How to dance with hips

The Cuban Motion + Hip Exercises to Loosen Those Hips – Yami Dance Shoes

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Latin dance is all about making smooth moves with the whole body. And depending on the dance style, Latin dance does require lots of hip action. 

Cuban motion is a part of Latin dance that highlights the movement of the hips and the waist. Also known as the Latin hip action, this technique isn’t just about looking sexy on the dance floor. It’s about how the hip movements capture the sensuality of Latino rhythm. With your hips, you can express romance, sensuality, power. 

The thing with the Cuban motion is that some people can execute it right away, and others take more training to get it right. Maybe you can’t concentrate the movement on the hips, or the action itself isn’t as smooth as you’d like. It’s frustrating when you have to spend more time perfecting the technique, but once you get the hang of it, your performance will look absolutely smashing on the dance floor.  

Both men and women could use Cuban motion to elevate their performance. But women have wider hips and narrower waists, so the movements are more noticeable. It will take practice to loosen those hips and master the technique. Here are some tips to try:

Hip Exercises to Loosen Those Hips

Getting the Foot Position Right

The “openness” of your hips matters the most when you’re perfecting the Cuban motion, and this is determined by your foot position. It’s easier to twist and move the hips when the toes are pointing outwards. So that’s one thing to keep in mind when trying this move, do not move your feet inward! Dance every step with your feet at about 70º to build flexibility, and loosen the hips. If you’re not accustomed to dancing this way, you might feel a little pressure in certain parts of the hips, but that’s okay; you will get used to it the longer you do it. 

It’s All About the Knee Action Too

Yes, the Cuban motion puts the hips front and center, but the knees also get their time in the limelight! To create the smooth movements of a Cuban action, you need to alternate the movements between the knees. Stand with your feet together, toes pointing outwards. Bend one knee, then keep the other straight, then smoothly alternate the action by making a twisting motion with your hip. Don’t push too hard; the body weight shift between the knees should be smooth and natural so the actual dance move won’t look awkward. 

When shifting the weight between the legs, take a step as if you are climbing a flight of stairs. Step up as you bend your knee. As you shift your weight forward, push yourself up with the straightened left, then vice versa. This hip motion lets you concentrate the movement on the hips and not above the waist. Your ribcage should be over the knee as you straighten it. 

Learn the Basics

Now that you have an idea of the Cuban motion, it’s time to learn the basics of the dance style - whether it’s salsa, rumba, etc. Keep practicing the steps; make every step with your toes turned out and the knees bent. Keep the shifting of body weight smooth as butter and stick to the fundamental technique to improve your dancing. Maintain that connection with your dance partner, so the movements are synchronized. The hip action is hard to perform perfectly the first time, but you will master it in no time at all with practice. 

Cuban Motion Basics and Exercises


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Do I Have to Move my Hips When Dancing Salsa?

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A lot of students that come in to my classes often ask me, "Do I have to move my hips when I dance?" "How much do I have to move my hips when I dance?" "Do guys also have to move their hips when they dance?" It sounds funny every time I hear it, as if the hip movement police is going to come get you if you're not shaking it enough. It's really important to address this so that you don't look silly next time you’re out salsa dancing at the club with your friends.


Usually it's a non-Latin guy with a Latin girlfriend in class that is asking these questions. Latin women put pressure on their men to "shake it" when they are dancing, making remarks about how stiff they are, and how they need to loosen up and move their hips more.

Also, it's the movies' fault for portraying salsa dancing as some hip movement shaking contest. The people "dancing" in these movies seem to be wiggling, twisting and shaking EVERYTHING a whole lot!

The short answer is yes, guys and girls do move their hips when they dance, but it's not so simple as just shaking them about. The hip movement that occurs when dancing is supposed to look natural, not forced like in the movies. The hip movement happens because you’re alternating the bending of your knees. The same happens when you walk — your hips move because you’re bending and straightening your legs.

Imagine if you saw someone trying to move their hips when they walked, really focused and determined to shake their hips when they stepped. It would look completely silly and not attractive at all! The rule of thumb is: if you feel like you’re "trying" to shake it and forcing yourself to move your hips, then it's too much.

So what do you do? Stand up straight with both feet close together and legs straight. Now bend the right knee without bending the left one. Tadaaa! Your hips just moved. Now, straighten the right leg and bend the left knee and your hips move to the other side. If you keep this up, you will get your hips to move naturally. Practice that exercise. The key is to not force your hips to move but to focus on the bending of the knees. Your hips will start to move naturally little by little.

Master this little exercise so you can impress your friends at the next salsa party you go to! You're going to be moving like a natural in no time :)`

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Learn to control your body.

Lesson three. Waist and hips




| Miscellaneous

Social dances

Learn to control your body. Lesson three. Waist and hips

To dance easily and effortlessly, you need a flexible waist and mobile hips. Needless to say, what an important role these parts of the body play in the dancer's posture. Let's get acquainted with a set of exercises designed specifically for the waist and hips. nine0004

Learn to control your body. Lesson three. Waist and hips

Exercises for the waist

They are done as follows. In a standing position, raise your arms up above your head and try to rotate the upper half of the body as much as possible, first to the right and then to the left, keeping the legs and pelvis motionless. Lying on your back, extend your arms to the sides, then touch your left foot to your right hand, keeping your back firmly pressed to the floor. Do the same on the other side, touching the right foot of the left hand. And one more exercise: get down on your knees, and then sit on your heels. Try to move the body to the right and left without the help of hands. nine0004

Learn to control your body. Lesson three. Waist and hips

Hip exercises

The following exercises are suggested for the hips. In a standing position, you need to spread your legs and put your hands on your head, and then perform a movement called "belly dance" - swaying your pelvis forward - back, back - forward, and then right and left. From the same starting position, make a rotational movement of the hips: right - back, left and forward. The same movement can be performed using four diagonal positions: forward - right, back - right, forward - left and back - left. Exercise for the front of the thighs: you need to stand up straight, stretch one leg forward and try to stay in this position as long as possible. nine0004

Many exercises for the hips and waist will not only help you improve your dancing skills, but are also very beneficial for the vestibular apparatus. They will also help to get rid of excess weight, if any, and will allow you to always be in shape. Regular implementation of our simple exercises will ensure you quick success in conquering dance peaks.

Learn to control your body. Lesson three. Waist and hips

exercises, waist, hips, belly dance, vestibular apparatus

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    How to do the figure eight with your hips. figure eight hips belly dance

    The hips, belly and pelvis, without a doubt, play a central role in oriental dance, being the focus of female energy. It is on the hips and abdomen that the main attention of the viewer is concentrated. These parts of the body are most involved in the dance and seem to be designed to perform the key and most expressive elements of bellydance. nine0004

    One of the most enchanting movements in belly dancing is the enigmatic, flowing figure-eight snaking with the hips. At first glance, what could be difficult in the implementation of an ordinary geometric figure - the figure eight? However, this eight is not so simple, but quite intricate. And inside it lies many secrets. Only in a bellydance lesson are all the secrets of how to do the figure eight beautiful with the hips revealed: this is the direction of movement of the hips, and the amplitude of the braces, and the position of other parts of the body during the execution of the figure eight. nine0004

    In the figure eight, the hips work in isolation, while other parts of the body remain motionless. It is this technique that helps to focus on the hips, so that the movement looks beautiful. If the dancer has forgotten about this trick or has not worked out such a skill enough, if the shoulders or chest begin to move along with the hips, the movement will look “blurred” and unprofessional.

    Before doing the figure eight with the hips, it is necessary to prepare, stretch the lateral muscles: it is the well-developed muscles of the body that allow you to achieve a large amplitude, due to which the movements of the hips have an effect on the viewer even from afar. The figure eight is advantageously combined, for example, with twists - and for their implementation, the preparation of the muscles of the body is also needed. nine0004

    When performing the figure eight, the position of the body, back and shoulders is important. Eights are of various types, depending on the trajectory of the movement of the hips - horizontal and vertical, external and internal. They are perfectly combined with shaking, penetrations, twisting.

    In her classes and video lessons, Samira always reminds dancers of their individuality in dance and recommends “trying on” movements and elements. So, when doing a figure eight with your hips, you need to watch your body and see in which position this movement will look most impressive. nine0004

    Thanks to such high-quality elements as the figure eight of the hips, belly dance acquires its authenticity, unique originality and true feminine beauty!

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