Getting started with Belly Dancing


Belly dancing is a great way to exercise without boredom creeping in. And when done right, it can give your core a workout like none other. However, it can seem a tad overwhelming for a beginner. How does one gyrate and control the midsection like that?

If you are at crossroads wondering whether you should be taking the plunge head first, then here are a few tips to help you get going.

Visit a dance studio

Belly dancing looks way different on screen, which is most likely where you first saw it. It is important that you see it personally and then decide if you really want to do it. Visit a dance studio and watch a few of the sessions first hand.

Jump in

The first step is often the most difficult one. Taking the plunge. You look at yourself in the mirror and you look nothing like those athletic dancers. How then can you even perform the basics? However, belly dancing does not require you to have a six pack or a chiseled core. Instead, the moves are easy and elegant. At least until you get a hang of things.

Select a style

There are many styles of belly dancing including Tribal, Egyptian, Arabic, American, Turkish and fusion. You need to look for a trained and skilled tutor who’s experienced in the dance style you are looking for.

Prepare for the lessons

You need to feel comfortable as there will be a lot of rapid movements and exercises when you get started. So dress accordingly. Leave your body hugging gym wear at home and opt for comfortable loose t-shirts and a yoga pants. A crop top is better because it leaves your midriff bare. You can club it with a hip scarf and ballet shoes. A lot of belly dancers prefer to dance barefoot.

The first moves

One of the first moves that you will master is the Undulation. You need to stand in a semi-squat position, slightly bent forwards with your belly pulled inwards. Your shoulders will be slightly backwards and your chest up. Now, with synchronized music, lift up the chest and pull it inwards towards the shoulders. At the same time, try and tuck in your pelvic muscles towards the spine. This movement is one of the simplest ones in belly dancing. Take your time to master it.


The next move and undoubtedly, the most impressive one, is the shimmy. You need to keep your feet flat on the ground and bend your knees. Now, learn to move the hips in alternating upward and downward directions while moving your knees.

The expressions

Dancing is nothing without the right expressions. The best one that you can portray is a smile. But depending on the story that’s being enacted, you can also have a serious expression instead.

Graduate to the proper costume

Once you progress with your lessons, it’s time to go authentic with your belly dancing costumes. Most dance styles have a similar costume. Typically, a belt, a skirt and a bra that’s sequined or bedecked with tons of jewels. Some styles, like Egyptian use more body hugging costumes. But you are free to experiment with whatever catches your fancy.