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What is the best way to practice belly dance?

There are many reasons to belly dance, ranging from just pure fun and enjoyment to wanting to become a professional belly dancer. However, I don't think that most people who start learning belly dance do it with the initial intention of wanting to become professional. Most people start belly dancing because it looks like fun, is something they have always wanted to do, or maybe they want a way to connect to their feminine side and feel sexy and attractive. Whatever someone's reason is for wanting to belly dance, they are all good!

But what if your goal is that you want to improve your belly dance technique? As everyone knows, practice makes "perfect" (or more perfect) and belly dance is no different than a basketball player practicing shooting hoops or a piano player practicing scales. The more time you put in, the better you will be. And for me, the whole point of being a stronger belly dancer is that it will allow me to express myself better through my body. It is not an end in itself. I know that the better my "instrument" is (which is my body), the better I will be able to express myself creatively.

Below are some ideas and suggestions for a daily practice that will help you to improve your "instrument":

  • Make your practice fun! Put on music that you love when you practice- it doesn't have to be Arabic music, it could be hip hop, pop, house, whatever! The important thing is that it should inspire you. Some of my best ideas for belly dance come when I am having fun listening to hip hop music
  • Make your practice times short. In fact you don't even have to have a distinct "practice time". I always tell my students that I think one of the ways I have really improved my shimmies is in those spare moments that I am waiting for my food in the microwave, walking the dog or brushing my teeth, it all adds up!
  • Incorporate drills and isolation exercises into your daily practice. This practice could look like this: chest slides, chest lifts/drops, pelvic tuck/drops, hip slides, hip drops, ribcage squares/circles, pelvic squares/circles. If you can, aim for 15 minutes each day of isolation exercises in your practice. Soon you will notice a HUGE difference!
  • Find instructional videos on YouTube (mine and others) and pick one movement a day that you will focus on.
  • Watch great belly dancers on YouTube and pick one move or combination that you will try to emulate.

These are just a few ideas for improving your practice, but I hope that they have helped you to improve your craft and your enjoyment of belly dance.

I'd love to hear from you! How do you practice? Please share your tips, suggestions and questions!

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