Belly dancing is is a wonderful form of self-expresson and a fun way to stay fit. There are many benefits that you receive from “the dance”- better posture, feelings of joy, physical strength, and a sense of internal strength, just to name a few.
This belly dance resource guide will give you my highest recommendations in the realm of belly dance. Included are the best in videos, online belly dance classes, music, costumes, props, instruments, tips, performance checklist, and helpful websites. You’ll want to bookmark and share this webpage with your friends who belly dance or who are interested in getting started!
Belly dancing originated in ancient cultures thousands of years ago. It was originally done by women, for women. It was woven into the fabric of their lives. Over time it evolved into an art form where the emotions of life are portrayed through “the dance.” Since the body is the medium through which the art is rendered, it is a sensual art form, but to simply label it a dance of seduction misses the real purpose of the “The Dance.” It’s intention is to tell a story, to foster a sense of play, to inspire, and to help others feel empowered about their life.
Belly Dance Instructional Videos – Highly Recommended
Belly dance instructional videos are a great way to get started if you are shy at first or if you simply want to supplement your local classes. Belly dance instructional videos allow you to learn moves and styles in a new way from different teachers, and to get inspired. Here are my top favorites, along with my current wish list!
Foundational Videos for Learning the Basics
Sadie’s Complete Bellydance Guide – a great introduction to the basic movements of bellydance by one of the best dancers around today. You’ll learn all the basic moves and importantly how to bring them together into a dance.
Drills! Drills! Drills! – Professional dancer Michelle explains the basic moves of belly dance along including some traveling footwork, shimmies, and zills. Excellent, easy to follow instruction.
Intermediate to Advanced Techniques
Thrillin’ Drillin’ – also taught by Sadie, this instructional video teaches basic moves as well as more advanced combining of different moves. This video can challenge both beginners and advanced students.
Belly Dance Egyptian Style: Modern Oriental with Ranya Renee – this DVD teaches Egyptian style moves and combinations through instructing on two different choreographies, beginner and advanced. There is a lot of practicing in this video which will help you improve. And Ranya is very good at explaining moves.
Bellydance Egyptian Style – The Baladi – this 2 DVD set is also taught by Ranya Renee. I learned so much from this one. You really learn what the Baladi – or “country style” – is all about from the different nuances of the music to the best ways to express that music through your body. Ranya is a master as explaining technique, but has plenty of time allotted for you to improvise and discover your own personal style within the Baladi style.
Sultry Slow Moves with Sadie – learn more sensual moves and combinations of moves focusing on a chiftitelli rhythm. This will challenge and inspire you to keep practicing so you can hone your skills.
Drum Solos and Fast Bellydance Moves
Pops, Locks & Shimmies with Sadie and Kaya – two great teachers for the price of one! These two pros very clearly and slowly explain difficult pop, lock and shimmy moves including some footwork. Great practice if you want to improve your fast moves.
Pop, Lock and Shimmy: Drum Solo Technique and Choreography – this is for intermediate and advanced dancers. This is taught by Michelle Joyce. She takes you through 95 minutes and 11 drills. You practice them at medium tempo first then the drill is done at a fast tempo. There is not a lot of spoken instruction. A lot is similar to an advanced class where you just follow along. This can be good for advanced students as it moves as a faster pace. But don’t be afraid to get this if you are intermediate. It may be just the challenge you need to get to the next level. You will get a lock of practice time out of this! There’s no way you won’t improve your skilss. A choreography is taught at the end.
Drum Solo Technique and Choreography with Sadie – This video introduces the basics of a drum solo to combinations that will be sure to have you stretching your skill level up! You’ll learn how to do a proper flutter, shimmy kick-back, and body waves. A drum solo choreography is taught at the end bringing together all the combination moves taught in the video. There are also two amazing performances by Sadie at the end.
Dynamic Drum Solo – This is also by Sadie, similar to the one above, but with different combinations, choreography and performance. This one may be slightly more challenging. (I’d like to know your opinion on this!) If you’d like to know how to dance like Sadie, in this video you get the inside skinny on how she choreographs and after learning that you can do it too!
Specialized Skills Belly Dance Videos
Killer Ziller: Belly Dance Finger Cymbals – Playing zills while dancing is so exciting. This dvd by Michelle Joyce focuses on teaching 14 different zill patterns, but she also integrates footwork, arms, and body moves. You will be quite challenged, and you will learn a lot!
Flawless Floorwork: The Lost Art of Belly Dance Floorwork – This is a big WOW DVD! Floorwork can be difficult, but if you are up for the challenge, there are so many beautiful moves that you can learn from this video. The instructor, Ruby, has such a calm energy that I find helps me to quiet my judging mind and just enjoy the movements. There’s a lot a great stuff in this even if you only use some of it. Includes Pilates strengthening exercises as well as dance instruction.
The Bellydance Shimmy Workout – Everyone wants to be good at shimmying, and the only way to get there is to practice, practice, practice! This DVD will guide you through many different shimmies and layers, drilling them for long time periods. Your quads will be burning. It’s a little bit on the intermediate level since the slow drill and instructions are brief and the fast pace drilling is where most of the emphasis is. There is a balanced amount of stretching too to give you a rest between drills and to keep you from tightening up.
Serpentine – Belly Dance with Rachel Brice :: Bellydance Technique & Yoga for Strong, Relaxed & Sinuous Movement – I got this video because I wanted to work on my back bends. Rachel Brice get you ready for this and all her lessons with strengthening and flexibility drills first. Following those she teaches her signature serpentine style through two choreographies. The music is not middle eastern, but I find that opens up the ability to see the dance in a different way. This is a 2 dvd set. The first dvd focuses on flexibility through yoga to be able to achieve the sinuous movements and the second dvd focuses on the dance moves.
Bellydance Arms & Posture – A Practice for Carriage, Coiling, and Serpentine Stylization with Rachel Brice. Arms are forgotten often, but the best dancers really make arm movements look easy. Rachel Brice is not only an excellent dancer, but a very good teacher as well, breaking down the movements well and also encouraging a strong foundation in flexibility – which is clearly one of her strengths. You’ll want to practice this one a lot.
Tribal Fusion – Yoga Isolations & Drills for Bellydance – This is another DVD by Rachel Brice. Again she incorporates yoga for increased flexibility and the best look for your moves. You can choose either 15, 30 or 45 minute total workout which includes yoga at the start and finish. There are very precise drills which are basic, but Rachel inspires you to get them to be very sharp and focused. There is a performance at the end which is where the “tribal” style comes in. You can learn from her style.
My Wish List Belly Dance Videos
I don’t own any of these yet, but I will get them eventually!
Bellydance Taqasim – Improvisation Skills & Drills – this is Ranya Renee’s latest belly dance video. From the description: “This DVD will help you build your knowledge of the melodic side of Arabic music, focusing on the art of taqasim sometimes spelled taqsim, taksim, taxim, takseem, etc. which is improvisation on a solo instrument, a style of playing found throughout Middle Eastern music. Taqasim are played as introductions to songs or instrumental pieces, interludes between songs or dance pieces, or presented on their own. Understanding how they work can enhance your dancing experience and deepen your expression of the music.”
Hot Combinations with Ansuya – I recently took a live class with Ansuya from the Bellydance Superstars. She is a remarkable teacher and performer. She has an outstanding ability to break down moves into their component parts and explain how to perform them. She drills the parts and then the complete choreography very thoroughly. This video is highly rated on Amazon so I’m guessing that what I experienced in class will also be in this video. I hope to get this one of any of Ansuya’s many belly dance videos.
Online subscription classes are quite new and I highly recommend them if you want to keep honing your skills as well as add new ideas and moves to your repertoire. These are paid full length classes that go far beyond the free lessons you can find on YouTube. You can add these online classes to your schedule in addition to your local classes. The bonus is that you can choose when, where, and how often you practice without adding expense. And different from videos, you will get a steady stream of new lessons all the time.
The online classes that I have subscribed to are with Ansuya.com. Ansuya is a Belly Dance Super Star and she has incredible dance skills. I took a couple local classes with her while traveling, and since she is such a good teacher I was thrilled to learn that she has the online class offering. This is a perfect compliment to my wonderful local belly dance teacher.
What should be important to YOU, as a paying subscriber, is that Ansuya is a remarkably skilled dance teacher. She has an incredible knack for breaking down moves and dance combinations in a way that is easy to understand even for the newest beginners. On top of that Ansuya has a very fun and positive energy that she brings to her lessons.
In addition to having fun you will also enjoy the challenge because her teaching style makes it possible for anyone to learn even the most difficult moves. I have found her to be more thorough than any video I’ve used in both explanation of new moves and the drilling of those moves. She has different levels of classes from workouts to choreographies. She also has entertainment, focus, and warm-up classes. If you need more one-on-one training she also teaches private and group belly dance lessons via skype, which she calls BellySkypes.
You owe it to yourself to try Ansuya’s classes. She has a free lesson which you can check out. At $30/month these classes are a real bargain. That’s only $1/day for the ability to incorporate belly dance classes into your schedule when it’s convenient for you. Does it sound like I’m really excited about her classes? Well, that’s because I am! I know you’ll love her classes too!
Belly Dance Music – Highly Recommended
Check out some of my favorite belly dance music. I have music you can listen to on both iTunes and Amazon. At the end of this section you can type in a search for “belly dance music” or any other music search term you want. (Egyptian music, Indian belly dance music, Turkish dance music, etc.)
My Favorite Belly Dance Songs
Belly Dance Music Mix
Popular Middle Eastern Songs
Drum Solo Music
Indian Arab Fusion Mix
Belly Dance Bar Grooves Music
Popular Bellydance Music
Belly Dance Super Stars Music
Other popular belly dance music:
Search for Belly Dance Music
Type in any music search term you like in the box below.
Belly Dance Costume, Clothing, and Props
Click on the links or on the images. The links will bring you to the multiple listing page of each item. The images will bring you to the specific item.
Costuming Stores for Bellydance
Isis Exchange – Wide assortment of beautiful Costumes, Tops, Skirts & Veils, Isis Wings, Accessories and Sale Items!
More costuming websites coming soon! Check back this week for more listings!
Belly Dance Performance Checklist
Here is a free download of a Belly Dance Performance Checklist. It is in Excel so you can add and customize it to your needs. Please share it with your fellow dancer friends. Please read my post on how to be fully prepared before a performance, if you would like to learn more about this. And please let me know if you have personal tips for performance preparedness in the comments!
Belly Dance Websites
Costume Goddess – DIY costuming
BellyDance on Wikipedia – history, international information
BHUZ.com – online bellydance community
The Gilded Serpent – bellydance articles
Shira.net – A web site to educate, entertain, and inspire people who love belly dancing!
Belly Dance Tips
Here are some tips that I have and if you share your tips in the comments below, I will add them to this section along with your website link if you have one.
My Belly Dance Tips for Beginners
- Take it Slow. Don’t be in a hurry to learn everything fast. There is no rush. This is a dance that you can keep improving on all your life.
- Shimmying. Don’t get discouraged if your shimmy isn’t what you want it to be at first. Trust me when I say you will get better! All you have to do is practice. Shimmy whenever you can and build up the amount of time. Pretty soon it will be easy.
- Don’t Judge Yourself. “The Dance” is about sharing your joy, your story through movement. Feel the music. Enjoy the music. The goal should be to have fun.
- Learn from Others but Dance Your Own Style. It’s great to learn from others, but know that each person brings their own beauty and magic to “the dance.” Don’t compare yourself to others. Appreciate your special style and others will as well.
- Have Fun! That’s what it’s all about in the end!
Other Belly Dance Tips
Belly Dance Performance Checklist – this is a guide with a free downloadable sheet, to help you ensure that you remember everything and are fully prepared for a performance.
Belly Dance Tips & Tricks from Shira.net – a lot of good advice for all different aspects of belly dance including sword dancing, performing tips and more.
10 Tips for Belly Dance Students - advice that is very helpful, but you might not have thought of such as “relax your lips” and “dance without ambition.”
Belly Dance Tips – costuming, stage presence, and makeup advice along with other tips.
Belly Dance Tips on Facebook – a collection of belly dance tips on Facebook.
Hip Tips – a great candid collection of useful tips from numerous dancers.
Tips from Ananke:
- Learn from different sources. Don’t just stick to one video, one teacher, one style. Your technique will be better if you are more well-rounded.
- Listen to the music even when you aren’t dancing. Music from different cultures can be an acquired taste. To appreciate the subtle nuances, you’ll have to put in the time.
Tips from Kashmir -
- Make sure you do a cardiovascular warmup before practice. This should involve teh big muscles of teh body such as the legs for the first few minutes.
- Never stretch on a cold body – nor bounce – nor try and stretch a working muscle (such as the leg that is holding you up!)
- Do not “touch your toes” or flop over.
- Do not do neck/head circles until after you have warmup up your neck and then only if you will need them in your practice.
- Drill individual isolations until they are automatic and are correct before layering.
- Start drilling a shimmy by slowly, and correctly, doing the underlying movement before making it smaller and faster.
- A shimmy should be in time to the music and relaxed.
Belly Dance Blogs!
If you have a belly dance blog and you leave a tip in the comments below, I will link to your blog. Here’s one I just discovered:
Love Your Belly – love this post!
Ananke - “Let’s Talk About Bellydance!”
Some readers have suggested that I add some information about myself with regards to my dancing background. I started bellydancing in January of 2007. I have been dancing with a wonderful local teacher all this time, whose main focus is on Egyptian style dance. I have also taken classes with other teachers including Ansuya. I have a preference for Egyptian style dance, however, I am currently enjoying incorporating other styles into my own personal style. My mother tells me that I was born dancing, literally moving to music even as a 1 day old infant. My approach to dance is this: it is an expression of joy. It is not a competition. If you are enjoying yourself, then you are succeeding. You can find more information about me on my About page.
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Be sure to bookmark this for yourself as we will be adding to this guide as we find great new bellydance resources for you!
Thank you for reading and happy shimmying to you!