How to Learn Belly Dance at Home

Updated on April 21, 2018
Marisa Wright profile image

Kate Swanson is an Australian writer and dancer with nearly 40 years' experience in ballet, jazz, flamenco, ballroom, Latin and bellydance.

Learning belly dance at home is more fun with a friend!
Learning belly dance at home is more fun with a friend! | Source

Let's be realistic—it's not easy to learn to dance at home. However, learning to belly dance at home is easier than almost any other dance style, especially if you've never danced before. Beginners' belly dance moves are:

  • gentle on the body, so you're not likely to injure yourself even if you get it wrong;
  • don't need a lot of flexibility or strength, so you're not going to be struggling to achieve the moves;
  • don't involve running around or jumping, so it doesn't matter if you're carrying a few extra kilos.

Many people think belly dancing moves are difficult, but, in fact, they're completely natural. For most women, the main obstacle to moving their hips like a belly dancer is mental, not physical. It's wonderful to see the look on their face when the penny drops!

The video above illustrates another great advantage of belly dancing: although mastering the art can take years, you can create a simple belly dance choreography with only a few basic moves. The clip shows a group of women at Club Med who learned belly dance during their vacation. Their performance may not be perfect, but they've only been learning for one week!

To be fair, not everyone will become that proficient after only a few classes - and of course, these girls had a renowned belly dance teacher, Michelle Joyce, teaching them. However, it does go to show that you could easily be dancing confidently after only a few months.

But first, I'd like to clarify why you want to learn belly dance.

Belly Dance as Exercise

If you're attracted to belly dance as a way to get fit and toned, then you need to be aware that beginner-level belly dancing probably won't achieve your goal (unless you are very unfit and need a particularly gentle introduction to exercise).

Many instructors teach beginner students how to achieve the hip movements using the legs, and don't explain the abdominal moves until much later, so you won't achieve a toned tummy. Travelling steps may also be kept for more advanced levels, so there isn't much cardio work in a typical beginners' class.

In general, if you're more interested in exercise than in learning how to dance, then I'd suggest trying Zumba instead - you don't have to worry about technique or learning routines, you can just put on the DVD and start bopping. But assuming you DO want to learn to dance . . .

How to Teach Yourself Belly Dancing

In an ideal world, I'd be advising you not to teach yourself. Unless you're already an experienced dancer in another genre, you won't be aware of the mistakes you're making and you're likely to teach yourself a lot of bad habits. There's no substitute for a teacher who can actually see your body and pick up on bad posture or misalignments. You would make progress so much faster. It doesn't have to be in person - there are several instructors who will teach via Skype, for instance. However, that's still more expensive than buying a DVD and doing it yourself, and your budget may not stretch. So let's look at what your options are.

There's a wide range of belly dancing DVDs available - but the quality of the teaching on bellydance DVD's varies enormously, and you can easily waste your money if you buy the wrong one.

Some have very little explanation, which is useless for a beginner (I suspect some were made to attract guys who want to perve rather than serious students!). At the other extreme, there are DVD's that do an excellent job of breaking down the moves - but once you know what you're doing, you'll get impatient listening to the explanations over and over again.

What you want is a DVD that offers a detailed breakdown with full explanations, as well as combinations of the exercises without a break.

That way, once you know what you're doing, you can do the class exactly as you would at a belly dance school. The final element should be a short choreographed routine, so you can learn how to put all the steps together to make a dance.

The series of DVD's by Indian twins Veena and Neena is popular, and widely available in shops - but they are quite basic, and most people find they outgrow them fairly quickly. If they are all you can find locally, then they are enough to get you started - but I think there are better instructors out there. For that reason I recommend Michelle Joyce's DVD, but you'll probably have to buy it online.

Belly Dance Basics: A Complete Lesson with Choreography for Beginners
Belly Dance Basics: A Complete Lesson with Choreography for Beginners

As an advanced dancer, this beginners' DVD is too simple for me, but I have recommended it to new starters and had great feedback from them. It is not only clear and very easy to follow, but quite motivational which will encourage you to stick with this truly rewarding form of dance. Not surprising, given Michelle Joyce's stellar reputation as a belly dance instructor.

 

Belly Dance Schools

As I said - I do hope you will consider joining a school, rather than trying to learn yourself. Besides making faster progress, you are likely to find that belly dance class will introduce you to a sisterhood and provide you with more fun and friendship than you can imagine. Check out the video below from the Sisters of the Nile troupe!

If you think there are no belly dancing classes in your locality, try Googling first - you may be surprised to find there are classes around, that you didn't know about.

Bellydance is for all women!

Please don't be self-conscious about joining a class because of your size or your age! I know only too well how competitive - and even bitchy - other dancers can be in ballet, jazz or flamenco classes. One of the reasons I fell in love with belly dance is that all the belly dance schools I've attended have been so non-competitive and accepting.

At a typical adult belly dance class you'll see women of all ages from 20 to 60, and all shapes and sizes. There's no need to have a bare midriff, either - the only compulsory piece of equipment is a scarf tied around your hips. Most beginners wear a long t-shirt and a pair of baggy pants or a gypsy skirt (buy a larger size with an elasticized waist, so you can wear it low on the hips). But it's surprising how many woman are proudly showing off their bellies by the end of their first term, stretch marks or no!

Why not give it a try?

Belly dance class is supportive and fun...
Belly dance class is supportive and fun... | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2007 Kate Swanson

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

        Kate Swanson 

        6 years ago from Sydney

        Rayaan, if your Mum won't take you to a class, then get yourself a DVD to start learning at home.

      • profile image

        Rayaan 

        6 years ago

        I m a 12 years old girl and I want to know how to dance belly can u help to ???

      • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

        Kate Swanson 

        6 years ago from Sydney

        Of course you can! The best dancer at my belly dance school was eleven years old, she came to class with her mom.

      • profile image

        chelcy 

        6 years ago

        i luv belly dance i wish i could do belly dance too i hv a question can 12 years old girl learn belly dance

      • profile image

        Luna Yi - Dance Station 

        7 years ago

        I enjoy my own dance class I recently started. I am searching the net for the hot trends in dance steps or dancing lessons I'll teach in my station. Appreciate the time you spent to share this.

      • profile image

        Wendygrrl 

        8 years ago

        Thank you for the info...

      • betherann profile image

        Beth Morey 

        8 years ago from Montana

        Great hub! I'm in the market for a good belly dance DVD, so this was very helpful.

      • ripplemaker profile image

        Michelle Simtoco 

        10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

        My friend just gave me a bellydance boogie as a gift! You are right. It's quite gentle and yet your abs get a lot of work. But mostly I just enjoy the dance when I can. :)

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hobbylark.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)