"The essence of belly dancing is to learn how to isolate the rib
cage from the waist, to control the abdomen and the hips, and to move
the shoulders independently of the elbows, wrists and hands."
Sallamah Chimera's Basic Belly Roll, Hip Circle and Camel:
As you attempt the following moves, click on the links below and listen to drums beats and ballads that will make your practice much
Drum Beat Solo
Upbeat Ballad 1
Upbeat Ballad 2
Upbeat Ballad 3
THE BELLY ROLL
The belly roll is probably the most distinctive movement and the most difficult
to learn, and according to Sallamah, they are mastered only by trial and error.
From a frontal view of the abdomen, beginning at the top and close to the middle
of your rib cage is the Solar Plexus. If you continue down your stomach you have
the Midriff, Navel, Pelvis and Vaginal Sphincter. All of these divisions of the
abdomen "work" when performing a belly roll. The roll is like a wave that extends
from the top of the abdomen to bottom and then back in reverse order.
Sallamah recommends the following technique when trying to belly roll or fluttering your stomach:
1. To get the "feel" of the flutter in your stomach, hold your breath, after
having taken a normal (not a deep breath) breath. Now, take short, quick
in and out breaths and place one hand over your stomach and you should feel
the vibrations. Practice makes perfect, so keep trying until your muscles
adapt to the movements.
HIP CIRCLES ... the basic steps
1. Begin in the basic starting position, with your knees slightly bent
and your arms raised to your shoulder-level
2. Lean your chest to the left to counterbalance your extended right hip.
As you are doing this, slide or push your right hip out to the right side.
Make sure you are bending your right knee and that your weight is on your right
3. Now, lean your chest forward to counterbalance your hips being pushed backward. This
pushes your buttocks to the back while both your knees are straight. Your weight should
be on both feet and your head stays up and focused forward.
4. Begin to push or extend your left hip out to the left side; make sure your left knee
is bent. Naturally, your right chest will slide over to the right side to counterbalance your
extended left hip. During the motion, keep your weight on your left foot.
5. Finally, your pelvis should be pushed forward as both of your knees are bent. Your chest should
be lifted and there should also be a slight bend or arch in your back. Again, your weight should
continue to be on both feet.
BODY CAMELS ... a variation of the belly roll
The camel (arches and contractions) looks similar to a belly roll, but it is easy to distinguish the
difference. Camels, unlike belly rolls, use the upper torso and lower legs and feet. When practicing
the belly rolls you can feel the rapid vibrations solely in the abdominals. The camels feel more like a body
wave that extend from the upper body muscles all the way to the lower body muscles. Here are the basic steps:
1. Begin with your chest pushed forward and out; your back should naturally make an arch. Roll your shoulders
backwards and make sure your pelvis is being pushed up and backwards as well. At the beginning of this move,
your weight should be on your front heel and your back heel should be lifted from the floor.
2. Because your shoulders are being rolled back, the end of this particular segment will make your chest elevate UP
(towards the sky); it almost feels like an arch in the area between your shoulder blades. Your pelvis is extended
fully backwards and your weight is on the balls of both of your feet. Step 2 is more like part 2 of Step 1; the moves
are simply exaggerated and there is a shift in weight.
3. Your spine pulls back and your shoulders roll forward. You are basically making a "C" with your chest and back. Your
pelvis pushes up and forward. Your weight is on the back foot and the heel of your front foot is lifted.
4. In the final position, you end with your body making a straight and vertical line. Your posture is perfect and your shoulders
These are only the VERY BASIC steps in belly dancing. The dance is an extremely intricate and detail oriented art.
From personal experience and from a logical stance, taking lessons from an experienced and professional dancer is
the best way to achieve a full understanding of how to belly dance with proper technique.