How to hip lift belly dance

Anatomy of a Hip Lift « Hadia's International Belly Dance Academy

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The “hip lift” is one of the most well-known and fundamental of our Middle Eastern dance movement repertoire. A movement in its own right, the hip lift forms part of the traveling step sometimes known as the “Arabic Basic” step and one that also prepares our bodies for other more complex movements such as the hip drop, Zohair Zeki lateral slide and locks.

Hip lifts help to strengthen our hip, thigh abdominal oblique muscles and allow our bodies to execute such as hiking. Looser hips (if that is a benefit) help us… Can you summarize here how the hip lift affects our stability, endurance, flexibility?

To begin with, it is important to understand the location and action of some of the main hip and thigh muscles, which are used in a “hip lift”. There are three gluteal muscles (Diagram 1). The best know is the large gluteus maximus, which is more commonly called the buttock. It runs from the sacrum and the middle portion of the back of the pelvic ilium bone and then down to the bump on the widest part of the hip (top of the thigh bone). Its main action is to straighten the thigh when it is flexed at the hip joint.

The smaller lateral gluteus medius and minimus muscles run from this same bump up to the highest part of the ilium. These two muscles open the thigh to the side (abduction) with a concentric contraction or keep the pelvis level when standing on one foot when contracting eccentrically. (the word is eccentric with one c and means a lengthening contraction. All of these terms were covered in the sidebar from my first article.

What does eccentrically mean here? Can you explain for a lay audience? Would you prefer to have a sidebar that defines terms? See end).

This action is the opposite to a large group of muscles called the Adductors (Diagram 2) that we briefly discussed in the last article. These run from the pubic bone and “sit” bone down to the inside of the thigh. They bring the thighs together (adduction) when they contract concentrically.

The large quadriceps muscles are located on the front of the thigh and they straighten the knee, while the hamstrings, at the back of the thigh, flex the knee and extend the hip (Diagram 3).

There are several different kinds of hip lifts, all of which benefit our bodies. There is a forward/diagonal variation of the hip lift, which is performed by pressing the ball of the foot against the floor to lift the hip on the same side.

The weight of the body rests on one foot (right), while the hip relaxes and stretches the (right) gluteus medius and minimus muscles. The ball of the other (left) foot is placed 2-3 inches in front of and slightly beside the first, then is gently pressed into the floor, as the left quadriceps shortens in a concentric contraction to straighten the knee. At the same time, the (right) gluteus medius and minimus will also contract concentrically to tilt the pelvis back to neutral and slightly lateral to the left. At the same time, the (left) gluteus maximus contracts to press the left side of the pelvis and the hip forward, while most of the weight remains on the right foot. Gravity will suffice to let the hip drop back down to its starting position.

How does the human body benefit from this activity?  Greater hip stability during walking.

Variation #2
In order to add a slight rotational twist to this movement, the left external oblique (see article #1) and left adductors contract concentrically to twist the left hip slightly forward and inward. How does this variation on the movement help us condition our bodies? It develops the abdominal obliques for a more toned waistline and to help guard against lower back problems.

Variation #3
For a playful “beledi” or “saidi” interpretation the quadriceps contract to straighten the knees and lift the entire body slightly on every beat. How do we benefit (strength, flexibility etc.) from this special movement? We learn how to relax, have fun and play with our movements, but that might be stretching things a bit.

Variation #4
A very small and controlled variation is to lift the hip vertically, directly under the arm. This is done by contracting the external and internal obliques together with the quadratus lumborum and erector spinae muscles, on the same side as the hip lift. (article #1)

The knee straightening action of the quadriceps is refined by adding a contraction of the adductors on the same side. Any special strengthening or other benefits?

If both teachers and students learn exactly how a hip lift works, they can better improve their own and others’ technique and enjoy their workout even more. (Any other concluding comments you want to make?)


Sacrum:  Large triangular bone at the base of the spine, between the two sides of the pelvic and hip bones. It is the center of the body’s gravity and transmits the weight of the torso through to the legs.

Ilium bone: Large arched shaped pelvic bones that run from the waistline down to the sit bones in the back and pubic bones in the front.

Ecentric muscle contraction: Lengthening contraction used to control the rate and texture of a movement.

Concentric muscle contraction: Shortening contraction of the muscle, considered its principal function.

External oblique muscle:  The largest and most outermost of the three flat muscles of the side of the abdomen

Adductor muscle:  The muscles of the inner thigh.

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The 4 Tips That Will Have You Belly Dancing Like Shakira

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Have you ever been to a wild party and found yourself standing on the edge of the dancefloor awkwardly clapping along while you watch everyone else dance and go crazy? No? Is that just us?

Well, we’re going to go ahead and pretend that we’re not the only ones who are like this because this article is all about teaching you Fairies how to shake what your mama gave ya.

For those keen on learning how to belly dance and make their way towards the centre of the dance floor, the first rule you need to know is to own your own style. The reality is, if you feel awkward when you dance, then you’ll look it! You need to feel the music and not be afraid to have a little fun.

Having said that there are a few techniques that can help you “fake it till you make it”.


To do a hip lift or shimmy, you need to bend both knees. Then, straighten your right leg, which should raise your right hip, lifting it upward. The hip bone should shoot up towards your rib cage. Make sure to keep your heels flat on the ground as you do the lift and try not to move your upper body at all.

Now, you need to bring your right hip back down and try the same movement on the other side. Just straighten your left leg and raise your left hip upward.

Repeat the hip lift on both sides at a faster pace, while skipping the break in the middle between the two sides. It should look like your hips are lifting on the right and then on the left smoothly and fluidly.

At full speed, your hips will shimmy from side to side at a quick pace, which is known as the “shimmy” move.

Step one, check!

To do a belly roll, first begin with your feet flat on the ground and your upper body lifted, with your arms relaxed at your sides. Now bend your knees.

Next, contract just your upper abdominal muscles, drawing them into your spine. Then, contract just your lower abdominal muscles, drawing them inward. Push out your upper abs and then push out your lower abs.

Keep repeating these movements in a sequence and try to make the contracting in and the pushing out of your abdominal muscles fluid, with no pauses or breaks.

To mix things up a little, add a little hand movement to your routine by mimicking the back and forth motion of a windscreen wiper. Just use your index finger and middle finger on each hand, side by side.

Another popular hand movement to spice up your dance routine is one that sees you mimicking the action of changing the light bulb. Try it a few times in time with the music until you follow the beat.

Cover photo by: @siempreweddings

Posted in Expert Advice by wedded wonderland

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how to learn belly dancing at home

Do you want to learn how to dance belly dance correctly? It is enough to learn a few basic movements and add a special mood to them. We have compiled detailed instructions on how to learn belly dancing so that you can dance no worse than a Colombian pop star.

Tatyana Shamanina


weight loss


How To

Slim stomach

incendiary dance


How to learn to dance a beautiful oriental belly dance at home? Of course, it's not easy. Nevertheless, it is easier to dance it at home than any other dance style. Especially if you have never been into dancing before.

Basic movements

  • Starting position

Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Then slightly bend your knees and raise your chest - this is the starting position for starting any movement in the belly dance. For smooth movements in the dance, you need to tighten the muscles of the lower abdomen and engage the pelvis.

  • Hip lift or shimmy

Bend both knees. Then straighten your right leg to lift your right thigh up. Then lift the pelvis up to the chest, while the upper body should not be involved. The heels must not be lifted off the ground during this movement. When you "pull" up your right hip, lower it and repeat the movement with your left. Namely, straighten your left leg and lift your left hip up. nine0003

  • Fast Pace Hip Lift

Repeat hip lift on both sides at a faster pace. Do not pause - first lift the right thigh up, and then smoothly - the left. At an accelerated pace, the hips will swing quickly from side to side - now you know how to perform the shimmy movement.

  • Hip Drop

Start in the starting position with the right foot on the floor and the left foot slightly extended, about a few inches forward with the heel raised. Then bend both knees and keep your chest and arms up. Then straighten your left leg, lift your left thigh and immediately lower it to the level of your right thigh. At the same time, keep your right leg bent during the movement. Next, repeat the mini-bunch at a fast pace so that it looks smooth, without pauses and breaks. nine0003

  • Belly

How to quickly learn belly dancing at home? Easy, the main thing is not to miss a single basic movement, including the “tummy”. Starting position - feet are on the floor, the upper body is raised, and relaxed arms are at the sides. Then slightly bend your knees and tighten the muscles of your upper abdomen, pulling them in. Then relax your stomach and tense only the muscles of the lower abdomen. Consistently alternate, pulling in the lower, then the upper press. Repeat the movement smoothly and without pauses. nine0003

  • Try a breast lift

The last basic movement that will help you understand how to dance belly dance correctly. The starting position is a raised chest, arms are located on the sides, legs are together, and the feet are on the floor. Next, we pull the chest up to the end so that the shoulder blades seem to slide along the back. Then lower your chest back down. Repeat the link at a fast pace, while alternately contracting the abdominal muscles.

Why do home belly dancing? nine0024

Oriental dance will help not only lose weight, but also cope with various pains.

  • Back and Joint Pain

Gentle movements increase the flow of synovial fluid (natural lubricant) in the joints, and also tone the back muscles, which improves posture and prevents back pain.

  • Help in losing weight

How to learn belly dancing at home and lose weight? Easy - one hour session will help burn up to 300 calories. nine0003

  • Preparing for childbirth

Belly dancing tones the abdominal and pelvic muscles involved in childbirth.

  • Against stress

Oriental belly dance is not only beautiful, but also healing. The dance feels like a session of physical and psychological relaxation.

  • Period Pain

Soothing dance bands help reduce pelvic congestion, which improves circulation and relieves PMS pain. nine0003

Dances that help train the legs, buttocks and thighs

4 min.

Some types of dances allow you to train the buttocks, legs, hips and other areas, almost without noticing it. A great way to have fun and keep your body in shape at the same time.

Last updated: June 01, 2019

Exercise, in any of its manifestations, is not only a healthy habit, but also a good way to keep your body in shape. Sometimes this is not easy for us, and ordinary exercises reduce our motivation to continue exercising. In this case, it is worth considering an alternative such as dancing .

This is the best way to strengthen muscles without even paying attention to it.

What's more, dancing is fun, ideal for stress relief, meeting new people in real life (not virtual).

Today we will tell you about several types of dances that help to train the legs, buttocks and thighs especially effectively. Get ready and let's get started.

If you want to strengthen your legs, buttocks and thighs, devote your time to dancing

Dancing is an amazing activity that benefits our entire body.

Especially their “effect” is noticeable on the legs, which we simply have no time to do due to a sedentary lifestyle.

It happens that by the end of the working day our legs are very tired, swollen, sore or, as they say, “buzz”.

It should be borne in mind that when we dance, endorphins are produced in our body . This means that we not only train and keep our muscles in shape, but also cheer ourselves up. We forget about worries, relieve stress and feel truly happy. nine0003

There are many types of dances. You can choose for yourself the one that suits you best, which suits your tastes and musical preferences.

You can dance alone or with a partner, at home, in the hall or on the dance floor - the place is also up to you.

For our part, we recommend the following 5 dances that help strengthen the legs, buttocks and thighs .

See also: Swollen feet: home remedies that will definitely help you

Which dances should I choose?

1. Salsa

If you're looking to burn calories, salsa is the perfect exercise option . Thanks to the fast rhythm of changing movements, you will perfectly strengthen the buttocks, thighs and calves.

And this is not the only advantage of this combination of Afro-Caribbean sounds and movements.

Salsa also allows :

  • Slimmer waist
  • Improve posture, flexibility and coordination
  • Strengthen the torso and arms

During salsa training, your blood circulation is maximized, which greatly reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems.

2. Tap dance

Tap dance, or tap dance, is an American dance style characterized by very rhythmic footwork.

It arose as a result of the fusion of clog dances, which were practiced in Ireland, Scotland and the north of England, as well as their subsequent combination with African American dances. nine0003

Step involves a serious aerobic exercise. It not only helps to burn fat, but also saturates the cells of the body with oxygen. In addition, by constantly beating the rhythm with your heels, you will get:

  • calf muscle work
  • quadriceps and buttocks strengthening
  • improving body balance

You may not be Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, but your body will benefit greatly from this practice.

This is interesting: This tea will help get rid of fat in the abdomen!

3. Flamenco

There is another very rhythmic type of dance, originally from Spain, which develops coordination, flexibility and strength of the muscles of the body.

Flamenco is a combination of music and dance so typical of Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia. This is another good example of an aerobic exercise that helps train and keep your legs and buttocks in shape.

Also thanks to flamenco:

  • Hips and stomach muscles are trained
  • Excess toxins are eliminated from the body (through sweating)
  • You burn more calories and thus fight excess weight
  • Improve your coordination with castanets, fans and shawls

4. Tango

Argentine tango is the music and dance that represents this country. The movements characteristic of tango will also be an excellent exercise for leg muscle training . Another "broken" tango steps are very useful for strengthening muscles:

  • calves
  • quadriceps
  • buttocks

In addition, Tango improves posture and body balance, shapes the waist and trains the obliques.

Learn more