The erotic Arabic belly dance conjures up images of Scheherazade and an Arabian night under a swaying palm tree in the desert with the camels grazing nearby. According to Wellesley College, belly dancing can be traced back to the 12th century. This dance is designed for the female body with an emphasis on the abdominal muscles and includes hip and chest gyrations. Sana Belasrya, a belly dancer in Casablanca, says that Arabic dancing is an effective way to get into shape and that the basic moves are not difficult to learn, but require practice. The basic steps concentrate on the abdomen, ribcage, arms and head.
Staccato Hip Moves
Start with staccato hip moves. These movements include hip twists, where you roll your pelvic area around in a circle. Follow it with a thrust so that you go from slow and sensual to bump and grind. Gyrate your hips in an up and down manner. These steps are also known as shimmying.
Rolling Hip Moves
Move on to the basic rolling hip moves. Here you do figure eights while keeping your focus on your abdominal area. It may be difficult at first, but keep at it. Do a circle that is wider than the one you did for the staccato moves. Next, work on a vertical hip circle. Think circle, but instead of going around and around, go up and down. Shift your weight from one foot to the other as you do these moves.
Rib Cage Moves
Involve your upper body. Circle your ribcage while keeping your lower body still. Include diagonal moves -- as in back and forth -- and vertical moves. Feel as though you are riding a camel as you do these moves, because the motions are similar. Be sure to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground and to bend your knees slightly to maintain centered balance.
Add arm moves. Imitate the waves on the ocean with your arms. Once you have mastered that, go on to shoulder rotations and reduce the arm waves to ripples.
Include head slides. Pretend that your head sits on top of your elastic neck like a ball that can rotate in various directions. The head moves are all done slowly, as too much speed or sharp moves could lead to injuries.
- Wellesley College Belly Dancing Society: The Art of Belly Dancing
- Sana Belasrya; Belly dancer; Casablanca, Morocco
- Magical Mothion: Learn Belly Dancing: The Core Belly Dancing Moves and Steps
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images