Do you feel like there is something wrong with many of your movements but you can’t quite figure out what’s causing your movements to look different and it’s driving you crazy?
Or maybe you are a belly dance teacher and you’re wanting to help your students, but you’re struggling to figure out what’s going wrong “systemically” with your students’ technique.
Maybe, you haven’t even started belly dance classes, but you’d like to know what are some important things to think about early in your belly dance movement training.
Let me tell you about the three most common issues that plague belly dancers that may be causing your/their technique to NOT look as good as it could.
Problem # 1
Holding Your Breath
This can indicate you may be tensing up muscles and not completely relaxing, causing you to have trouble fully executing your movements.
While you are practicing, be mindful of your breathing by frequently checking in with yourself, making sure that you are not holding your breath and that you’re not holding tension somewhere in the body, for example, your face, around the neck and shoulders, squeezing your shoulders blades together, over-tightening your abs, engaging your gluts unnecessarily, or even locking your knees.
Feel into any tightness you sense and release it with a full, calm breath in and out during all of your dance practices.
Not Maintaining Good Posture
Poor postural points like slouching shoulders, lowered rib cage, anteriorly tilting hips, and locked knees can cast a dark shadow over your technique causing otherwise good movements to not look their best.
It’s very important to identify any postural issues and work to form new muscular memories with proper form.
You can do this by maintaining mindfulness of your posture during your belly dance practices. Being diligent with yourself to correct any and every instance of poor posture until you develop new, better postural habits.
Not Maintaining Good Arm [and Hand] Positioning
Besides your posture, your arms and hands play a huge role in your overall aesthetic. Poorly positioned arms and misshaped hands can cause your otherwise good technique to look unpolished and cause you to look less confident.
I recommend that from day one new dancers work toward maintaining a proper neutral arm position and pleasant hands during the entirety of their practice sessions.
This helps new students build good arm and hand habits from the start. If you‘ve never done this, start now by training your technique to include a pleasant, neutral position during your whole practice.
Once you grow as a dancer and start using more arm pathways and positions, those good, basic habits you trained will remain.