That is quite an interesting question because it insinuates that belly dancing would be easy. But why actually? Bellydance is many times perceived as a kind of recreational dance where people follow the leader and where you will shift through the levels in a short amount of time simply because the school has limited opportunity. The truth is that not many Bellydance schools are actually able to provide a full curriculum at University level where Bellydance dance is coming close to the Classic Ballet education programs.
To be a professional performer in other disciplines requires years of dedication, practice and development. Then why do we think belly dance is different?
In the course of this article it will become clear why belly dancing is difficult and why you need a trained body and you can't get away with shaking and jumping around happily.
I regularly have students who take a trial class at my dance school and then they are pleasantly surprised at what is involved. Students start with building strength, stamina, flexibility, basic posture and dance elements.
It starts with Home Position
Let's dissect a basic step and find out which muscles are involved to perform it. This will give you a better understanding of how the muscles within the body work together to perform and hold a movement … or rather to sustain it.
But before you can perform the most simple dance step, you will need a good understanding and performance ability of Home Position . The basic posture in belly dance from which all belly dance movements are performed is called Home Position. Feet are flat and parallel, toes pointed forward (Jazz first), knees bent (plié), pelvis in the middle and neutral, your core is active. The arms are overhead with the elbows and wrists slightly bent (fifth arm position).
Different muscles are used to perform this position. I will limit myself to the primary movers also called the agonists. The primary mover is the muscle or muscle group that ensures that you can make the movement.
Home Position - Exercise 1
Stand in Home Position with your arms in fifth position.
Primary movers: calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, core, erector spinae (back stretchers), deltoideus, trapezius, serratus anterior, rhomboideus
Did you know?
Now that we know what Home Position is and have seen what it involves, we can move on to a basic step. An example of a basic dance step is walking in relevé.
How do you perform a relevé? From a standing position you come to demi-point. When you, as a dancer, stand on the ball of the foot with the instep fully extended, this is called demi-point. You can do it with your feet parallel or turned out.
The word relevé literally means “lifted up again” .
Why you can't keep up with the Relevé
The deployment will not be a problem because you are full of energy the moment you go into relevé but holding on is often the problem I see happening on the dance floor. The dancers are not halfway there when the beautiful relevé that was deployed high on demi-point has sagged to halfway to the floor with the heels just floating above the floor and the instep making only a slight slope. When I see this happening I hear Miss Salimpour in my head "Are you still in relevé or are you in flattevé?" Keeping it instant is therefore the problem that is not only caused by lack of muscle strength but also balance.
Relevé with arms in fifth position - Exercise 2
From the Home Position you now lift your heels off the ground and you come to relevé. Please note that everything we did in exercise 1 still applies, only a little bit is added because you are on relevé.
Primary movers: ankle stability, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, core, erector spinae (back stretchers), deltoideus, trapezius, serratus anterior, rhomboideus
Did you know?
Wake Up call!
A simple everyday training that will not cost you extra time is brushing your teeth on 1 leg.
Do this for four weeks and you will be really amazed at the progress!
Watch it and participate, free exercise
And while I was writing this blog I thought how nice it would be if there would be a video, one that visualizes it.
Home Position Belly Dance
And that's why cross training is important
Because a dance class is mainly about dance, there is little time to develop balance, stability, strength and flexibility while you need it so badly. In myprevious blog I explained why cross training is important. In the video that goes with this post I give away free exercises that you can do at home to improve your stability. And if you want to use cross training in the right way for your belly dance, my Train Like a Dancer program will soon go online. Train Like a Dancer is specific to Belly Dance and Fusion for the entire body on strength, condition, stability and flexibility. But actually everyone can benefit from it, even if you don't dance.
 (Level 1 Study Guide, Salimpour School)
 (bron: Klassieke Ballettechniek)
The following source was used for this blog post:
Fysiotherapie B.D. van Gelderen
Hello! My name is Nargis!