Tips on how to belly dance

Quick tips for belly dancing: How to improve your shimmy

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If you are a beginner, even the most basic belly dancing steps can be a huge obstacle to learn. Looking at the perfect shimmies of advanced dancers or your instructors can make you feel even less confident in your own skills. Mastering a basic shimmy is a matter of confidence and practice. Although this is an activity that requires time, practice and patience, we have a few expert tips from our experienced instructors to   you can do to  improve your shimmy

Add flourishes

Combine your shimmies with other flourishes and steps for graceful belly dancing. Adding in other movements will add a new dimension to your dancing and take attention away from any imperfect shimmying! You can also do pops and locks to the beat of the drum using exaggerated hip movements to bring attention to louder drum accentuations. In the same grain, lighter drum accentuations are usually accompanied by upper body, shoulder and diaphragm movements. You can even create interesting flourishes using a combination of these movements and things like shoulder popping, belly locks, and hip shimmies.

Use your upper body

You can also allow your arms, hands, torso or head to follow the movement of your shimmy. One pro-tip that has a helped our students gain grace in the past is to enjoy the music and literally flow to its mood. When the drums become quiet, your movements become more fluid and subtle,  when the drums pick up a strong tempo, you can exaggerate your hip and arm movements to match the tempo, using shoulder pops to accentuate the stronger beats.

Practice shimmying in place

Stand with your feet a few inches from one another. Relax your knees but do not bend them too much otherwise, your movements will look rigid and unnatural. Then, draw the movement from the backs of your legs to shake your hips in an undulating motion. Practice this motion frequently. Once you get the hang of it, you can learn to walk or move with your hip shimmy.

Walk with grace

Start with a basic hip shimmy. When you get into your groove, very slowly, shift your weight onto one foot while still keeping both feet on the ground to keep your balance. Slowly shift your complete weight onto the weight-bearing foot. Once you master this shift, practice again shifting the weight onto both feet while main ting your shimmying tempo. With the same slow fluid movement,  now shift the weight to the other foot.  Practice standing in place for a while, then shift weight back and forth while maintaining your shimmying tempo. Slowly graduate to lifting each foot while maintaining your shimmy. When you feel brave enough, start with a tiny step forward, then another, then another. Practice frequently, and before long, you will be walking in a seamless shimmy!

Belly dance moves like shimmies can be a challenge to master, but the reward in terms of increased strength, grace, flexibility as well as satisfaction and self-confidence is unmatched. Learn this Middle Eastern folk dance with Dancer’s Gallery. The best Belly Dance Classes in Cooper City and Davie. For more information on different kinds of dance forms, techniques, tips, and tricks – keep checking this blog from time to time.

10 Tips for Maximizing Your Belly Dance Fitness Potential.

Last Updated on January 26, 2022

Guest Post by Ananke

It’s that time of year again. After sustaining myself on a diet consisting mostly of sugar cookies and eggnog for the month of December, my belly dance costumes are little… shall we say…snug?

I know I am not alone in this. About 40% of Americans will set at least one New Year’s resolution, and losing weight or becoming healthier is one of the most popular picks.

So even if you yourself are not amongst us repentant dieters in January, if you’re an instructor you probably have some students who are interested in turning their belly dance practice into a workout. Is belly dance actually effective for weight loss?


The good news is that belly dance is great for fitness when it’s practiced regularly. But you have to treat it like a workout, which is much different than how many of us usually choose to practice.

Did you know? The average woman burns approximately 300 calories per hour belly dancing. That adds up to a pound of weight loss every two weeks (when practicing for an hour six times per week).

So how can we use belly dance as a workout? Here are a few of my favorite tips to get you started:

1. Set a schedule

Your workouts will be most effective if you practice three to five times per week for at least a half-hour.

Try building time to dance into your daily routine.

If you always dance at the same time each day, such as an hour before you shower for work, it is more likely to become a habit.

2. Warm it up, cool it down

A proper warm-up helps prevent injuries and maximizes your workout potential.

Try some light dance moves using a reduced range of motion. After a few minutes switch to gentle standing stretches for the hips, obliques, glutes, and shoulders.

Now you are ready for more intense movement. After your workout, while muscles are still warm, is the best time for deep stretching.

Add a cool-down to keep muscles long and limber, prevent soreness, and increase their flexibility.

3. Press play and go

When your focus is fitness, it is important to keep moving at an active pace. Create a playlist that motivates you to move so that when it is time to workout you can press play and go.

This is not the time to be critical of your technique and pause to practice particular isolation. Keep a shimmy going in between songs to keep your heart rate up.

4. Layer and travel

Layering movements and traveling incorporate the use of large muscle groups which is great for both toning and burning calories. Focus on moving about the room with circles, eights, and shimmies.

Do not forget level changes, moving from a semi-squat up to the balls of the feet, for working the thighs and calves.

5. Arms are key

It is easy to forget about them, but how you use your arms can make a big difference in your workout intensity. Use large, sweeping movements that keep your arms above your heart for the greatest challenge.

6. When in doubt, add weight

You would be really surprised at how heavy a veil feels after waving it around non-stop for thirty minutes.

Zills can act as great arm weights, too.

Try adding them into your routine and you will burn bonus calories while improving your prop work.

If you are looking for even more of a challenge, try some light ankle weights to make traveling steps even more potent.

7. Repetition is a good thing

When we dance in performance, we try not to repeat the same combinations over and over.

However, when we dance for fitness, repetition is ideal. For each song select just a few combos to practice and concentrate instead on improving form each time through.

8. Get creative with power moves

Since our focus is fitness there is no reason you cannot add in a few traditional gym moves to supercharge your workout.

Try adding a set of leg lifts, squats, lunges, push-ups off the wall, triceps dips off a chair or standing crunches into your combos.

Or use these moves to fill the time in between songs. This is a great way to add strength-building exercises to your cardio workout.

9. Balance your fitness routine

Belly dance is great for gentle toning and for improving cardiovascular health, but if your fitness goals are extensive you should consider adding other forms of exercise into your routine.

Weight lifting, pilates, yoga, step, kick-boxing, walking, and running complement belly dance well and increase your strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, and balance.

10. Eat well

To dance well your body needs to be fueled well. Focus on making healthy choices like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Avoid overly processed foods including refined sugars before your workout, as they tend to give you only a quick spike in energy before leaving you feeling tired.

Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after you dance.

Did you know? To build muscle, your body needs protein.

The average woman needs 50 to 65 grams per day, and many active women do not eat enough.

Try adding a protein-rich snack or meal before and after your workout.

Healthy choices include nuts, seeds, eggs, chicken, lentils or beans, and Greek yogurt.

What You Can Expect

If you also reduce your daily caloric intake (cut back on the eggnog and sugar cookies!) you can expect one to two pounds of weight loss per week with regular belly dance practice.

It depends on your current weight, the intensity and frequency of your workouts, and whether or not you have added in additional exercise.

Remember that doctors do not recommend more than two pounds of weight loss per week.

In addition, you can also expect some light toning of the arms, abs, chest, thighs, and glutes. Belly dance is also great for improving coordination, flexibility, and balance.

Bonus: How to Stick to Your Routine 
  1. Use friends and family for support. Tell the people you love about your goals. It helps you feel more accountable for following through and they may be able to offer support in ways you do not anticipate.
  2. Use a diary. Write down a few notes every day. It’s been shown that keeping a record of what you eat encourages dieters to take smaller portions. A diary can also help you keep track of your progress, which is good to reference when you’re craving something you shouldn’t have.
  3. Use an online tool. There are several free websites that help you record and monitor your weight loss goals. Check out StickK or Habitforge.

About Ananke: Ananke is an award-winning performance artist and certified belly dance instructor out of Keene, New Hampshire.

She was certified in Group Fitness by the American Council on Exercise and taught dance fitness classes for three years at a local women’s gym. Ananke writes articles regularly on her own blog Ask Ananke.

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Dr Valeria Lo Iacono is a belly dancer and a dance researcher with a PhD in dance and heritage. Valeria also teaches and performs as a belly dance but also enjoys learning ballet, jazz dance and other dance genres.

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Where does the belly dance begin. Tips for beginners

Tips for beginners in belly dancing

Don't even think about going into the gym or standing in front of a mirror at home and immediately start shaking, waves, hits, sharp movements of belly dancing - first you have to work out the starting position. It usually takes at least a month and a half for this body position to become natural. At first, the body may resist, but by exercising regularly, you will quickly get used to the new sensations.

Learning the basic position of belly dancing

So, let's start. Stand in front of a mirror so that you can see yourself in full growth. A side mirror wouldn't hurt either. Considering the correct position of the body from the bottom up:

1. The distance between the feet is equal to the length of your foot. This allows you to distribute your body weight evenly on both legs. Feet parallel to each other, toes forward - so that the knee joint does not twist and the patella (patella) does not move. We touch the floor with all toes: it is easier to maintain balance.

2. Knees are soft but not bent. So you save yourself from damage to the menisci and dislocation of the patella.

3. Thighs relaxed.

4. Gluteal muscles relaxed. Do not stick out your ass, otherwise you will increase the load on the lower back, and it looks vulgar. Deflection in the lower back, of course, looks impressive, but this position disrupts the natural flow of blood and oxygen to the abdominal organs.

5. The pubis does not protrude forward.

6. Hip bones in one line.

7. Keep your belly out to look slimmer. Let men walk taut - everything should be relaxed with us, without unnecessary pressure on the abdominal organs.

8. The chest moves a little forward, and the solar plexus area moves back. The weight of the body is concentrated more on the toes than on the heels. In this position, you will reduce the load on the lower back.

10. The shoulder blades are brought together and seem to hold a small pencil. In this position, the muscles of the shoulder section are stretched and keep the tone.

11. Shoulders on the same level, lowered.

12. Arms extended to the sides at chest level. This is the optimal height so that the muscles of the hands become stronger, over time a beautiful relief will appear on them. Elbows are soft, pointing back, not down. The hands are an extension of the hands, do not “break” the wrists. Imagine holding a huge bouquet of flowers in front of you. The fingers are together, but not compressed, there is a distance between them. The middle finger is slightly inward. The palms are open to the viewer.

13. The neck is completely relaxed. Do not lower or raise your chin, keep it parallel to the floor: this way all the cervical vertebrae form the correct line.

14. Reach up with the top of your head like a flower reaches for the sun - this will help you maintain balance.

Having mastered this starting position, dance to your health!

Do you want to learn belly dancing at home?

Our video lessons "Belly dance" , "Belly dance for beginners" and video master class by Alexey Ryaboshapka will help you with this! Watch the video online and practice belly dancing at home!

Learning to dance belly: 8 steps to beauty and harmony | Beauty secrets | Health

There is no more ancient dance than belly dance. Even the walls of the tombs, erected on the orders of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th century BC, are painted with scenes depicting in great detail nothing more than a belly dance.

The choreographer was a bee

The legend claims that this erotic oriental dance appeared quite by accident. It was all the bee's fault. Bewildered by the delicate floral aroma emanating from the oiled body of a young dancer, confusing her with a flower, a bee flew under her thin outfit during the performance. Frightened by the uninvited guest, the girl began to rotate her hips and stomach with all her might. It was as if her hips and stomach were competing in mobility, teasing and provoking each other. The grace with which she made the movements delighted those around her.

European travelers eventually got acquainted with the ancient dance. However, his eroticism is perceived by Europeans in different ways. “Indecency and indecency,” some exclaim indignantly. Others consider belly dancing a real art.

East - flexible body

Belly dance secrets are carefully passed down from generation to generation. For what? Not just for beauty. In Arab countries, the fertility of a woman is still perhaps her main advantage in the eyes of the majority. From early childhood, Arab girls begin to be taught special exercises, which are the basis of belly dancing. Daughters diligently adopt from their mothers the ability to control the body, move beautifully and gracefully. These simple movements make it possible from childhood to strengthen the muscles of the back, abdomen, lower back, and hips in girls - expectant mothers, which play a major role during pregnancy and during childbirth.

In addition, belly dancing is an excellent means of keeping slim and seductive forms for Eastern women. Even having grown fat with age, Arab charmers move easily, remain amazingly flexible. This is confirmed by official science. According to the research of modern scientists, Eastern women are less likely to suffer from cervical and lumbar radiculitis, less prone to scoliosis and other diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

Following Hollywood stars

To maintain a perfect waist and elastic tummy, Hollywood stars are also fond of oriental dances. Imagine: in one dancing hour you can burn up to 400 kilocalories, strengthen the torso, improve coordination of movements, and make the spine more flexible. The dance will teach you how to move beautifully and follow your posture. And although at first it will be difficult for you, but in order to feel the gaze of men behind your back, it’s worth the effort.

Of course, it is better to learn belly dancing in the company of an experienced instructor, but some basic movements can be learned on your own. This simple but effective set of dance exercises in just a few months will make the abdominal muscles elastic and toned, and you - more sexy and erotic.

● Your clothing should be light and not restrictive. To begin with, tie a thin pareo (silk scarf) around the hips, which will effectively emphasize their flexible line. Raise your arms up and, clapping your hands to the beat, gently shake your hips. Do not start dancing immediately at a fast pace. Choose the rhythm of movement that suits you and try not to change it during the dance.

● Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, raise your right thigh sharply, then your left. Try not to strain your abdominal muscles. Repeat the movement 8 times.

● Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Swing your hips gently from side to side, like a pendulum, 8-10 times. Make sure that only your hips move.

● Rotate your hips 8 times in each direction, as if you were spinning a hoop. Please note: the body must be motionless.

● Feet shoulder width apart. As you exhale, stick out your stomach as much as possible, 6-8 times. Tired - take a 10-second pause.

● Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your right foot on your toes and lift your right thigh. Shift your body weight to your left leg. Vigorously rotate your right hip clockwise 6-8 times. Repeat the exercise by changing the position of the legs.

● Feet slightly apart. Move the pelvis forward (the stomach is tucked up, the muscles are tense), then back (the muscles are relaxed) 6-8 times.

● Exhale deeply, forcefully draw in the stomach - the diaphragm rises. Then slowly inhale through the nose, sticking out the stomach - the diaphragm goes down. Do not move your body - only the stomach works (repeat the movement 4-6 times).

Dance for half an hour a day (preferably in the morning on an empty stomach or 2 hours after eating), and normal blood circulation in the pelvis, good bowel function, beautiful gait and majestic posture, healthy joints, elastic muscles are provided to you.

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