Belly Dance Choreography Tips & Help

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Free Belly Dance Choreography Video by Leyla Najma

Many women ask me how I learned how to choreograph dances and when did it make sense? I have to say for most of us this is more then a legitimate question; it’s an obstacle that until addressed, can offset a career in the making. It’s also a hard question for me to answer because I didn’t really pay attention the day I just started to create my own choreography, I just did it.

I remember one workshop in particular with Suhaila Salimpour that not only inspired me but at the same time knocked me off my rocker. I realized that with all her intricate ways of incorporating body movement, I was last woman standing because I felt like a blob learning to move her way. It was great to learn and almost accomplish the moves but I realized that this amazing and talented dancer had years on me in this dance field. Plus some of what I learned just didn’t feel good even when I could finally do it. After that particular workshop I went to Egypt and decided to go another route, one that made the dance more of a personal journey instead of going to workshop after workshop. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with going to workshops; I just wasn’t feeling my direction of inspired individuality. Here was my chance I thought to find out what I really should be doing. Little did I know there would be more choices than Carter has liver pills!

After I came home 6 months later from Egypt, I realized that I was energized and completely committed to belly dance but I still wasn’t sure how to work in movement to music. I sat on my bedroom floor so frustrated one day that tears were coming down my face. It was a turning point for me because I realized that if I couldn’t create my own unique dance then I needed to move on and do something else.  So I picked myself up and started to listen to my music. I think it was Leylet Hob and I listened to it over and over and over again until I was ready to throw the CD out the window. But then something happened and I realized that I was instinctively moving to the music because as I was listening to it I was spontaneously dancing. Then as I was looking in the mirror I saw a move come out of me and I went, “Wow,” to myself and that was the first move I put down on paper. As I went through hours of spontaneously dancing (no exaggeration, because I was a dancing fool) I would see moves I liked and I would write them down on paper. So now I had a rough draft of moves that I liked and the moves looked pretty good to the music.

From the rough draft I decided to see what move was my most favorite and from there I started to integrate more moves that came from my spontaneous dancing that fit the music. As I pieced the moves together which meant fitting them here and there and then changing it all up, a choreography was born! She looked something like a Picasso painting of a woman with an eyeball on the side of her face but at least it was my eye ball and I was a proud momma or I should say “choreographer.”

Maybe this is my way of answering the choreography question that was so hard to answer before. As a result I thought I would put together different moves to a short song and show you how I count to music. With a variety of moves I think I can show you how you can put movement to music in different ways and then pick the one that’s right for you. Hope this helps those of you who are dealing with the choreography brain freeze or fight the short circuit feeling of not being able to put together your own unique dance.

Here’s some short Text that will go along with the video:

Arms are basic out to the side for the hip work. Bring arms down when you start working in the pelvic roll/chest circle/ab sway.

Music,  Progressive Move:

Right hip twist forward and back to center 1cnt /backward stomach roll

Left hip twist forward and back to center 2cnt / backward stomach roll

Right hip twist forward and back to center 3cnt / backward stomach roll

Left hip twist forward and back to center 4cnt / backward stomach roll

Right hip twist forward and back to center 5cnt / backward stomach roll

Left hip twist forward and back to center 6cnt / backward stomach roll

Right hip twist forward and back to center 7cnt / backward stomach roll

Left hip twist forward and back to center 8cnt

Right hip twist forward and back to center 1cnt /backward stomach roll

Left hip twist forward and back to center 2cnt / backward stomach roll

Right hip twist forward and back to center 3cnt / backward stomach roll

Left hip twist forward and back to center 4cnt / backward stomach roll

In place Shimmy with a slight side thrust right to left side on 16 cnts to music.

Layering move: Do as many times as you want.

3 choices for opposition hips: 1. Move right leg behind you to start left hip. 2. Move left leg forward 3. Stay on the right hip or left hip without moving to opposite side.

Right hip down/up/out

Backward pelvic roll

Chest circle parallel to mirror

Ab sway forward/back 2xs (Faster speed than prior moves)

Left hip down/up/out

Backward pelvic roll

Chest circle parallel to mirror

Ab sway forward/back 2xs (Faster speed than prior moves)

Shoulder rolls and head spin if desired.

Finished!

Get this video on DVD for free and save 50% on Choreography Basics for Beginning Choreographers set of DVDs.

 

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About Leyla Najma
Lifelong professional Belly Dancer dedicated to providing "Belly Dance Instruction That Is Easy To Understand And Learn That Connects The Dots"

Comments

6 Responses to “Belly Dance Choreography Tips & Help”
  1. Rae Lynn says:

    I think the video was great. I learned a lot from it. I have only choreographed one dance and am working on another. I have been dancing for almost 3 years and I find it quite a challenge. It would be helpful if you could explain what you mean by pelvic roll. It is difficult to really see which direction you are moving.I just did what was comfortable for me, but it would be nice to know what you are teaching. Thank You So Much!! Rae Lynn

    • Leyla Najma says:

      Hello Rae Lynn,

      The video was a quick tip for choreography only…….it wasn’t a combo video but now you have given me an idea for the next video I will do for you guys. I just put together basic moves that pretty much are foundation movements. The pelvic roll is doing a circle coming into the bellybutton going up and around. Think of a ball and follow the ball starting from the bottom and moving up and around. The difference with a backward pelvic roll is you go into your body instead of starting out and around. Think of it as a 4 cnt move; bottom is #1/coming up and curving outward #2/going around and down #3/coming back to bottom #4. Hope that helps!

      Thanks for watching the video…….ask me more questions that’s what I’m here for!!

      Blessings,

      Leyla

  2. allison flynn says:

    Leyla,
    I just got the first chance to see the video! I know the video was not about combo’s but gosh you always come up with the most interesting!!! I love the twist pelvic roll combo never thought of that! I

  3. allison flynn says:

    Leyla,
    I just got the first chance to see the video! I know the video was not about combo\’s but gosh you always come up with the most interesting!!! I love the twist pelvic roll combo never thought of that! I

    • Leyla Najma says:

      Thanks Allison……..next one I do for you guys will be for Christmas and that one will be combos!
      Let me know what you do with the twist and pelvic roll plus there is stuff there for troops to consider!

      Hugs,
      Leyla

  4. Belly Dance Husband says:

    I did a re-edit of this video and reposted it because it turns out that I used the wrong codec in the editing process. We just got a new HD camera which we’re going to be using in the future and hadn’t quite got it completely figured out. The video was shot in HD and I’d love to put it up on HD as it looks really gorgeous but the amount of disk space required is prohibitive. But editing using the correct codec does make a difference.