Every Bellydancer Must Develop These 9 Skills

1. Body connectivity and coordination

These are ‘fundamental fundamentals’, before you learn steps in any dance. You have to get comfortable with your body and the way the human body is naturally designed to move. This involves using your breath, activating your core, aligning your posture, manoeuvring around your spine, and working the body halves separately. Over time this develops into your ‘invisible dance’ as you learn how to use your weight, to choose which muscles to initiate, move away from your center and return to it and much more.

This aspect of the dance happens all throughout your training. While you can learn and enjoy the bellydance moves on their own, it’s difficult to really grow as a dancer without this aspect. If you don’t have a dance background and struggle with the bellydance moves, especially when it comes to layering and travelling steps it really helps to work on this area in parallel.

Most of the time when people struggle with the moves it’s because of tight muscles that block the awareness of how the body moves. Everybody can dance, it’s just the body intelligence is more developed in some persons than others – sometimes because of natural ability and other times because of experience. However it’s something everyone can develop with guidance and practise. Dance is perhaps 90% body conditioning so it’s important to also have regular practice in classical exercises like those for ballet and contemporary dance.

2. Know the moves

Bellydance in its pure form has a core set of movements of the hips, pelvis, torso and arms. Depending on what style you are learning there are also specific floor patterns for travelling steps and ways of gesturing with the arms, head and hands. Practise makes perfect, so don’t stop practising when you think you know the move. Practise until you can’t forget it. It should be in your muscle memory, which means there is a sensation of pleasure in your body when you do the move, so that you can easily recall the feeling and it prompts the movement as they are connected.

3. Layering

Bellydance is made up of layers of movement that give it an decadent look. To layer well, each move has to be well develope