How to learn to isolate belly muscles?
I went to youtube and found many videos of people who can control their belly muscles really well and many arent belly dancers. Here is an example of a belly dancer doing a coin flip on her belly.
YouTube - Bellydancing Coin Tricks
I can control my belly muscles better than the average person but i can push it out more than I can push it in. Is the trick to lay flat on your back and practice moving your belly? I feel like that is when I have the most control and if I can learn to do something on my back then I should be able to do it standing up right?
If it works for you, do it! I used to practise my tummy isolations laying on my back with my cat laying on my tummy, so try away!
For the coinflip trick, I still can`t do it and I doubt if I ever will
I have heard both laying on your back practicing isolating the bellymuscles (and to put a book on the belly to get some resistance/weight) and standing on all four letting the belly hang out and sucking it in. I was quite succesful with just pressing with my hands on my belly and feeling the touch on the muscles. That made me figure out where the muscles were and what to move.
I learned upper and lower abdominal movements by laying on my back but also sitting down and also by holding one section still while moving the other. It does take mounds of practice though.
The coin flip is a trick -- seriously. It's not done the way you think it's done. I won't spoil it for those who teach it, but if you really want to learn it, go to a teacher who performs it and ask her to teach you.
I fully recommend Hannan Sultan's "Put the Belly Back in Bellydance" dvd. And go over each practice chapter more than just once -- they're short so 10 times each is a good goal.
There's an article on my web site about how to do stomach rolls:
How to Belly Dance
I feel the need to point out that learning to do coin tricks is not going to make you a better belly dancer. Coin tricks may be fun as a novelty act, but there's nothing "dance" oriented about them. I suggest focusing your energy on something else that can make you a better dancer - it'll be much more useful to focus on musical interpretation, use of energy in dance, etc.
I looked up this article when I was first learning belly rolls. It really helped! Thanks, Shira.
Originally Posted by shiradotnet
There are also some videos on youtube that helped as well, but they are very amateur so I don't know if it would be a good idea to post them.
I think the key is to practice regularly, to be patient and persistent. Some people have a natural ability to do belly rolls (which can still be improved upon), for others it takes weeks, or months, or longer.
I think it took me about 3 months of regular (almost daily) practice. Once I "got it" I stopped practicing regularly. I never lost them, but they never became stellar. But I am satisfied, as I don't think belly rolls are crucial to belly dance, just nice to have in my repertoire.
I don't think the belly rolls are crucial for oriental dance either.
Originally Posted by Yame
BUT I think that the control of your muscles what you get when you are very good with belly rolls is! Lately all I have been teaching is about control, control and control. Most of my students, who come different parts of the world, have not heard or really understod about the level of the control the dancer can have and how it can make one's dance better - in any style of oriental dance. So I do highly recommend you to start practice them every time as a part of your warm-up.
That's true. I actually have been doing them almost every day lately, but not in the same way I used to when I was first getting them down. I used to focus on them and try really hard for up to 15 minutes, contracting upper abs x amount of times, lower abs, then contract one, contract the other, release one, release other, contracting really hard and pushing out on the release, trying different positions (standing, sitting, kneeling, laying down), etc. Now I just do them for a minute or so as part of my drills.
Originally Posted by Outi
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