"My first idea of movement, of the dance, certainly came from the rhythm of the waves." - Isadora Duncan
Sensuality and exoticism: bellydancing can be highly seductive!
Due to natural timidness or lack of dance knowledge, many students shy away from oriental dance styles.
However, belly dancing is the perfect exercise for losing weight, toning your body and learning about Eastern culture. In just a few hours, you can grasp the basics of this captivating dance from the Middle East.
Follow our tips to start belly dance classes!
What Are the Benefits of Bellydancing?
Get to Know and Accept your Body
Practise belly dancing to feel confident in your own skin.
According to an Australian study from 2014, belly dancers tend to be more body confident than Latin dancers.
Indeed, in oriental dance, all body types are accepted: women of slim build can flaunt their flat belly while women with curves can exploit their shape to bring out their sensuality.
Although beginners in belly dancing are often shy about showcasing their bodies, they quickly change their mind after a few dance lessons, discovering the beauty of this style and the crucial element to belly dancing: self-acceptance.
What's more, belly dancing is great for learning how to dance while studying the human body. Good understanding of human physiology is essential for gaining self-confidence!
Unlike country or Madison dancing, you'll have to leave your shoes at the door to be able to connect directly with the ground.
Tone your Body with Belly Dancing
One hour of belly dancing can burn up to 400 calories!
Yes, oriental dancing is well known for being a wonderful weight-loss technique. Thanks to the graceful movements of belly dancing, women can tone their bodies and strengthen their muscles.
This oriental dance works the:
- Back muscles,
- Gluteal muscles,
- Abdominal etc.
In addition to helping students lose weight, belly dancing is recommended for period pain, lower back pain and reducing cellulite or orange peel skin. Belly dancing is also you're best friend when it comes to personal well-being and mental health: an hour of oriental dance lessons (nicknamed "dance of joy") relieves tension, reduces anxiety and improves your mood!
African dance, a slightly different style, also burns a lot of calories!
Find belly dance classes in London.
The Different Styles of Oriental Dance
If you thought there was only one type of oriental dance, think again!
Originating from the Middle East, belly dancing is widely practised around the world. There are now a variety of styles of belly dancing from South Asia, America and Africa available in Oriental dance schools.
Before embarking on their first dance class, students must choose between these different dance styles. Our advice: take a trial class at a dance school or centre to try out several styles before choosing the one for you.
Rhythm, musical style, origins, slow or fast-paced: the choice is up to you!
A few examples of oriental dance styles:
- Raqs Sharqi,
- Tango- oriental,
- Egyptian belly dance,
- Tribal-oriental, etc.
The sports equipment needed depends on the dance style being taught. A range of accessories can be used, such as veils, candlesticks, fans or even canes. Generally, it is the belly dance teacher who provides these props, but students can also get the necessary equipment from specialist stores online to be able to recreate the dance at home!
It's nothing like Irish dancing, that's for sure!
The Basic Moves in Oriental Dance
To learn the basics of belly dancing, let's take a look at the different steps for beginners!
First of all, before a dance class, the belly dancer should do some form of warm-up for at least five minutes.
Legs slightly separated and hands on hips, the student needs to work their neck muscles from front to back, right to left in small circular motions.
It's a good idea to warm up the neck to avoid injury during the dance lesson!
Then comes the first round of basic dance steps:
- The shoulder drop: open your arms with your elbows slightly bent, then move the left shoulder forward, and repeat with the right shoulder,
- The figure of eight: make a figure of eight with your pelvis while lifting your hips in a semi-circle, legs apart,
- The trembling legs: make regular and fast movements with your knees to warm-up the lower part of the body,
- The Zoheir Zaki: move your hip up and down keeping your legs perfectly straight in a lateral movement,
- The pelvic move: tighten the abdominals by bringing the pelvis backwards slightly, then sharply bringing it forward with your gluteal muscles.
The basic steps of belly dancing can be easily mastered after just a few belly dance classes.
Nevertheless, this type of dance requires precision and skill: you'll have to wait a few months before being able to perfectly perform the more complex moves and go from beginner to intermediate level.
Some of these steps can be found in Indian dances.
Tips for Starting Oriental Dance Lessons
Here are some basic belly dance moves to unleash the Shakira in all of us.
Check out our Zumba classes too!
Videos to Help you Learn the Foundations in Oriental Dance
The future professional dancer can perfectly make an introduction to the oriental dance thanks to the dance classes online!
In our digital age, there are hundreds of websites which specialise in online dance classes, with numerous styles of oriental dance (Egyptian dance, Arabian dance, Indian dance).
To become self-taught, belly dancers can look to experienced dancers who upload free educational videos to the Internet.
To learn belly dance choreography, trust these expert YouTubers in the field:
- Good King Roughs
- Cassandra Fox
- Belly Dancer Isabella
- Shahrzad Belly Dance
- Coco Berlin
- Darina Konstantinova
- Sparkly Belly
- Marta Korzun
- Alla Smyshlyaeva
Always have a belly dance class in the diary by downloading a dance app for your phone!
With these free applications, students can learn the basics of belly dancing and track their progress by training for only a few minutes every day.
Videos are a great way to continue your belly dance lessons at home!
It is even possible to mix oriental dance with flamenco, creating an your very own fusion.
Take a Trail Belly Dancing Class
Nothing beats the advice of a professional choreographer when learning traditional oriental dances!
In a rhythmic class, the belly dance teacher will be able to share their passion for dance through sharp moves, a rhythmic adapted to oriental music and the teaching of a choreographic sequence for all levels.
Muscle toning, undulations and even improvisation: nothing is left out during group classes or private dance lessons.
Learning oriental dance with a dance teacher is a must to really master this art and organise a dance show or an opening sequence solo or accompanied by oriental dancers.
To take oriental dance classes, there are several options available:
- Get a home dance teacher advertised online,
- Find a private dance teacher through word of mouth,
- Take belly dance lessons at a communal or inter-communal organisation,
- Take lessons at a belly dance school,
- Take lessons at a dance association,
- Take private dance lessons through a private tutoring agency,
- Do oriental dance lessons via webcam,
- Take classes for children, teens or adults at a leisure centre.
With Superprof, it is up to the student to choose their oriental dance teacher. It is important to bear in mind your personal criteria (price, location, dance style, level of expertise, etc.) to find your perfect match!
The average price for an hour of oriental dance lessons is approximately £32 on Superprof!
Find belly dance classes at affordable rates: our teachers usually have discounted offers for regular students.
In addition, over 92% of our Superprofs don't charge for the first hour of classes. So, why not take advantage of a free belly dancing class?
Go ahead and get ready to shake your hips to the rhythm of the oriental music!
Read more about Spanish dancing!