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Belly Dancers Find New Muscles in Beginning Classes


Come to a class at Magnificent Belly Dance this week to use muscles you didn’t know you have, laugh along with other ladies new to belly dance, and learn something new.

After greetings and registration, wander over to the table to choose a hip scarf for class. Will you choose your favorite color? Will you color coordinate with your outfit? Or will you choose basic black?

The five minute “beginner speech” includes how our classes may be different from other belly dance classes. Students at Magnificent Belly Dance work toward learning dances. Every beginner class, practicing the same basic moves, gets you closer to the day you can dance a fast drum solo with chest and hip articulations, or dance to that slow sensual instrumental with undulations, graceful arms and slow figure eights.

While beginner classes aren’t intended to be aerobic, you will sweat from using newfound muscles. Find a spot in front of the mirrors and we begin.

It’s OK to look around and note that you are older than some in the class, but younger than others. You may even be younger than the instructor who explains each move in terms you can understand. At each beginner class we practice the same basic moves building strength in our legs, finding the gracefulness in our arms, while strengthening and increasing flexibility in our core.

For example, Maria, B’Atris, and Danielle all have an interest in learning belly dance. Maria has great range of motion in her hips but is very stiff in her upper back- she sits at a computer all day. B’Atris can’t figure out how to isolate her hips but has the hand and arm movements of an experienced dancer. Danielle can’t seem to isolate any of her muscles and wonders aloud how she ever learned to walk.

Each beginner starts at a different place and progresses at her own pace. Each week Maria, B’Atris, and Danielle find the moves easier. Their flexibility has increased, their muscles remember, and they are stronger.

Once you are proficient in the basic moves, you move on to Routines 1, learning new moves and begin choreographed dances.Maria stays in the beginner class for six weeks before moving on to the next level, continuing to work on upper back flexibility and undulations while learning new dance moves.

B’Atris leaves the beginner class after eight weeks knowing her body has the same grace and fluidity as her arms.

Danielle moves on with her still not happy with some of her moves. Next month she’ll attend two classes each week- a beginner class to reinforce the basics and Routines 1.

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