Belly Dance for Exercise

Rue

New member
I have to agree. I started BD 1.5 years ago soley as a fitness activity...and I enjoy it (more than expected)...so I'm staying with it...

I needed something low impact...and it has kept me toned during my weight loss efforts. I have a 1 hour class a week...and I practice the moves at home (but not enough to get true exercise from doing my homework).

I supplement my dance class with walking (5km average...with 1, 2 or all 3 dogs) as often as I can...

The 'cultural' part (costuming, etc.) has been fun...but it's not the important aspect of BD...the exercise is...
 

Aziyade

New member
The 'cultural' part (costuming, etc.) has been fun...but it's not the important aspect of BD...the exercise is...
Please tell me that I misunderstood this post. And that you aren't equating the cultural aspects of this dance with costuming.
 

RayaDancer

New member
M

What I'm finding out in planning my class for cancer patients, is that for some populations, movement itself is therapeutic. It unstiffens the joints, gently stretches the muscles, and keeps the spirits high. BUT, the same movements done by very fit women may not be enough "work" to make them feel like they're really getting a "workout" -- the kind who think if you're not sweating, you're not really working! I think you would have to have just the right population of students to have a belly fit class be successful AND stay true to the origins and cultural context. But that's just my current thinking on the matter.
this brought such joy to my heart... belly dance for cancer sufferers! what a beautiful, selfless thing to do!

i think there is absolutely nothing wrong with promoting belly dance as a low impact exercise, because thats what it is, plain and simple. I dont think you lose cultural aspect when promoting it that way; on the contrary i think you can open up the general population to learn about another culture, and the significance of the dance. Think of all the modern forms of exercise that have been taken from other cultures; yoga, tai chi, even the new zumba craze that has origins in latin dance.
And beyond the exercise impact, think of the healing impact the dance has had on many people (see above quote)! besides those that suffer from debilitating illness, what about those that suffer from low self esteem, poor body image?
There should be no concern about preserving it as an art form...the differences between belly dance as exercise and belly dance as art are vast...
just like there are degrees of difference whether you learn yoga at a gym or an ashram, there are degrees of difference whether you learn to belly dance for health or you learn belly dance for the passion of the dance.
 

nouraki

New member
The 'cultural' part (costuming, etc.) has been fun...but it's not the important aspect of BD...the exercise is...
The culture of belly dance is just what you wear?
If you are referring to the traditional costume of every dance (khaleeji,Nubian etc) its ok, in one way i may understand.But its not this. The culture is not the costume.It's the music, the dance, the costume, the history.as well as the moves is not dance.It is just a part of it.
If you have difficulties in movement, ok i understand that you do it for gymnastic and i accept it. If you believe that the most important matter of bellydance is the exercise, then for me, It is wrong.
Please i don't want to be misunderstood. :)
You consider bellydance as an exercise, but for me "bellydance" is a culture. The sentence "exercise as an important aspect of BD" is very very small to express this magical dance.
Sorry, just my opinion. :)
 

RayaDancer

New member
i got this link from another debate on this forum...
as opposed to being concerned about losing the art and culture of belly dance through promoting belly dance as exercise, i think we should be concerned as promoting belly dance as this:

YouTube - Snake Chama_Avenue TY_Breezo_Count d_Timdizl_Sadie Belly dance_final.VOB
 

Rue

New member
...costuming/clothing is part of any culture...I shouldn't have listed 'costuming' first though...poor word choice on my part.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
I don't see anything wrong with using bellydance as a workout for fitness. But I think it should be a workout for people who already know how. To just start doing it in an aerobics class with no prior instruction may cause injuries to those who don't know the steps. I took a few of these workout classes at one time and the instructor either had to stop to show people how to do the movements properly, thus cutting down the fitness time, or even worse, just expected people to fall in and do it without being shown how, which horrified me.
 

Aziyade

New member
I don't see anything wrong with using bellydance as a workout for fitness. But I think it should be a workout for people who already know how. To just start doing it in an aerobics class with no prior instruction may cause injuries to those who don't know the steps. I took a few of these workout classes at one time and the instructor either had to stop to show people how to do the movements properly, thus cutting down the fitness time, or even worse, just expected people to fall in and do it without being shown how, which horrified me.
That's completely against the rules in most places.

At the gyms around here, if you are going to take any kind of an aerobic fitness class, you have to take an introductory class first, to show you the movements. Can you imagine trying to take a step aerobics class without knowing proper form? Or knowing the movements? AAK!

I would think with any "bellyfit" type of class (and not just a regular dance class) you would have to have an intro class to show you the right form. Just maybe a one-hour non-aerobic instructional class. You have to have a trainer introduce you to the machines; so why not expect a class to introduce you to the technique?
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
That's completely against the rules in most places.

At the gyms around here, if you are going to take any kind of an aerobic fitness class, you have to take an introductory class first, to show you the movements. Can you imagine trying to take a step aerobics class without knowing proper form? Or knowing the movements? AAK!

I would think with any "bellyfit" type of class (and not just a regular dance class) you would have to have an intro class to show you the right form. Just maybe a one-hour non-aerobic instructional class. You have to have a trainer introduce you to the machines; so why not expect a class to introduce you to the technique?
Absolutely! When I first did aerobics years ago, we were taught the moves. I've seen this with zumba though - just jump right in. I don't think that is wise either.
 

Cyriine

New member
That's completely against the rules in most places.

At the gyms around here, if you are going to take any kind of an aerobic fitness class, you have to take an introductory class first, to show you the movements. Can you imagine trying to take a step aerobics class without knowing proper form? Or knowing the movements? AAK!

I would think with any "bellyfit" type of class (and not just a regular dance class) you would have to have an intro class to show you the right form. Just maybe a one-hour non-aerobic instructional class. You have to have a trainer introduce you to the machines; so why not expect a class to introduce you to the technique?
At a Gym near me, they have 'bellydance' classes. I use the term loosely because the teacher requested that everyone either acquire a cane or snake, yes snake, for the third week.

They don't have classes that are ordered in ability and anyone can show up and jump right in. I went for one week, the lessons started with her jumping straight into move after move and throwing terminology around without actually explaining anything. She had children from 5 years upwards who weren't paying that much attention and she never told us to warm up or anything. Without sounding catty, she really wasn't all that of a dancer anyway, when asked who taught her she replied Shakira =|, she laughed afterwards so I hope she was joking.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
At a Gym near me, they have 'bellydance' classes. I use the term loosely because the teacher requested that everyone either acquire a cane or snake, yes snake, for the third week.

They don't have classes that are ordered in ability and anyone can show up and jump right in. I went for one week, the lessons started with her jumping straight into move after move and throwing terminology around without actually explaining anything. She had children from 5 years upwards who weren't paying that much attention and she never told us to warm up or anything. Without sounding catty, she really wasn't all that of a dancer anyway, when asked who taught her she replied Shakira =|, she laughed afterwards so I hope she was joking.
Snake? And people came? :shok:

Yep, the gym I was at had her identical twin sister working there. Then she left. The gym talked to me about giving a bellydance class, and I told them my layout would be completely different, including making it an instrucitonal class and having an hour for a class, not 30-45, which is not possible for a decent class. They looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language!
 

Cyriine

New member
Snake? And people came? :shok:

Yep, the gym I was at had her identical twin sister working there. Then she left. The gym talked to me about giving a bellydance class, and I told them my layout would be completely different, including making it an instrucitonal class and having an hour for a class, not 30-45, which is not possible for a decent class. They looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language!
Oh yeah! She had people lapping it up, it was during the Hips don't lie release and everyone and their granny wanted to be like Shakira the 'bellydancer'. The class i went to was 45mins long and she used Shakira ft Beyonce - Beautiful Liar as a staple song to practice too.

Yeah, God forbid someone knows what they're doing. It seems in my town nobody knows what you're talking about if you don't mention Shakira somewhere in the sentence when talking about Bellydance.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Snake? And people came? :shok:

Yep, the gym I was at had her identical twin sister working there. Then she left. The gym talked to me about giving a bellydance class, and I told them my layout would be completely different, including making it an instrucitonal class and having an hour for a class, not 30-45, which is not possible for a decent class. They looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language!
oO;;; I'm with Bonfire---snake?!? :shok: And, might I add, THIRD WEEK????

I agree with dancers who have posted in the past here about the subject of dancing with live animals: they should be considered a partner, not a prop! This so-called "teacher" doesn't sound like she has much respect for living creatures, let alone have care for the safety of her studients. Dancing with a live creature should be reserved for the advanced dancer, IMNSHO. A third-week beginner hasn't even had enough time to get a few moves down in his/her muscle memory, let alone trying to dance with a live (and potentially dangerous) animal.

:wall::wall::wall:
 

Cyriine

New member
Yeah it was a What The Hell moment. Part of me died inside when i saw a few people go into a pet shop near the Gym. God knows what happened in that lesson.
 

LadyLoba

New member
I'm so afraid of snakes I don't go into pet stores because I might encounter one in a cage and I have refused to visit people's houses or take classes just because I will have a panic attack if I even see a snake through a doorway of a classroom or a spare room in a house....and I could never enter a room with one actually in it....so "snake" alone would make me drop that class that day!

But I've had the same overall issue with the one or two classes held in my area..they just weren't at all serious about teaching belly dance. I watched what was supposed to be a performance at a couple of community fairs and events, and all they did was take turns walking around in their costumes.

PS: I also agree with the concern for the snakes themselves. Snakes might frighten me, but they are still living animals...and no...somebody who does not know the proper way to handle them while dancing shouldn't be dancing with one. My cat is much more comfortable to be around for me, but dancing with a snake in a way that would hurt it is no less cruel than it would be to grab my cat and swing him around while dancing.
 
Last edited:

LadyLoba

New member
Yes...that seems to happen a lot with all forms of dance classes. I've seen "ballet" classes that were more like aerobics with a few stretches against a barre as well.
 

Juno

New member
My opinion is that belly dance is a good form of exercise, but not the lame pseudo belly dancing mentioned above. It is not high-intensity, but gives more of a workout than I expected. It also increases flexibility and dexterity, which you don't get from raw calorie-burning (and less fun) exercise like stationary or non-stationary bike riding. Also, a firm belly seems to be a common area of concern for both men and women, and belly dancing should help make a nice belly. (Or at least I hope so.)

I would say that if you want more exercise do something else in addition to belly dancing. The important thing about exercise is that it needs to be fun to be successful. If you enjoy belly dancing, then it is the perfect exercise, right?

Juno
 

LuLu

New member
I started Belly Dance to have fun and have a low impact workout that would not cause me problems with my lupus. As for the snakes...what the heck? I dont even like using props I luckily dont strangle myself with a veil but a slithering animal on the 3rd week that is animal and student cruelty! Snakes dont scare me but Im sure others dont share my comfort around the creatures.
 

chirel

New member
I did a search on something and this thread showed up. Itäs old, but I still felt like saying something on the topic.

Someone already said that it seems like most people in this thread don't realize how bad condition some people can be in. After having spent years in front of an computer, not exervising, giving birth to two kids, having sleeping problems and depression and a pretty close case of burn out I decided to make sure my life would change somehow. I decided to start belly dancing as I remembered I liked the moves and I like moving to any music. I didn't have a chance to go to a class and frankly, any class would have been too difficult for me at that point. I searched youtube for anything I could use and found Belly dance basics by Neena and Veena and started with that doing just the first 8-10 minutes a day and slowly building up. I couldn't have sone more then, I was in such a bad shape and as I saw that my goal should be excersizing regularly I didn't want to try too much in the beginning.

About two months later Iäm still doing that save program but when it feel too easy I try layering stuff and I've added technique drills and some improvising to music to my routine. From the initial 10 minute work out I've build my way to 1 hour and 15 minutes which I do 6 days a week. It's the first time I've been so consisten with any exercise ever. I hope all you teachers recognise this when you have students in your class who are in a bad condition. Even those basics might be hard for them and serve as a good work out. Just today I drilled and improvised some hip moves for about 20 minutes and I really felt it. For me this is very much an exercise, but I do hope that one day i'll be in such a good shape that I could add parkour or acrobatics to my weekly routine :D Still working on the basic muscle control, though :D

(And sorry, my english is not perfect. I really struggled with some parts of this message. I hope it is still possible for you to understand my meaning.)
 
Top