(Christian Javan)
List 05 July

8 tips to belly dancing success

Get shimmying, with help from Go Learn To’s waist-wiggling expert, Burcu Kisakurek

1. Don’t worry – join in

Belly dancing can be practised by anyone (male and female). You don’t require an athletic body; moves are soft, elegant and easy to follow.

2. Select a style

Pick a teacher that dances the style you want to learn – Egyptian, Turkish, American cabaret, tribal, fusion… Techniques and music differ.

3. Dress  down for lessons

Yoga pants and a comfy top (preferably with midriff bare) are best for a belly dance class. Pick an outfit that allows your teacher to watch your hips; a hip scarf will help define your movements. Dance barefoot or in ballet shoes.

4. Learn the basics

Undulation is a wave of the torso and hips. Stand feet forward, knees slightly bent, belly pulled in, chest lifted, shoulders back. Lift the chest up, then drop it in towards the shoulders. Tuck the pelvis in to the spine, then return pelvis to the neutral position.

5. Start to shimmy

With feet flat and knees slightly bent, move your knees and hips up and down alternately but gently and quickly. A hip scarf (with bells or charms on it) accentuates this.

6. Express yourself

A smile is the best facial expression, though some styles require serious looks to convey story. Key is not to appear like you’re counting steps.

7. Graduate to the proper costume

Authentic outfits consist of bra, belt and skirt: Turkish costumes usually include chiffon skirts, to flatter turns and walk steps; Egyptian ones are more fitted. Both use lots of beads and sequins.

8. Learn the background

To dance authentically, learn the culture. Visit Turkey, watch local dancers, listen to the local music.

Go Learn To’s Turkey Belly Dancing Holiday costs from £615 for eight days. It runs a wide range of learning trips; see www.golearnto.com.

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