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Bellydance Basics: Its All In Your Head

Jennifer Czepiel

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Head Slides and Head Circles

Bellydancing. We have all seen the movies and television representations. Some of us may have even seen real dancers and how varied the moves can be. We have seen these moves that to some degree can confuse and amazing as well as entertain those less accustomed to the style of dance. There are a few moves even that we would love to know what sort of crazy magic it takes to perform them. The truth is, there is no magic, just practice, and patience, and knowing your body. I want to share with you two of the moves that seem baffle and confound the most often. I am also here to say that I did not learn them over night either. Bellydance, much like any skill, takes time to learn and even more time and dedication to master. Never give up, if you want it, you can get it.

The Head Slide

Oh yes, it is amazingly cool, it is maybe a little bit creepy, and it is uniquely bellydance. The head slide looks the most like a human body part magic trick than any other move. To ma at least. I will say that my first few tries at a head slide probably looked more like a drunk goose. It happens. When attempting a head slide, as with any new body movement, start small. You may feel the movement more than see it at first.

You should feel the movement through the outermost muscles of the neck that run from just below the ear to the base of the neck. The chin should be kept level from left to right as well as vertically. Relax your shoulders and think about reaching out with your ear, or moving as though you are trying to listen to someone whispering. It feels strange at first, but over time it becomes easier.

The Head Circle

While moving from side to side may still be more than a little bit challenging, it gets better and can help to develop into even more complex movements. Before thinking this is just going to be impossible, the head circle can actually fairly easy once you have mastered the head slide. Speaking of looking goose like, the forward movement section of the head circle is essentially pushing the head forward and it does look very bird like. Shoulders should remain still, and again, when you first start out, take things slow and small.

Calling this a circle is a bit of a misnomer and can cause problems. The movement is more of a crescent to the front and straight line along the back. Please do not push the head back on the neck, this can cause injury and a lot of pain.

Once you have mastered the head slide and added the forward movement to create the head circle, there are all manner of unique ways to incorporate these moves into your bellydancing. They are also great moves to loosen sore neck muscles and release tension.

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