Hello Harlandale!

Hi everyone!  I’m glad you found our blog.

I created this page for the employees of Harlandale ISD taking the belly dance class on Thursday’s at the Sheh Center, and anyone else who might be interested in picking up some belly dance techniques.

What I basically plan to do is create a blog for each week that tells what techniques we learned/practiced and a step by step of how to do each movement.  I’ll also create a blog for the choreography we practice at the end of class and I’ll update that as I work on the routine, not necessarily as we learn it in class.  (So what’s on here may be more than what I’ve taught so far.)

This can also help you communicate to me things you liked, didn’t like, or maybe just didn’t understand.  Online I can point you to resources we aren’t able to use in class and I’m hoping to upload some music as well.

I hope that everyone finds this useful and I look forward to seeing your feedback!

Shannon

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Choreography 2011/2012 (2nd)

The music for this consists of 2 songs, available for download from Amazon.  Both are from DJ Mosavo on the Sensual Goddess album.  The first song is titled “Twin Stars,” (song 11).  The second is “Uncovered Ecstacy,” (song 6).  As I’m writing this, I only have a few specific movements, the rest will be written in broad strokes to give you the general idea.  At this point I plan to cut the second song about 1 minute before it ends, but if we have time to add that section in we will.

Twin Stars

The first part will be the ladies only, dancing with veil.  When I refer to a “phrase” in the song, I mean from one lyric section to the next (from when the voice starts until right before it starts again).

Enter with veils wrapped like a sari, snake arms at the side.

Phrase 1
Unwrap upper portion of veil, then lower half.
Turn or move position with veil overhead.

Phrase 2
Twirl & hold veil at left shoulder, turn.
Twirl & hold veil to right shoulder, turn.
Bring veil to front, then float over head.

Phrase 3
Lift arms, praying hands overhead.
Downwards 8’s.
Meet in center, wheel turn

Phrase 4
First solo, others do basic move in background.
Meet in center, wheel turn.

Phrase 5
Second solo, others do basic move in background.
Meet in center, wheel turn.

Phrase 6
Final solo, others do basic move in background.
Meet in center, wheel turn.

Final Phrase
Everyone should be in position for next song.
Bring veil to chest.
Spread “wings” on high note.
Drop wings, bring arms down & behind.
Wrap arms in veil for next song.

Uncovered Ecstacy

Girls pop & lock in place, Gabriel enters & moves to center.
Gabriel solo – Girls turn in & out twice.

Gabriel & Cecilia duet.

Gabriel & Erlinda duet.

Shannon “shows off.”
Gabriel & Shannon duet.

Everyone dances together.

(Final minute – girls do more veil work?)

Jan 12, 2012

Hip Circles
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Without bending at the waist, push your hips as far as you can to one side.  Next, push your hips forward.  Then push to the opposite side, and finally to the back.  Push your hips to each of these four directions several times, then smooth the motion into a circle.  Throughout this movement try to keep your torso as still as possible.  Repeat moving in the opposite direction.  Also, try varying the size & speed of your hip circles (small & fast or big & slow).

Chest Pops & Drops
Stand in a basic stance.  For a chest pop quickly lift your chest to a raised position (like when someone says to stick your chest out).  Return to a neutral position & repeat.  For a chest drop quickly drop your chest inward (without hunching your shoulders) like someone punched you in the chest.  Return to neutral & repeat.

Chest Pop Walk
This step is done using a “step-together” movement.  If moving to the side, the foot corresponding to the direction of movement will be slightly forward (when moving to the right, right foot will be in front).  If moving forward or back, your dominant foot should be forward.  As you take a step push your chest forward.  As you bring your feet together, let your chest return to a neutral position.  This can be done at any speed.  For a faster chest pop walk, you can lift up to the tips of your toes and take very small steps.

Bicycle 8’s
For this movement you should stand angled slightly to the side, back foot flat to support & front foot up on toes to allow for movement since the forward hip will be the one making the movement.  Start in a neutral position.  Drop your hip and move it forward (twist slightly to do this), lift your hip and twist back to your starting point.  Drop your hip again and move it backward, lift and return to your starting position.

Egyptian Arms
The description for Egyptian Arms is copied from the previous posts.  If you have read those there is no need to read this post unless you want a refresher.

Stand with your arms at your side.  With one arm, face your wrist to the center and sweep your arm up in front of your body (leading with the wrist).  When you get to shoulder level, start to bring your elbow up, so that your arm encircles your head.  Keep moving your palm around your head and down your cheek (not actually touching about 2-4 inches away).  Your elbow will naturally move inward.  As you get to your chin, push your hand across your body and sweep it back down to the starting position.  In the end, your hand will have traced a paisley design or half of a yin-yang.  Practice this movement several times with both arms.

To combine, begin the movement with one arm.  As your hand begins to come down, start to move your other hand up.  Your arms will cross in front of your body – the arm that’s moving down should be crossing to the back.  After you’ve crossed your arms the first time it is very easy to want to move into snake arms.  Remember these two things…  1) When your hand gets to the bottom, it reverses direction to go back the way it came (instead of  continuing to a circle).  2) When your arms start to come down, keep your elbow in tight (almost forcing your hand to frame your face) rather than letting it swing wide, out into snake arms.

 

Choreography 2011/2012 – Charlie’s Angels

The “stanzas” represent the different segments in the music.  This will be updated shortly with the rest of this choreography.

Note Be sure to check the links on the left for a free music player with the song we’re using!  =D

Start with arms down
When music begins arms rise to meet over head
Shimmy, hip pop
Right arm follows left arm down, then to the side
Shimmy with music, starting small and gradually getting bigger

Umi (toward the right) three times, hip push (arms in an L to the right)
Umi (toward the left) three times, hip push (arms in an L to the left)

Left side hip drop, drop kick twice
Four chest circles right
Right side hip drop, drop kick twice
Four chest circles left

Angel arms angled right
Angel arms angled left
Hip twist turning in a circle (8 count)
Chest pop walk (8 count)

3 step turn, hip figure 8 (x3)
Shoulder shimmy front & back pointing guns (x2)

Chest circles up, right side, left side, up
Shimmy walk turning to face back
4 upward figure 8’s
4 downward figure 8’s

Turn to face front
Big, flowing snake arms (x6)
Turn back, shoulder shimmies back
Turn to front, shoulder shimmies front

First group drops arms
First group hip circles, second group drops arms
First & second groups hip circles, third group drops arms
Everyone hip circles

Downward 8 walk forward
Shimmy slides
Figure 8’s with guns
M&M’s
Bicycle hips with karate hands

Shoulder rolls down & up
???????????
Circle around to new position
Shoulder shimmy front
Shoulder shimmy back
Circle head, chest, hip, then shimmy

Turn in & pose
Hip pop

Week 6 – December 2, 2010

Egyptian Arms
Stand with your arms at your side.  With one arm, face your wrist to the center and sweep your arm up in front of your body (leading with the wrist).  When you get to shoulder level, start to bring your elbow up, so that your arm encircles your head.  Keep moving your palm around your head and down your cheek (not actually touching about 2-4 inches away).  Your elbow will naturally move inward.  As you get to your chin, push your hand across your body and sweep it back down to the starting position.  In the end, your hand will have traced a paisley design or half of a yin-yang.  Practice this movement several times with both arms.

To combine, begin the movement with one arm.  As your hand begins to come down, start to move your other hand up.  Your arms will cross in front of your body – the arm that’s moving down should be crossing to the back.  After you’ve crossed your arms the first time it is very easy to want to move into snake arms.  Remember these two things…  1) When your hand gets to the bottom, it reverses direction to go back the way it came (instead of  continuing to a circle).  2) When your arms start to come down, keep your elbow in tight (almost forcing your hand to frame your face) rather than letting it swing wide, out into snake arms.

Hip Circle Walk
We’re going to start this movement with a basic hip circle, then add elements to bring it up to a walk. 

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Without bending at the waist, push your hips as far as you can to one side.  Next, push your hips forward.  Then push to the opposite side, and finally to the back.  Push your hips to each of these four directions several times, then smooth the motion into a circle.  Throughout this movement try to keep your torso as still as possible.  Make the movement a little smaller before adding the next steps in.

Get to where your circle size and pace are comfortable.  As your hips circle around to the back and your weight shifts to that leg, slightly lift your other foot and put it back down as you shift your weight back.  That will be your “step,” but for now keep it in place, just practicing lifting the foot and “stepping” either to the beat of your music or at a steady pace.  When you are comfortable with that, start taking small steps in the direction of your “stepping” leg.  As you step your other leg will lift up and step as your weight shifts back to the other direction.  This is the “together” part of a step/together movement.  If you get lost in your steps, go back to standing in place and lifting your foot then try again.

If you’re daring and want to try and switch directions, you can add a “touch” after a step.  After you touch you’ll switch the direction of your hip circle and your “stepping” foot will now be the one that “touched.”  (But this is just if you feel like pushing it!  :))  So you’ll end up doing step-together-step-together-step-together-step-touch (other direction) step-together-step-together-step-together-step-touch.

Camels
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, hands on your hips.  Push your rib cage forward, then lift it up and around until you can’t go back any further.  Now, let your rib cage sink back down so that it’s perpendicular to the floor again and go back to nuetral.    Practice this movent a few times.  Make it as big as you can.  You’ll feel your pelvis wanting to rock forward and back in opposition to your ribs…  let it happen.  This is what creates the lower body movement of the camel.  If you start to get lost, slow down.  Think of the forward and back movement…  chest forward, hips forward, chest back, hips back…  forward, forward, back, back… 

Camel Walk
For this forward version of the camel walk, we’re going to use the step/together concept to guide our movement.  Start by going as far up on your toes as is comfortable, arms out for balance, and just taking a few steps forward slowly.  As you do, start to think about pushing your chest out as you “step” and returning it to nuetral as you come “together,” like with our chest pop walk.  It should almost feel like prancing.  As you get a rhythm going, let the movement become graceful and flowing.

Grapevine
Start with your feet slightly apart.  Cross your right foot in front of the left, turning the right hip forward.  Step to the side with your left foot.  Now cross your right foot behind the left, turning your right hip back.  Step to the side.  Cross forward, step to the side, then step back into beginning position (this allows you to prepare to move in the other direction).  Cross your left foot infron of the right turning your left hip forward, step to the side, cross your left foot back, step to the side, cross your left foot forward, step to the side, the step back into beginning position.

Week 5 – November 11, 2010

Vertical Chest Circles
Stand in a comfortable position with your arms at your side.  Keeping your hips still, push your chest forward as far as you can, then lift up toward the ceiling.  Drop your chest back (not slumping shoulders), then sink back to nuetral.  Practice hitting the 4 points, then smooth it out.

Butterfly Arms
Start with your arms out to the side with your elbows slightly bent.  Turn your elbows to center and slowly start bringing them together, followed by the wrists (hands face forward).  As the wrists come together, elbows move back out, hands turn in (like you’re holding a ball).  Return to starting position.

Cobra Arms
Cobra arms uses the same motion as snake arms, the only difference is that cobra arms face the front instead of the side.  We’ll start with snake arms and move forward to cobra arms.

Begin with your arms at your side.  Lift your shoulder, then bring your elbow up to the side, followed by your wrist.  Drop your shoulder back to nuetral, then bring the elbow down, then then your wrist.  Alternate arms, as one is moving up the other is moving down.  Once you are comfortable with the snake arm movement, slowly start bringing arms to the front.  Remember that as you are going through this movement, one palm will be facing out and one will be facing in.

Hip Slides
Start with feet slightly less than shoulder width apart, soft knees.  Push your hips as far as you can to one side without losing balance.  Return to nuetral, then push your hips out to the other side and come back.  You can speed these up, just remember that the faster you go, the smaller the movement should be.

Downward 8’s
Stand with your feet slightly apart.  Lift your hip then push your it out to the side.  Drop it down then back up to starting position – it’s ok to lift your heel off the ground as you come up and around.  Try this several times on each side, then alternate sides.  When you alternate feel your hips sliding from the bottom on one side down to the top on the other side.  This is what creates the cross in the middle of the 8.

 

 

Week 4 – November 4, 2010

Chest Circles
Start with arms out and elbows slightly bent or hands resting on the front of your hips.  Push your rib cage forward without moving your hips.  Then slide your ribs to one side, to the back (be careful not to round or hunch your shoulders here), to the other side, then back to the front.  Slide your ribs to each each position several times, then smooth it out into a circle.  Practice these in both directions.

Backward 8’s
Starting with feet a comfortable distance apart.  With one hip, turn to position that hip to the front.  Then push it out to the side as far as you can (without changing your stance).  Swing it back, then go back to nuetral.  Practice hitting the 4 points, then smooth it out into a circle.  When you are comfortable with that hip, switch to the other hip.

Now connect the two circles to form a figure 8.  Bring the first hip forward, out, back…  now instead of returning to nuetral slide your hips (keeping the same angle) to push the other hip forward, out, back, slide through to the front, side, back.  Keep going!!!

Shimmies – Egyptian vs. Arabic
The difference in Egyptian and Arabic shimmies is subtle, but there is a difference.  In my mind, I see them as the difference between an hour glass and a ruler.  The Arabic shimmy is fuller with more hip movement, while the Egyptian shimmy is more controlled and takes place mostly in the knees.

The Arabic shimmy is the only one we have parcticed at this point.  Start with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.  Start slow with big movements…  bring one hip up as far as you can while pushing the other down, then alternate.  Keep your hips perpendicular to the floor while doing this.  When the movement is comfortable for you, speed up.  Remember – the faster you go, the smaller the movement.  Continue increasing speed until you are shimmying!  Try to make it through an entire song.  If you need to slow back down for a rest then pick it back up.

Egyptian shimmies happen in the knees rather than the hips.  The hips will move as an effect, but they are not the focus of our attention (although they will be the focus of the audience’s attention).  Stand with feet slightly less than shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.  Bend one knee as far as you can while keeping your footing, then alternate.  Keep going until you are comfortable and then start speeding up until you reach a shimmy.  Since this is concentrated in your knees, your weight will be a bit more forward than with the Arabic shimmy.

Hip pop walk
Start by alternating your hips like you would for an Arabic shimmy.  When you are at a comfortable pace, start lifting your feet with the hip that is moving up.  It feels odd, like you’re using your hip to lift your foot rather than your leg & knee.  Try “marching” in place for a while, then start moving with it.

Chest pop walk
For this movevment we’ll be walking with a “step-together” movement.  As you take a step (in any direction – usually to the side or front) push your chest forward.  As you bring your feet together, let your chest return to a nuetral position.  This can be done at any speed.  For a faster chest pop walk, you can lift up to the tips of your toes and take very small steps.

Week 3 – Oct 21, 2010

Snake Arms
Begin with your arms at your side.  Work one arm at a time.  Lift your shoulder up, then begin to bend your elbow outward and upward.  Lead with your wrist and bring up until shoulder, elbow and wrist are at the same height.  Reverse the process…  bring shoulder down, then elbow, then wrist until arm is back at your side.

Work with one arm until movement is fluid, then switch.  When you are comfortable working each arm seperately, combine both arms in opposition (as one goes up the other goes down).  You can also try moving both arms unison (this is called angel arms or angel wings).

Forward 8’s
Starting with feet a comfortable distance apart.  With one hip, turn to position that hip to the back.  Then push it out to the side as far as you can (without changing your stance).  Swing it forward, then go back to nuetral.  Practice hitting the 4 points, then smooth it out into a circle.  When you are comfortable with that hip, switch to the other hip.

Now connect the two circles to form a figure 8.  Bring the first hip back, out, forward…  now instead of returning to nuetral slide your hips (keeping the same angle) to push the other hip back, out, forward, slide through to back, side, forward.  Keep going!!!

Vertical Chest Circle
Stand in a comfortable position with your arms at your side.  Push your chest out, then bring it up (almost like you want to get your ribs above your shoulders, but don’t slump your shoulders).  Push your chest back (not slumping shoulders), then return to nuetral.  Practice hitting the 4 points, then smooth it out.  This is the foundation for our next movement…

Camel & Camel Walk
Camels can also be called undulations.  To start, put one foot slightly in front if the other.  Whichever foot is in front, raise that same arm.  The only movement we are going to add to the vertical chest circles to make it a camel is to move our hips forward and back, opposite of our chest. 

Start by pushing your chest forward, bring it up, and as you bring it back move your hips forward.  Bring your chest down and as it moves back to the front, move your hips back.  This move can be difficult, and feels awkward at first. 

Once you start feeling a little more comfortable with the camel, you can add small steps forward or back.  Steps coincide with the chest movement, so to walk forward you would step as your chest moves forward and your other foot catches up when your chest moves back.  To move backward, step back as your chest sinks back.  The other foot catches up as your comes back to the front. 

Basic Turn
This is a three step turn popular in most types of dance.  Start facing forward.  Step to the side with your foot facing the direction of the movement.  Bring your other leg around so your foot faces back (turning with the foot movement).  Bring your first foot around so that you face front – foot with be turned slightly outward to catch your momentum.  Your second foot will lift slightly, just to position it so it’s ready to take off in the other direction.

Practice single turns in each direction, then try two turns (the 3rd step of the 1st turn becomes the first step of the second turn…  so it’s 1-2, 1-2-3).

Week 2 – Oct 7, 2010

Chest Circles
Start with your arms out to the side, elbows slightly bent.  Push your rib cage forward without moving your hips.  Then slide your ribs to one side, to the back (be careful not to round or hunch your shoulders here), to the other side, then back to the front.  Slide your ribs to each each position several times, then smooth it out into a circle.

Hip Drops (M&M’s)
Stand with one foot flat and the other foot on your tip toe.  Let your hip drop down toward the floor.  Be sure to control the ending point of this movement.  To do M&M’s you will be doing several drops with your dropping hip in different positions.  Turn your hip forward and drop, turn back for a regular drop, turn toward the back and drop, turn back for one more regular drop.  (I call this move M&M’s because the path your hip travels makes a letter “M.”)

Grapevine
Start with your feet slightly apart.  Cross your right foot in front of the left, turning the right hip forward.  Step to the side with your left foot.  Now cross your right foot behind the left, turning your right hip back.  Step to the side.  Cross forward, step to the side, then step back into beginning position (this allows you to prepare to move in the other direction).  Cross your left foot infron of the right turning your left hip forward, step to the side, cross your left foot back, step to the side, cross your left foot forward, step to the side, the step back into beginning position.

Shoulder Rolls
Stand with your arms out to the side, elbows slightly bent.  Keeping yout torso still, lift your shoulder and roll it back and around in a circle.  Repeat this several times on both shoulders, rolling both backward and forward.

Try the backward rolls with your arms forward, slightly bent at the elbow (like your holding a basket).  As shoulders roll, let hands gracefully circle around each other.

Egyptian Arms
For today’s blog, I’m going to concentrate on the individual arm motion.  We will combine the arms into one movement later on.

Stand with your arms at your side.  With one arm, face your wrist to the center and sweep your arm up in front of your body (leading with the wrist).  When you get to shoulder level, start to bring your elbow up, so that your arm encircles your head.  Keep moving your palm around your head and down your cheek (not actually touching about 2-4 inches away).  Your elbow will naturally move inward.  As you get to your chin, push your hand across your body and sweep it back down to the starting position.  In the end, your hand will have traced a paisley design or half of a yin-yang.  Practice this movement with both arms.

Upward 8’s
This movement is made with your hips.  As you perform this movemet, imagine the point of each of your hips tracing a circle, then connecting them to make a figure 8.

Stand with your feet slightly apart.  Drop your hip (like a hip drop, but standing with feet flat).  Push your hip out to the side, then bring it up and back in to starting position – it’s ok to lift your heel off the ground as you come up and around.  Try this several times on each side, then alternate sides.  When you alternate feel your hips sliding from the top on one side down to the bottom on the other side.  This is what creates the cross in the middle of the 8.

‘Ashatt (On the beach) by Nihat Karslioglu (routine 2010-11)

Music can be downloaded from Amazon for $0.99. 

Spaces in between “stanzas” are there just to separate movements for either a change or some kind of sectioning of the music.

Start standing turned slightly to one side.

Hips up and down 1-2-3 (turn to other direction)
Hips up and down 1-2-3 (turn to other direction)
Hips up and down 1-2-3
Hip pop walking forward – 4 steps
Shoulder shimmy forward 1-2-3
Shoulder shimmy back 1-2-3
Shoulder shimmy forward 1-2-3
One arm up, one arm down

Hip drop, drop kick – 7 times
Hop-hop
Egyptian walk to the side – 7 steps
Chest pop-pop

Forward 8’s (4 figure 8’s)
Chest circles – 4 circles – butterfly arms on third circle

Hip drop “M&Ms” – 14 drops
Bump-bump
Grapevine – 7 counts (back towards center)
Hop-hop

Shoulder shimmy forward 1-2-3
Shoulder shimmy back 1-2-3
Shoulder shimmy forward 1-2-3
Hip push walk back toward center (2 steps)
Chest pop 1-2-3
Chest slide side-back-side
Chest pop 1-2-3
Cross one arm, cross the other arm.

Shoulder rolls with bicycle  x 4, soft hands
Slow Egyptian arms x 2

Hip circle walk, pop, pop (x3)
Double hip slide walk, praying hands
Butterfly hands up
Head slide x3, look up

Snake arms x4
????????????????

Hip drop “M&Ms” – 14 drops
Shoulder-shoulder
Double hip slide walk (7 steps back)
Chest pop-pop

Hips up and down 1-2-3 (turn to other direction)
Hips up and down 1-2-3 (turn to other direction)
Hips up and down 1-2-3
Hip pop walking forward – 4 steps
Shoulder shimmy forward 1-2-3
Shoulder shimmy back 1-2-3
Shoulder shimmy forward 1-2-3
One arm up, one arm down

Vertical chest circle, bicycle
Vertical chest circle, bicycle
2 Butterfly arms with hip circles

??????????????????????
Umi-umi’s sinking down
Pop up to tip toes, arms out

Camel walk forward on tip toe
Upward 8’s (x4)

Hip drop, drop kick in a circle (7 times)
Hop, hop
Shimmy walk backwards
Chest pop, pop

Week 1 – Sept 30, 2010

Hip Circles
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Without bending at the waist, push your hips as far as you can to one side.  Next, push your hips forward.  Then push to the opposite side, and finally to the back.  Push your hips to each of these four directions several times, then smooth the motion into a circle.  Throughout this movement try to keep your torso as still as possible.

Hip Pops and Drops
Stand with one foot flat and the other foot on your tip toe (so that the second leg is slightly bent).  Always start with hips in a neutral position.  To pop, lift your hip upwards torard your rib cage, keeping your torso straight.  To drop, let your hip drop down toward the floor.  Be sure to control the ending point of this movement.  It is easy to let your other hip swing out.  Stop before this happens.  Try doing several pops and several drops in a row on each leg.  When you are comfortable, while doing drops, lift your foot slightly on every other drop (called a drop kick).

Chest Circles
Start with your hands on your hips.  Push your rib cage forward without moving your hips.  Then slide your ribs to one side, to the back (be careful not to round or hunch your shoulders here), to the other side, then back to the front.  Slide your ribs to each each position several times, then smooth it out into a circle.

Another version of chest circles moves vertically, rather than parallel to the floor.  This version is more difficult, but is the foundation for another technique we will learn later.  For a vertical chest circle, push your chest forward, lift it up, go to the back, then drop down (again, being careful not to round or hunch your shoulders).  Smooth into a circle.  This move takes a little more practice to really get it.

Shoulder Shimmies
Stand with yours arms out to the sides, elbows slightly bent.  Push one shoulder forward, then bring it back (the shoulder may roll a bit toward the front, but not so much that it hunches).  Do this several times on each side until you are comfortable with the movement.  Now alternate shoulders, slowly at first.  Try going a little faster, then a little faster until you are at a shimmy.  Remember…  the faster you move the smaller the movement should be.  When you get to the shimmy level the movement should be small and fast.

Grapevine
This is a traveling movement that consists basically of 4 steps.  It can be done slowly at first, but once you’ve figured out where your feet are supposed to go, try to speed it up.  I’ll go through the steps for a short grapevine in each direction.  Keep your torso facing forward throughout the movenet.

Start with your feet slightly apart.  Cross your right foot in front of the left, turning the right hip forward.  Step to the side with your left foot.  Now cross your right foot behind the left, turning your right hip back.  Step to the side.  Cross forward, step to the side, then step back into beginning position (this allows you to prepare to move in the other direction).  Cross your left foot infron of the right turning your left hip forward, step to the side, cross your left foot back, step to the side, cross your left foot forward, step to the side, the step back into beginning position.

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