Week 3 – Random Acts of Bellydance

The new year is well under way! Hope everyone’s transition from ‘holiday’ to ‘work’ has been a smooth one! Here are this weeks ‘random acts’ – enjoy!

Random Acts of Bellydance Week 3 2017

1 . Practice all the circles you can think of.

Flat hip circles, tilting hip circles (omis, hawaiian, afro, etc), little hip circles, big hip circles, high and low hip circles. Not to mention rib circles (on all the planes), Single hip circles (on all the planes), wrist circles, arm circles, upper body circles … what about foot circles, knee circles and finger circles?? Remember circular floor patterns (& formations, if you’re working on a group choreography)!!

2 . Find a Middle Eastern Rhythm you’d like to learn to play or dance to.

Find the notation for the rhythm pattern. This will help you see, as well as hear, the rhythm. Learning to play a rhythm can help you learn to dance to it, and vice-versa. So much of bellydance comes from an authentic response to the music, so the more you learn about the rhythms that sit behind the melodies (or feature all by themselves), the better a dancer you will become. Check out the In Search for Rhythm Guides post for some links to help you.

3 . Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Pick up a new DVD, sign up for a class, workshop or event (Check out Shimmy Mob!), check out a different style or try out a new move. This doesn’t have to become your new favourite thing, or even lead you away from what you’re currently loving – but it will do good things for you.

4 . Practice layering shimmies over circles.

Now that you discovered all those circles, practice adding some shimmies over the top of them. If you get stuck, break the circles down into isolated points and get your shimmie going there first!

5 . Correct your posture every time you sit down.

It’s easy to let our good posture slip when we’ve been sitting for a while. Be conscious of your tailbone & spine every time you sit down this week – make sure you’re taking little walks or standing breaks – you know that sitting for long periods of time is not great for you!


Wishing you all a wonderful week of bellydancing!

– Sam.

In Search of Rhythm Guides

Sometimes it’s difficult to learn the names of the rhythm patterns we use in class. The more often you hear the rhythms, the easier it is to dance to them, and to play them on your finger cymbals, zills, or sagat (which ever style you’re using, or term you prefer). So, I’ve put together a few links for students, to help you source CDs and other resources.

Matt Stonehouse has a CD that I use a lot. Different rhythms and played a different speeds. It’s really useful to practice along to, both fast and slow.

Andy Busuttil has his Pulse of the Pyramids CDs available from his website. These are great for hearing rhythms played with and without zills/segat, and also have a sample of music using the rhythms.

Mas’ud al-Sha’ir has a great resource called the Quick & Dirty Guide to Doumbek Rhythms. Rythms are written down with open (skeleton), ┬ásimple, standard, busy and closed (filled) versions – great for visual/logical learners. There are also sound bites (these are not only useful, but make you smile when you can hear his dog barking along … musical puppy!). ­čÖé

The Middle Eastern Dance site has some good break downs of zill patterns, including hands (R-L) sounds (R-D-T-C) and spoken word. Again, great for visual/logical learners.

Shira has a listing of rhythms and zill patterns (including hands for right and left handed players). It also includes musical notation and spoken counts for each of the patterns listed. She also has a website jam packed full of information, so make sure you have a couple of hours free if you decide to go browsing there!

Zills on Fire has downloadable files, sound bites and more (inlcuding a CD). Very useful.

Solace’s Rhythm of the Dance has beledi, chifte-telli, masmoudi, saidi, kashlima, zar, moroccan, shoush and laz. to practice along with.

Let me know in the comments of any other great rhythm resources out there!