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The Ultimate Guide to Learning Belly Dance at Home


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A long, long time ago, before marriage and kids, I was quite the little belly dancer. I was 23, I worked part time and lived with my parents. I had nothing but time to devote to learning belly dance. I danced and practiced FOUR HOURS and day. Four hours! Now I can't even bring myself to do drills for 10 minutes without freaking out that I'm not going to have enough time to finish dinner before the husband gets home from work.
I kind of stumbled into learning belly dance. I wasn't really familiar with it, nor did I know there were lessons for such a thing. I knew Shakira was supposed to be a belly dance but I never really looked into what that was. One day I bought  an East Coast Tribal instructional DVD on a whim, tried it out and I was hooked. I had to know more about this "belly dance".
 I bought a 3-disc box set box for beginners starring Neena and Veena and became obsessed.
Learning to make my body do things I had no idea it could possibly do made me feel like a freaking goddess and watching the progress of my strength and endurance build day by day was incredibly fulfilling. I gained confidence and sculpted my body into something I had always wanted! 
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23 year old me after a 40-lbs weight loss thanks to diet and belly dance!
One day my boyfriend (now husband) and I came across a man playing a sitar outside a coffeeshop and a wonderful friendship was created. He introduced us to drumming the djembe and doumbek and a belly dancer was born! We held small drum sessions every Sunday and I danced and taught other people how to dance if they wanted to learn. It was so much fun!
I still belly dance but I've switched my focus to learning Russian Gypsy skirt dancing for the sake of more "authentic" renaissance faire entertainment (I'm Daniella Noir the Gypsy Queen at the Texarkana Renaissance Faire by the way).

In my 8 years of belly dancing I've learned that the point of belly dance isn't to learn how to make your belly roll or how to shake it like Shakira or even to look good in a two-piece sequined costume. Your goal should be to have fun gaining confidence, building strength, endurance and mad body control.

How to learn belly dance at home. how to learn belly dance step by step at home. learn belly dance video download. how to belly dance step by step like shakira. how to teach yourself to belly dance. how to start belly dancing. belly dance steps and techniques. belly dance tutorial for beginners. how to learn belly dance at home video download. how to learn belly dance step by step at home. learn belly dance video download. how to learn belly dance at home. belly dance tutorial for beginners. belly dance steps and techniques. how to belly dance youtube. how to belly dance to lose weight. belly dance moves list. belly dancing for beginners. self taught belly dancer.
Hey look it's me as Daniella Noir the Gypsy Queen
at the Texarkana Renaissance Faire.

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BEFORE YOU GET STARTED:



▲▲I am not a professional belly dancer. I've been a belly dance enthusiast for 8 years and I love performing and spreading the joy of dancing. All opinions expressed are my own. 


▲▲ Belly dance is for everyone. Get the idea out of your head that belly dance is only for beautiful, long haired women with perfect figures and impossibly flat tummies. I feel that prior dance experience of any kind helps, but still anyone can learn (and perform) belly dance. Men, women, full-figured, thin, young, old, black, white, brown and everything in between! 




▲▲ There are many different forms of belly dance but the most common forms is Raqs Sharqi, but it's usually just called 'Egyptian Style' or 'Oriental'. There's also Turkish and American Cabaret. Often times these styles get mushed into one style of dance that many just simply refer to as "classic belly dance". Unless you're a belly dance expert, you probably won't even be able to tell the difference between any of these styles so don't stress too much about that right now.

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Dancer wearing a Belly Stocking™
 under her costume.
Click photo for original source.
There's also Egyptian Baladi which is often performed in a long form fitting dress with cane. As it's a very folky and traditional dance it is performed by many male dancers too! American Tribal Style (ATS) is sweeping the nations and it's little cousin, Tribal Fusion is the latest form of dance.

I feel it is very important to learn the fundamentals of belly dance by starting off with classic belly dance. After you're comfortable with your basics, then you can explore the other forms and have a blast doing it.


▲▲You don't have to bear your tummy to dance. You can wear whatever you want and be as modest as you need to be - even if you decide to go pro and perform!


▲▲ Many professional belly dancers are going to tell you that you need to take actual classes from a pro in order to learn it right, but what they fail to realize is:

#1 Not everyone is striving to be a professional belly dancer. Some folks just want to do it for fitness and fun!

#2 Not everyone has access to belly dance lessons.

#3 There are literally hundreds  of belly dance instructional DVDs out there created by amazing teachers who specialize in teaching via television screen. Just like how you can teach yourself how to play the piano, knitting or cooking, you CAN learn how belly dance at home!

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▲▲Where to find free or cheap home lessons: Many professional belly dancers have YouTube videos that show you specific moves but some are nice enough to upload entire beginners lessons! Check out one of my favorite free online instructors HERE.
Bid for super cheap DVDs on Ebay and find very affordable belly dance instructional DVDs on Amazon. Heads up: you're not going to learn everything you need to know from just one DVD. There's SO much more to belly dance than just shimmying and hip drops. I recommend  DVD series or box sets that will offer hours of instructions. When shopping for an instructional DVD make sure to buy one that is for total beginners and features a warmup and a segment on proper posture.


▲▲Get a mirror: You'll need to be able to see yourself to see if your motions are on point and to make sure your posture is always in check. Since you probably don't have a giant dance mirror already set up in your home (lucky you if you do!) get a full length mirror and set it up beside your TV or computer or whatever you'll be using to view your lessons. You can find full length mirrors at most dollar stores for under $10.



▲▲Attire: You don't have to wear fancy dancewear to practice. I usually wear a tank top and leggings or fitted "yoga pants". It's very important that you don't wear baggy clothes or long skirts because you'll need to be able to see the motions of your chest, hips, legs and feet in your mirror.
And I know you're ready for this one! Coin scarves! Everyone loves those things! Jingly coin scarves are in no way mandatory for learning belly dance but they are wonderful for hearing and seeing the effort of your motions. Coin scarves come in many different colors and the cheapest usually come in one size often fitting up to 40"to 45" hips. You can buy coin scarves for as low as $3 on eBay! They come right from China so it might take a couple weeks for them to arrive.
There are also quiet hip scarves (or belts) made with large sequins or fringe. Guys might like fringe belts a little better. Plus size hip scarves are also available to buy!
A piano shawl or any fringed triangle scarf is wonderful to wear around the hips as well.
No special shoes are needed, in fact you'll find most belly dancers dance completely barefoot.




▲▲Continuing Practice: When you're ready to get serious about getting your moves down, you'll need to do drills regularly to build up the muscles required to perfect the motions. Since DVDs can only show you so much in an hour and thirty minutes, you'll need to practice moves, combos and steps over and over on your own. Get yourself a CD that features great classic belly dance music and practice at your own pace. Also, on the days you're feeling lazy, just listening to the music will make you want to get and move!
When the basic lessons no longer challenge you, it's time to move up to intermediate level lessons. You can find many great intermediate lessons on YouTube and DVD as well.



▲▲Adding Props: Once you've got your basic stances, movements, travelling steps and many combos down, you should try your hand at learning how to use common props like a veil or zills (finger cymbals). These can be found at affordable prices on eBay and Amazon. Make sure to check measurements before buying your props online! I bought a veil from eBay once based on the photo and when it came in saw it was about  20" x 6". That's about long enough to wear as a hair accessory. Your veil should be a rectangle of about 3 yards of light material and beginner zills should be about 2.5" in diameter.

Jamil, male belly dancer (a perfectly masculine and very sexy one at that)
performing with veil and cane.

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THE DOS AND DON'TS OF LEARNING BELLY DANCE AT HOME

DO practice at least twice a week.

DO NOT expect to become a belly dance prodigy overnight.

DO expose your belly if you want!

DO buy a costume if you want. It will make you feel a look amazing! (Guys too!)

DO NOT compare yourself to other dancers.

DO NOT jump into practice without proper warmups.

DO carefully read the descriptions and reviews of any DVDs, props and costuming before you buy.

DO watch belly dance performances by professional belly dancers from all styles so you can see how it's done. There are thousands of videos on YouTube and tons of performances available on DVD.

DO NOT give up on an instructional DVD because it's too hard. Keep doing it until you get it. That's how you learn!

DO NOT declare yourself a pro belly dancer after going through one lesson.

DO consult a professional belly dancer if you feel you're ready to go pro. They can point you in the right direction of how to get started.

How to learn belly dance at home. how to learn belly dance step by step at home. learn belly dance video download. how to belly dance step by step like shakira. how to teach yourself to belly dance. how to start belly dancing. belly dance steps and techniques. belly dance tutorial for beginners. how to learn belly dance at home video download. how to learn belly dance step by step at home. learn belly dance video download. how to learn belly dance at home. belly dance tutorial for beginners. belly dance steps and techniques. how to belly dance youtube. how to belly dance to lose weight. belly dance moves list. belly dancing for beginners. self taught belly dancer.
Gorgeous SIXTY year old belly dancer, Dee Orr from Shreveport, LA at the
 2016 Texarkana Renaissance Faire. Scott Johnson Photography.


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MY TINY LIST OF RECOURSES

The History of Belly Dance

Plus Sized Belly Dancers

Belly Dance at Any Size - blog

DIY Belly Dance Everything

The Official Page for American Tribal Belly Dance

About Male Belly Dancers

Why You Should Belly Dance During Pregnancy - by me!

Talk With Other Belly Dancers

Belly Dance U - blog


How to learn belly dance at home. how to learn belly dance step by step at home. learn belly dance video download. how to belly dance step by step like shakira. how to teach yourself to belly dance. how to start belly dancing. belly dance steps and techniques. belly dance tutorial for beginners. how to learn belly dance at home video download. how to learn belly dance step by step at home. learn belly dance video download. how to learn belly dance at home. belly dance tutorial for beginners. belly dance steps and techniques. how to belly dance youtube. how to belly dance to lose weight. belly dance moves list. belly dancing for beginners. self taught belly dancer.
Pin to share please :)

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How to learn belly dance at home. how to learn belly dance step by step at home. learn belly dance video download. how to belly dance step by step like shakira. how to teach yourself to belly dance. how to start belly dancing. belly dance steps and techniques. belly dance tutorial for beginners. how to learn belly dance at home video download. how to learn belly dance step by step at home. learn belly dance video download. how to learn belly dance at home. belly dance tutorial for beginners. belly dance steps and techniques. how to belly dance youtube. how to belly dance to lose weight. belly dance moves list. belly dancing for beginners. self taught belly dancer.  Bohemian blog. Bohemian mom blog. Bohemian mama blog. bohemian mama blog. Hippie mom blog. Offbeat mom blog. offbeat home. offbeat living. Offbeat mama. bohemian parenting. blogs like Offbeat mama. Self improvement blog. tips for a better life.
A fabulous way to get started!






4 comments:

  1. Okay! You've convinced me to get my DVDs out and start practicing again. I took Tribal Fusion classes for a couple of years until the teacher moved and it was so fun. Have you watched any of the Bellydance Superstars DVDs? They show all kinds of styles.
    Now that I think about it, I may have started with a Neena and Veena videotape.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Loved this post! I joined a dance group in July last year and they do Polynesian and belly dancing! I'd learned Polynesian dancing before but belly dancing was new to me--it's been a lot of fun for the practices that I've been able to make it to! I'm on a giant stretch of super long work hours for the next couple months but am looking forward to getting to dance with them again. In the meantime, I'm glad there's youtube + home DVDs! :]

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks so much for sharing this! I've always been interested in belly dancing. I get bored of the gym and weights (my boyfriend's domain, bleck, 3 years or so in I'm done) and it just likes like fun but challenging exercise. I've read it really good for hip health into old age, too. I'm going to practice with my roomie this year :D ! So awesome you danced for FIVE HOURS a day holy hell! :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. How fun! I've never tried belly dancing but I can totally see me doing it! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Share The Wealth Sunday!

    ReplyDelete

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