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Bellydance Basics: Twist it Off

Jennifer Czepiel

Bellydance Moves that Whittle Your Waist

What Bellydance Moves can Whittle Your Waist?

When we think of bellydance there is a serious focus on of course the belly. Bellydancers do come in all shapes and sizes though so bellydance really does not have the same fitness appearance as say, gymnastics, or even yoga. The long lean muscles that can be spun from the stretching and drills of gymnastics and serious stretching, and even with ballet, are not quite as common place in the world of bellydance. There are several moves though that will allow you to tone that mid section and really work the abs in some unique ways though.

Maytags, Horizontal Shimmies, The Twist!
Most commonly referred to as Maytags because, well, they sort of make your hips move like a washing machine on the agitation cycle, this hip twist move will definitely work the waist. Posture is of course important as with any dance move. Feet should be placed about fist width apart, this means that you should be able to fit your fist comfortably between your heels if you were to bend down. Knees should be soft but stable. The knees will not be doing the work in this move. The tail bone should be directed at the floor, and the lowest section of abs should be engaged. The upper body, especially above the belly button will be remaining still during this move, so keep the chest level and the arms steady.

To start this movement you will want to pivot your right hip forward, but not vertical in any direction. It helps to look at the seam of your pants if you can see it. Twisting the hip forward and keeping the upper body parallel to the mirror or wall, will create the first twist of this move. Now, release the right hip back and twist the left hip to the front in the same way. As you do this it will create a sweeping motion. If you could draw lines with your body in the air you would see a horizontal arc created on either hip.

Moving the hips in this way in fast, but controlled movements will allow you to work the abs as well as the hips. Please keep in mind that the tail bone needs to be directed down at all times during this move or you will risk injury.

Another thing to keep in mind is that at first your arcs may be very small. It is okay! We all have to start somewhere. In order to lengthen the arc of your hip twist, alternate pushing each hip as far to the front as it will extend and hold for the count of eight. Doing this is a great way to stretch and warm up before a performance or drill as well.

When trying the hip twist, or the Maytag, focus on keeping the upper body still while sweeping the hips forward and back. This move always reminds me of the old exercise machines with the belt attached. Leaning into the belt would cause the hips to twist in very much the same fashion.

For a little extra challenge, try walking while twisting the hips. Go slowly at first. It can be a little confusing.

Shimmy on!

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