Belly Dance Choreography Tips & Help

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.

 

The Belly Dance Routine

How To Practice Belly Dancing - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

The hardest part about belly dancing is knowing where to start on a daily regimen for training and practice. There are different areas to focus on and most women don’t know that each area should be worked on equally. I wasn’t taught this methodology of practicing on specific areas separately and to this day I wish I would have. I think that practicing everything together can muddy up movements and the completion of moves. It can also keep a dancer from seeing that she really doesn’t have the moves down. This happed to me because when I look back at my first videos, all I see is a bird getting ready to fly out of the nest!

Another case in point; Remember not to over practice a choreography! I have a student who just recently lost her rhythm because she over practiced. She could not hear the beat of the music because she forgot to listen to the music. I had to ask her not to practice for a week so we could get her back on track. What was surprising to me was the fact that she said she felt off in certain areas but she did not do anything about it. So if there is robotic repetition in practice, the danger can be that the dancer won’t know the difference or if she does, do nothing about it. There definitely seems to be a need to put in a work schedule so that weekly practicing will keep you fresh, graceful and relaxed. Read more