Bellydance Terms Requested in Class

Whew, what a class last night! You guys worked it good. You looked great. I know I threw a lot of material at you yesterday and you handled it beautifully. We will repeat many of the movements in the classes to come as that is the only way to ingrain the movement into your body (and brain). 
Many of you requested bellydance terms and vocabulary in written form. In this post I will begin that list by posting the dance terms we have covered up to now. As we progress I will add more terms. 
The following are bellydance terms and general dance terms. If you've studied ballet you'll recognize several of the phrases used. Also I'd like to give credit where it is due. Much of the body conditioning format I use in my classes is derived from the Suhaila Salimpour format. She is one of the  bellydance master teachers/dancers/choreographers I have studied with in the past. 
These will make the most sense once you've practiced them in class.

Traveling Steps
Pas de bourre: a ballet term, it is a 3 step movement, step 1: you cross behind the opposite foot, 2nd step: the opposite foot then opens out the the side (ballet second), and 3rd step: the first foot steps in place

Chasse: is a gliding step. You step out with one foot, step together with the other, repeat. 
So it can go: step out, step together, step out, step together, and on...

Alternating Chasse's: are exactly what they sound like, for example, you step out, step together to the right, then on the left you step out and step together, then right again, then left, etc.

Hip Movements
Singles -Up: Glute contractions to move your hips. With soft knees you alternate glute contractions, Right, Left, etc. These can be done in place sitting or standing, walking (same leg that steps, same glute side) or traveling in any other manner.

Exterior Hip Circles: While abs are contracted to protect the lower back, feet parallel, you slide the pelvis out to the left, then front, to the right and back -- creating a circle with your pelvis. There are of course many variations of this move.

Upper Body Movements
Arm Waves: pretty self explanatory, arm waves from joint to joint in the arm, starting in the upper back, going through the shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers. Repeat on other arm. We will break this down and repeat in the upcoming class.

Ribcage Squares: Torso muscles contract sliding the ribcage to the Right, Front, Left and Back. The squares do not have to be done in that order.

Ribcage Circles: The same concept as the ribcage squares except for you smooth out the move, it's a softer release of the contraction so the move looks like a circle instead of a square.

Chest Locks: You can accent a chest lock on the up or on the down. For up, you contract the upper back, remember it's not about the shoulders it's about the back. For  a down accent, the very upper part of your abs and your chest contracts, locking the chest down. 

Shoulder Shimmies: Slight twist movement forward and back with your shoulders. Press Right shoulder forward, bring it back to neutral as you press Left shoulder forward, repeat. Can be done slowly or fast for shimmy speed.

Other Basics
Releve: in ballet you raise your foot on the the toes, in our bellydance class you raise the heel up off the floor so that you are on the ball of your feet. Center your weight.


  1. Thanks Gina! This is so very helpful. I am enjoying the class. It is more difficult than I thought. It's hard for me to tell if I am moving certain parts of my body correctly. The gluts are hard for a tiny person like me and I consider myself pretty fit. I will keep at it though. Thanks again.

  2. Hi Candy, You're welcome! I'm so glad you're enjoying the class! It will all come sooner than you think. Remember it's like a language, and we're just starting out. Soon you'll be speaking this whole language fluently. Maybe even poetically! The key is to enjoy the ride while you're on it. See you tomorrow!


Thank you visiting and taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate it.


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