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How to Belly Dance

Okay, so you can shimmy and you can shake, but you ain’t seen nothin’ until you’ve seen a skilled belly dancer strut her stuff. Here are a couple of basic belly-dancing moves to awaken your inner Shakira…


  • Step 1: Listen Listen to the music and make sure you can make out the beat.
  • Step 2: Position body Start with your feet parallel and one foot apart. Your spine should be straight, your abdominal muscles slightly flexed, your knees unlocked, your shoulders gently pulled back, and your chin raised a bit above its normal level.
  • Step 3: Position arms Bend your arms slightly at the elbow, raising them until they are at chest level. Then bend your wrists, which will raise your hands a bit.
  • Step 4: Position hands Allow your hands to be loose, and lift the little fingers and forefingers.
  • Step 5: Shift feet Slide your left foot about six inches forward, then lift your heel as far as you can so you’re on the ball of your left foot. Over 50 percent of your weight should be on your back leg.
  • Step 6: Do some hip drops Now for some hip drops. Lift your left hip slowly by contracting the abdominal muscles on your right side. Keep your head held evenly by allowing your right knee to bed a little and your left knee to straighten a little.
  • Step 7: Hold your hip up Hold your lifted hip for two counts.
  • Step 8: Drop your hip down For the next two counts, drop your hip sharply by letting your contracted abdominal muscles release and using your pelvic muscles to force your hip down lower than it was when you started.
  • Step 9: Repeat on opposite side Now try it on your right side. Place your feet parallel again, about a foot apart, slide your right foot forward, then lift your heel so you’re on the ball of your right foot.
  • Step 10: Do a hip drop Now do the hip drop, this time allowing your right hip to raise and drop.
  • Step 11: Prepare to shimmy Now you’re going to shimmy. Start with your feet side by side, your arms out at chest level, and your hands in the same position as before.
  • TIP: Shimmying works best with music that has a rapid beat.
  • Step 12: Bend your left knee Bend your left knee. Your right hip will lift. Straighten your left knee.
  • TIP: Be sure not to lock your knees at any point during the dance.
  • Step 13: Bend your right knee Now bend your right knee, letting your left hip rise. Then straighten the knee again. The key to this move is to concentrate on it coming from your knees, not your hips.
  • Step 14: Shimmy Slowly alternate bending your knees, allowing your opposite hips to rise, then gradually speed up until you are doing this as fast as you can. You now know how to shimmy with the best of them!
  • FACT: When I Dream of Jeannie was on the air in the late 1960s, NBC had a 'No Navel Edict,' so star Barbara Eden’s outfit, exotic as it was, did not show her belly button.

You Will Need

  • Some spaceu2014a chunk about six ft. in diameter should do it
  • A large mirror
  • Privacyu2014so youu2019ll feel comfortable letting go
  • An outfit that bares your belly and hips
  • A few scarves or a shawl to drape around your hips
  • Belly-dancing music
  • Bells or coins sewn onto clothes to make a sultry jingle

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