How to dance with your 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:
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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5 Dance Moves for Sexy Hips
Whether you’re a man or a woman, your hips tell your dance partner a lot about you: how relaxed you are, how playful, how comfortable with your sexuality. So it should come as no surprise to know that, especially in the Latin clubs, one of the big indicators of your popularity as a dancer is how smoothly and sexily you can shake it down.
In previous articles on sexy hip movement, we explored the basic form of Latin hip movement, called Cuban motion, and I highly recommend ballroom beginners start there. For those of you a little more familiar with your body’s mid-section, here’s five more moves to develop some sexy hips!1. The figure 8
The classic for sexy hips. The figure 8 is a great alternative for slower Latin songs. Accentuating the rotational movement in Cuban motion, the figure 8 comes from sending your hip more forward, then rolling it in a semi-circle to the back, before repeating on the opposite side.2. The booty roll
Great for a more dramatic and sexy hip movement, the hips roll in a wide circle (or a smaller one, if space is tight). Make a side step into the roll, letting the hips roll back and side, before returning to the side you stepped on. Keep your chest high throughout the roll, with your body held in between your legs, changing weight on the end of the roll. The key is to keep your body as still as possible, so the focus stays on your hips.3. Circular booty roll
A more advanced form of booty roll, this one works best while dancing solo, as a salsa shine, for instance. Step into the roll as before, but keep your weight closer to the stepping foot. As your hip rolls towards the opposite leg, use its momentum to turn on the ball of your standing foot, sliding the free foot slightly forward on each roll until you’ve made a full circle. Taking smaller steps accentuates the sexy hip action.4. Hip bumps
Common in bachata and kizomba, the hip bump is executed with the feet close together, and the free leg bent. Pointing the free leg into the ground, while straightening the knee, causes the hip to rise vertically, then drop when the leg is relaxed. This often done sharply, to give the movement a more powerful look, and to stand out from smoother movements.5.Hip undulations
A smooth and sexy hip undulation is sure to turn heads. It’s often paired with the upper body to create a body wave. Keeping it isolated at the hips can make it more subtle and sexy however.
This one takes a lot of practice to develop your body awareness. Separate the lower half of your torso into 4 quadrants: upper abdomen (solar plexus), lower abdomen (belly button), upper hips (hip bones, and bottom of spine), and lower hips (the sit bones). In sequence, pull the upper 2 sections inward towards the spine, like you’re sucking in your belly, followed by rolling the upper hips back, followed by the lower hips. As you pull each section back, let the section two sections above relax (ex. relax the upper abdomen as you pull the upper hips back). When you get the order right, this will create a small wave undulation from the stomach through the pelvis.
Any questions? No? Then get practicing - more tips to come!
How to do the figure eight with the 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.
One of the most enchanting movements in belly dance is the enigmatic, flowing, serpentine figure eight of 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.
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 making 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 produce 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.
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.
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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Hip movements. Belly dance. Master's Lessons. Advanced level
Starting position: standing on a full foot, legs slightly apart (about the width of the foot) and located on the same line parallel to each other, the body is slightly tilted back, the back is straight, the stomach is relaxed, the arms are lowered along the body, the knees are “soft”.
Performing an exercise "Swinging hips back and forth ("inward" and "outward"). We take the buttocks back as much as possible, while we do not deviate back, hands are brought behind the back. Then we draw the buttocks into ourselves as much as possible, and bring our hands forward with a smooth movement. We tighten the hips, sharply reducing the muscles of the buttocks so that the pelvis leans forward and up a little.
We linger for a few seconds in this position. Then we take the hips back as far as possible - the legs and body remain motionless - and arch.
We work in the vertical (frontal) plane. Again, we reduce (squeeze) only the muscles of the buttocks so that the pelvis leans forward and up a little ("inward"). Movement of the pelvis forward and up - back and up, emphasis at the farthest point of this movement - again the pelvis "in itself" - again back and up, emphasis, etc.
Try to keep the movement in the frontal plane along the path of the lower arc of the semicircle. Remember your posture: shoulders down, back straight.
Starting position: standing on a full foot, legs slightly apart (about the width of the foot) and located on the same line parallel to each other, the body is slightly tilted back, the back is straight, the stomach is relaxed, the buttocks are tightened, the knees are “soft” and slightly bent, arms to the sides. We perform a rocking chair with the hips.
The rocking chair is performed by alternately straightening the knees: without changing the position of the left leg, we straighten the right leg at the knee, due to which the right thigh is “pushed” up and we sort of pull it under the rib (in this case, the lateral abdominal muscles contract).
While moving, do not tear off the heels and do not transfer the center of gravity from foot to foot. The top remains motionless and does not sway during the work of the hips. We make sure that the hips move only up and down, do not take them to the side or back. They should be relaxed - only the knees work. Now we bend the right leg at the knee - we lead the left thigh up.
We continue the alternating movement with one or the other hip, without deflecting the body and keeping the line of the shoulders in the same position - parallel to the floor.
Imagine that you have a bowl of water on your head and your task is not to spill the water. You can also try to put a book on your head during this exercise and try to move so that it does not sway, much less fall.
Execute rocking the hips to the sides in three counts: right-left and a little slower to the right - slightly slow down the knee extension before starting to move in the other direction (without a pause in the movement), left-right and a little slower to the left, slightly slowing down the knee extension until the next movement to the other side. Movements should be smooth, unhurried, but continuous. Simultaneously with the rocking chair, we perform circular movements with the hands. Again we make a rocking chair with our hips to the sides without pauses. At the same time, we raise our hands up, at the same time performing rotations with the wrists along the trajectory of the eight. Repeat the movement with the hips at a fast pace.
If desired, the pace of side rocking with the hips can be increased even more: increasing it gradually and maintaining the rhythm, move on to shaking the hips. When shaking-rocking chair, the pelvis swings due to the work of the muscles of the lower back, the legs become freer. With this shaking, you can learn to walk quite easily. For example, climb on the "half-toes" and try to go forward with shaking, and then back. The faster the hips move, the more they need to relax. But don't forget to work with your hands.
If at first the shaking is good for you, and after a minute or two the muscles begin to “stone” and the shaking rhythm is lost, it doesn’t matter. Stop, shake your legs alternately, relax your muscles and start shaking again. The vibration of the body is given by muscles relaxed at your will, and not by tension.
Performing a rocking chair at a fast pace, we take the pelvis forward, then back and then move in a circle to the left. So we impose movement "rocking hips back and forth" for movement "small circle of the hips in the horizontal plane" plus circular movements of the hands.
Connecting the side rocker with the hips pulling with the hips, continuing to rotate with the wrists.
Hip pull is a basic element of oriental dance, a movement from the group of slips. It should be done every day during every workout.
Starting position: we stand straight on a full foot (legs are on the same line), the body is slightly tilted back, the back is straight, the legs are shoulder-width apart, the knees are “soft”, the arms are at the sides. We take the hip as far as possible to the left (without ceasing to perform the rocking chair at the same time), leave the legs and the upper part of the body motionless and transfer the body weight to the left leg. Shoulders, belt line during pulling remain parallel to the floor, knees do not bend. We pull the hips to the right and transfer the weight of the body to the right leg. The hips move to the right and left with maximum amplitude.
Pulling the hips stretches the lateral muscles, strengthens the muscles of the lower back and abdomen, perfectly tones the muscles of the waist, and also helps to prepare the body for further performance of various oriental movements (in particular, amplitude volumetric eights and rotations).
By sliding the hips, you can move back and forth and left and right.
After pulling with the hips, we move on to another basic movement, simple to perform, but effective and easily combined in dance with other elements, - eights. Let's start with the execution of horizontal eights (movements are performed in a horizontal plane clockwise and counterclockwise).
Horizontal figure eight backwards (“away from you”). While pulling, we lingered for a moment in a position where the left hip was maximally abducted to the left and, accordingly, the weight of the body was on the left leg.
Now we lead the right thigh diagonally forward to the right, wrap it as much as possible and begin to outline the first half of the imaginary figure eight - we bring this thigh back.
Next, the left thigh is brought forward (the weight of the body is gradually transferred to the left leg), turns as much as possible (until you see your left buttock out of the corner of your left eye) and begins to outline the second half of the eight: to the left until it stops, and then back to the left.
Only the lower part of the body moves. Breathing remains even and smooth, like the movement itself.
You can help yourself a little: when the hips are twisting in one direction, slightly twist the body in the other (so that the hips do not drag it along).
Straight knees, feet that remain parallel, and heels that stay on the floor will help you achieve a smooth, soft and continuous movement. Imagine that you are making your way forward without the help of your hands through some rather dense, viscous substance and, as it were, are raking it with your hips, alternately pushing it to one side or the other.
This exercise increases the elasticity of the ligaments.
Movement "horizontal figure eight forward ("inward")" schematically looks the same as the previous one, only performed in the opposite direction. We take the left thigh back diagonally to the maximum twisted position (in which the chest still remains motionless).
Body weight is transferred to the left leg. With a smooth circular motion, we describe half of the eight forward with the left thigh, maximally turning the right thigh back. We transfer the weight of the body to the right leg.
In a circular motion, move the right thigh forward and describe the remaining half of the figure eight. We try to bring the hips forward no less than back. We do not turn our shoulders. They must always look ahead. If you are still not very good at “separating” the top from the bottom, try doing the figure eight with your whole body first. I managed to catch the trajectory - you can move on to fixing the body and start moving only the hips.
Try to bring your hips forward no less than back, then the movement will be smooth and symmetrical. Keep an eye on the upper body: it should remain motionless, but not enslaved, keep the line of the shoulders parallel to the floor line.
When performing the figure eight, the legs should be placed parallel to one another and on the same line, not just for stability or beauty: if you put them in an eversion position (heels together, toes apart), then, involuntarily pinching the buttocks, limit the amplitude of their movement.
Another version of the eights with the hips - vertical figure eights, or, as they are figuratively called, "pendulums". The second name of this dance component was not born by chance: remember how the pendulum of the clock moves, describing the lower semicircle of an imaginary circle, like a young crescent turned upside down with “horns”. The oriental dancer reproduces the described trajectory with the help of hip movements in a strictly vertical plane. Vertical eights can be performed, like horizontal ones, in two directions opposite to each other: “away from you” (from top to bottom) and “into yourself” (from bottom to top).
We are still standing on a full foot (legs are located on the same line and parallel to one another), the body is slightly tilted back, the back is straight, the buttocks are tucked up. But now, to perform the "pendulum", put your feet together. Body weight on the left leg. We tear off the right heel from the floor and raise the thigh as high as possible.
The weight of the body is gradually transferred to the right leg. Further, drawing a quarter of a circle to the right and down, we begin to lower the right thigh, at the same time pushing it as far as possible to the side, that is, to the right. From this extreme side point, we continue to lower the thigh to the lowest point of the circle thanks to the “soft” knee. Body weight on the right leg. We put the heel of the right foot on the floor and lower the right thigh down.
Now we tear off the left heel (knee is relaxed), lift (due to lifting the heel off the floor) the left thigh up (as if leading to the armpit) and push it to the side as far as possible, without deflecting the body in the opposite direction and outlining a rather steep semicircle of the imaginary eights.
Pull the thigh towards you, returning to the starting position. We continue to draw symmetrical circles in a vertical plane. The body should remain motionless, and the line of the shoulders should be parallel to the floor line. Add hand movement to this dance element.
Hands in oriental dance move depending on the nature of the music, and therefore often their movements do not coincide with the movement of the hips: the hands work at least twice as slowly as the hips. If the hips are the rhythm, then the arms are the melody.
From the previous starting position, smoothly proceed to the next movement - step Suher Zaki, or "stilts".
We stand on straight lines, located on the same line parallel to one another on toes, the body is slightly tilted back, the back is straight, arms to the sides. We begin to alternately lower the heels to the floor in three counts. We lower the heel of the left leg - the left thigh goes down, then we raise the heel of the left leg, returning to its original position (on the toes), and lower the heel of the right leg.
Left - right - left - paused for a moment. Right - left - right - lingered for a moment. And so several times in a row in the rhythm of the sounding melody. We do not bend our knees - we only raise our hips. The head is on the same level: the movement occurs mainly only due to the hips. Continuing to perform the movement, alternately tear off the legs from the floor.
And now we “walk” on the spot without delays and stops, but still in time with the melody.
If this movement is performed correctly, you will feel the movement of the oblique muscles of the abdomen.
Performing the following exercise − hip dumps (otherwise - hip-down strikes). Starting position: standing in a semi-squat and half-turned to the viewer. The body looks forward, the hips and legs are turned to the side at an angle of 45 °. We put the leg closest to the viewer (mirror) (working in this movement) in front of the one behind, on the toe, and expose its thigh and turn it forward (toward the viewer), as far as the body allows. The back is straight and slightly tilted back, arms are spread apart.
Try to keep your knees together while moving.
So, keep your chest and shoulders straight. We start the movement with the left foot, so we put it on the toe in front of the right, raise the right hand up, take the left hand to the side. Raise the thigh of the working leg up by straightening the knee, then sharply lower (throw) the thigh, again bending the working leg at the knee.
Do not lower the heel to the floor. We do the emphasis while moving down (at its maximum lower point). At the same time, the hands make smooth circular rotational movements. We repeat the movement a few more times, and then change the leg - we become half-turned to the viewer (mirror) with the right hip forward, respectively raise the left hand up, take the right hand to the side and work with the right hip.
If you relax your hips well and bend your leg at the knee, the hip will "fall" by itself.
Let's complicate the main movement "resetting the hip" with the extension of the leg, and we get a new movement - "classic key" (thigh drop with leg extension).
Starting position - as in the previous exercise: standing in a semi-squat and half-turned to the viewer. The body looks forward, the hips and legs are turned to the side at an angle of 45 °. We put the leg closest to the viewer (working in this movement) in front of the one behind (supporting), on the toe, and expose its thigh and turn it forward (toward the viewer). The back is straight and slightly tilted back, the arms are spread apart (option - the arm of the same name as the supporting leg is raised up).
We perform one reset with the right hip, the emphasis is while moving down (at its lowest point). Raise the right thigh again, and then lower it, while throwing the right leg forward, the toe of the foot stretches forward and down.
Raising the hip up each time, we continue to alternate the impact with the hip down (hip drop) with the hip drop with leg extension. We perform this movement several times, and then change the leg - we work with the left thigh.
"Key" can be performed on weight. In this case, when the leg lunges forward, its toe does not touch the floor, that is, we keep the leg in the air.
We continue to develop the spine and back muscles.
Changing the starting position: standing on a full foot, legs slightly apart (about the width of the foot) and located on the same line parallel to each other. The body is slightly tilted back, the back is straight, the stomach is relaxed, the knees are “soft”, the arms are at the sides, the weight of the body is on the left leg (as in a pull).
Execute semicircle hips.
We take the hips forward - the body deviates back, but the head does not throw back in any case (!) - and take it to the right, outlining (with maximum amplitude) an imaginary semicircle.
Now let's make a full circle.
Circle of the hips is a movement familiar to each of us since school or even kindergarten times. He was certainly included and is still included in a variety of gymnastic complexes called "hip rotation".
At first, to help you check whether the shoulders and upper chest are moving horizontally or vertically during the exercise, you can put your hands on your shoulders.
Combine the hips forward semicircle with the back semicircle and perform a full circle with the hips to the left on straight legs. The hips move along all four points: we take them forward (the body leans back, but the head does not throw back), we take them to the left, wrapping the hips, we take them back, transferring the body weight to the right leg, we take them to the right, etc.
While the hips make a circle, the head, shoulders and arms remain at the same level. We repeat the rotation of the hips to the left again, and then we perform a circle in the other direction: right - forward - left - back, trying not to move the upper body and keep the line of the shoulders parallel to the floor line.
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