Important Movements in Belly Dancing

Important Movements in Belly Dancing

As a student of belly dancing you will probably be surprised that many teachers of the dance have their own form of dancing, however there are some fundamental movements that should always be covered. The core movements of classical belly dancing can best be taught as a series of movements that you draw with your body. Basically, these are all belonging to three body areas: lower body, mid body, and upper body. In this blog we take a look at all three groups and take you through the basic movements that are needed to belly dance authentically. After all belly dancing has been around for over five thousand years so you should pay homage to it and try to do it correctly.


If you can draw a shape using your feet and hips, then you can draw that same shape utilizing your chest and your upper body, namely your neck, head, shoulders, arms and hands.

The Seven Core Movements

There are seven core movements that make up belly dancing and they are:

  1. Shimmy
  2. Slides
  3. Lifts & Drops
  4. Figure 8
  5. Twists
  6. Circles
  7. Undulations

Other Core Movements

There is a family of movements that will help you to practice and perform belly dancing and these include: The Eight, The Camel, Snake Arms, Hip Dance, Egyptian Basic Step.

The Eight

The Eight is performed by standing with your feet parallel and your feet and arms up. Then imagine a movement of a figure 8 but do not stop at the horizontal, do this with your knees bent. They will work as springs giving your hips movement. As your hips are moving take one heel then the other off the ground.

The Camel

To perform the Camel, stand slightly in profile to your audience, one foot slightly in front of the other with your arms in the air. Move the weight to the front foot whilst thrusting your hips in the same direction. Then transfer the weight to the back foot. The movement should effectively be a loop.

Snake Arms

The arms are the key point here and will draw undulations in the air. Start by lifting your right arm to the elevation of your shoulders whilst moving your ribs to the right, like you wanted to push something out of the way with your trunk. Then open your arms gently lifting up alternatively like weighing something.

Hip Dance

Move your hips to the right whilst moving your arms, then alternate the hip movements rapidly. Move the hip in all directions fast and furious with your feet keeping track whilst your arms follow the general movements of your hips.

Egyptian Basic Step

With your arms forming a 90-degree angle, place your right leg forward and lift the hip. Keep in this position and then move your hip down, then up again. Now cross your leg in front of you as if kicking a ball out of the way and move the hip down. Repeat these movements turning in a circle as you do so.

These are the basics movement you will need to start off belly dancing, keep practicing them until you are ready to progress on to more advanced belly dancing.

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