build up knee strength and 2. to use correct movements.

So do the shimmy slowly at first. If you are using a video, pause it and do it at your speed, and keep practicing until you build up speed and endurance.

I loved belly dancing and really miss it. I should get a DVD and do it again.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #6
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

Sakari, the acquaintance who got me interested in bellydance has actually gotten good enough that she has performed publicly with her class yet has never danced in front of her own husband. She's more self-conscious about that. Lol. But I think the confidence bellydance has given her has probably carried over to his benefit nonetheless . If you put "Sadie Ultimate Bellydance" or something like that into youtube, you could sample the last woman I mentioned. Leila is not on youtube at all though. I was trying to work off of online snippets at first too (the first month or so). Portia from bellymotions in Miami was easy to follow, although her posture advice was questionable. The twins give you good exercise but poor instructions and technique. A good hunk of the others I saw out there were actually intermediate level video clips to work on tricky or fast moves that are likely problem areas for those taking classes. If you're looking at those you are definitely going to feel like a klutz, lol.

Rumblepurr, thank you for the advice! I appreciate that it took you six months. I've only been doing this as able for several months and wasn't trying the egyptian shimmy the first month or two of it at all. So I guess I have time to learn. I'm having trouble with my knees or ankles locking up and being painful and hard to walk on the day afterward. Hence, I rarely even get the practice in. So what you're saying about just moving the legs back and forth slowly for a while might be good.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

i think i may give this a try!
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:01 PM   #8
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

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Originally Posted by momof3boys1girl View Post
i think i may give this a try!
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:03 PM   #9
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

i added it to my cart on amazon have zero funds and am sick with mastitis but a mama owes me 10 so when she pays me im so ordering. By the time it gets here should be up and feeling better(i hope).
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:03 PM   #10
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Re: Where are the bellydancers here?

Feel better soon!
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