Belly Dance for Exercise

lizaj

New member
I would suggest that there are a LOT of people offering "dance instruction" classes in belly dance that have no more cultural aspect than many of the fitness classes. I'm thinking in particular of belly dance teachers who don't use Middle Eastern music, and who teach fusion classes.

I understand the appeal of fusion (and sometimes perform it myself), but I feel it should be reserved for intermediate and advanced students who already have a strong foundation in the original dance from the Middle East.

So... just because a class claims to be "dance instruction" instead of "exercise" doesn't guarantee that it will incorporate the cultural aspect.
Mmm yes Worse to represent this dance as some kind of pantomine or as good form of exercise? The cultural aspect is learning "technique" to Shakira as opposed to drilling to Egyptian pop music.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Yes, and you can't keep the cardio up the same way as other cardio classes unless all of the participants are experienced bellydancers.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Hi,

Salsa is easily one of the most widely practiced dances in the world. Nearly everywhere across the globe, you'll likely find a solid and committed community of dancers dedicated to the dance. The numerous festivals held in different countries are a testament to the dance's popularity.

Moreover, learning salsa is not impossible. Simple foot turns and hips swings can be acquired easily through tutorial dance videos or even just dance video clips over the internet. While advance techniques such as spins, dips, and styling can be acquired with in-person lessons. Learning how to dance salsa is now easy and affordable. From DVDs to online tutorials, to classes in your city or town, it has never been easier to learn this sexy latin dance.
I agree - you can keep a cardio going with salsa dance steps.
 

CottonAnatomy

New member
I don't think belly dance classes should market themselves as being a good workout, mainly because the classes are usually once a week and that's definitly not a workout routine. BUT I think belly dance, if practiced multiple times per week, could definitly be considered as exercise. There is alot of working of the muscles in your core and legs, and moving your arms and keeping them lifted will work those muscles. If you move enough it could be considered cardio, I suppose.

The few months I've been dancing, I haven't lost any weight but I have gained muscle and lost fat. It's noticable when I look in the mirror. I have lessons once a week but I practice on my own ATLEAST two other days a week. I'm going to start going to the gym again once I'm done moving, and then I do expect the mix of dancing and the gym to give me some new results. :cool:
 

lizaj

New member
What we have to ask ourselves is what kind of a body do you want? If you want a muscle rippling gym body you go to there and not to belly dance lessons. These are about technique unless the impact is upped to some kind of bellyrobics class.
I am not sure that people don't see a difference coming to a once weekly class..my students often report re-gaining a waist! You do tone with belly dance as any kind of lower impact exercise and for many women who are not that young and fit , it is a preferable objective. No you don't lose weight, you have to diet for that.
I know we can look at certain belly dancers(especially some US dancers) and see gym induced abs but I am not sure that's a belly dancer body;)
 

Afrit

New member
For me "exercising" and "working-out" means you really sweat, breathe hard but most importantly your heart-rate goes up to a cardio or fatburn zone. So for me it has nothing to do with calorie burn but how much you challenge your muscles (including heart muscles). After all, you can walk really slow and burn 400 calories but your heart rate was low the whole time.

Unless you are doing some serious jumps and squats and so forth in your dance I would not consider it a form of exercise.
Try doing an hour of sa`iidi then tell me belly dance isn't a workout! ;)
 

Afrit

New member
Have you tried yoga? A yoga instructor should be able to work with your back too; if you go to a yoga studio or a place where they teach it they should be able to help you. But bellydance does give you the benefits of low impact cardiovascular exercise. Good luck!
And some Yoga is really, really bad for people with back problems. Yoga is self selecting - the disasters don't stay. They take their injured bodies and slope off home.
 

Ruby~<3

New member
hm... it hink it is a good work out.

my teahcer used to offer a belly dance conditioning class. she too said its not really cardio but its good for dance strengthening and stamina..(and trust m e the whole class was always sore! it was really just a lot of drilling and she would try ot do different parts of the body.

so yeah unless yo uare doing hard core drumb solos constently for and hour i do nt think its really cardio... but its sculpting! and yes it burns calories. *i lost 46 lbs dancing and eating right every day!

so i dont know i guess i would go the route of my inststructor and make it more of a belly dance co nditioning or a sculpting class but not really cardio...
 

Wonderland Wigs

New member
I think that as has been said before we need to be careful about promoting belly dance as fitness because it can easily lose its cultural context. However, that said, it is a great form of exercise and if new comers are attracted to belly dance for that reason then is it such a bad thing as it will only make the dance more popular and providing teachers and dance groups make sure that culture remains at the heart of the dance then it's not a problem.
x
 

khanjar

New member
Why did I start it, well, because of the music, I wanted to, but have since understood the health benefits, my back problems seemed to have eased, I have lost some useless flab and on the whole I feel one hundred percent fitter and with that a more positive mind. Just to note, in recent years, I have been to the bottom of the blackest pit regarding health and mentality.

I still stand by what I wrote elsewhere earlier, dance is about joy and by joy, health. If health concerns draw others to this wonderful dance, then, so be it, they will with commitment reap the rewards. With health comes interest and there the interest in the culture of where this treatment came from, it's history and it's continuance. But, does it matter why people come to this dance, for when they do, they ensure its tradition into the future.
 

Ruby~<3

New member
I think that as has been said before we need to be careful about promoting belly dance as fitness because it can easily lose its cultural context. However, that said, it is a great form of exercise and if new comers are attracted to belly dance for that reason then is it such a bad thing as it will only make the dance more popular and providing teachers and dance groups make sure that culture remains at the heart of the dance then it's not a problem.
x
well said i feel the same!:D
 

eden eyes

New member
i disagree that it can't be cardiovascular. obviously we all know that practicing on your own can make you look like you just went swimming after an hour or even less, but the way i teach my fitness class, they work up a sweat pretty fast and become out of breath. the are sore, not only because of it's conditioning characteristic but it's cardio level. but i think it can depend a lot on the style you do as well. i advertise my class as just belly dance, but it resembles AmCab HEAVY on modern Turkish, which can be very very cardiovascular. like we do a lot of dips, hops, leaps, spins, fast isolations, hard stops, very dramatic! and when i hear them moaning in pain and laughing at one another for "feeling it" i trust they aren't lying lol.

just this week we did some floorwork and because i teach in "combos" they had to do a lot of getting down and getting back up which, if done enough, can reeeeaaaally work up the heart rate.

anyway, that's my input!
 

His_Einna

New member
Just a quick note, I imagine it's already been bought up, but....

Anyone ever done any of the cardio belly-dance DVD's, such as Rania's? 'Cause I've been doing some of her workouts for about 3 months now, and there are certain 30 minute cardio work-outs I have yet to finish.

I think the arguement that bellydancing doesn't really shift calories is an acurate one; it's low impact and doesn't always involve enough movement to really get your heart-rate going. However, to say it's not a form of exercise is rediculous; done properly, bellydancing engages muscles you never knew you had and keeps them engaged for long and intensive periods. In three months, I've all but rid myself of a stubborn baby-belly with bellydancing alone.

I don't think bellydancing alone is enough, but if you're doing a high impact aerobics routine three to five times a week, taking 20 minutes a day to walk, jog or run and eating healthily, you'll not need much more than that!
 
I think the arguement that bellydancing doesn't really shift calories is an acurate one; it's low impact and doesn't always involve enough movement to really get your heart-rate going. However, to say it's not a form of exercise is rediculous; done properly, bellydancing engages muscles you never knew you had and keeps them engaged for long and intensive periods. In three months, I've all but rid myself of a stubborn baby-belly with bellydancing alone.
It also depends on how you're taught: Jane Jardine's classes are definitely cardio! On the other hand, I've been taught by some Sydney teachers (who shall remain nameless) who never mention the tummy muscles at all: they have some advanced students who have great technique in some ways - and their bellies hanging out.
 

AliX

New member
Last night I made the mistake of tuning in to Channel 275 on Sky (UK) for the Bellydancing for weight loss programme (hosted by Dolphina). I found it difficult and failed to complete most of the exercises - which was very dispiriting. And suddenly their was a dance routine that obviously depended on watching some other bellydancing show that she has....I just gave up and ate my last mince pie instead

On the other hand, my son who is 9, thought that I was absolutely hilarious. Better than the Gruffalo on Christmas Day.

As a novice, I need to see adverts marked clearly - is the class is purely for exercise (ie bring your sweats) or a rounded cultural workshop (get ready to jingle your coin bra!)?

I'm after the latter and would be deeply mortified to turn up at a class and discover it full of honed and toned bods ready to go for the burn....

Ali
 

Aziyade

New member
Try doing an hour of Tunisian and tell me the same.... plus the waspy waist all that twisting would produce.
Does that really work???? I'd heard that once, but wondered. Will the twisting movements help to create a more wasp waist look? I asked around on the ACE forums, and nobody could tell me one way or the other.

I think I could get used to doing Tunisian. :)
 

shiradotnet

New member
Does that really work???? I'd heard that once, but wondered. Will the twisting movements help to create a more wasp waist look? I asked around on the ACE forums, and nobody could tell me one way or the other.
A lot depends on what your core muscle tone was like before you started belly dancing.

Twisting movements will work the lower back, the obliques, the abs, and the transverse abs. If these muscles are flabby to start with, then just about any torso-oriented moves but especially twisting ones will tone these muscles. Toned muscles will define your waist in a way that flabby ones can not.

But of course, there's also the issue of body type to consider. And the issue of how often the exercise is done, and for how long at one time. And the issue of diet and how much body fat there is on top of those muscles.

There are lots of variables to consider, which is why I wouldn't make this marketing claim in an advertisement even though I know people for whom it offered a benefit.
 
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