How to Learn Arabic Dance

By Janine James

Things Needed

  • Form-fitting clothing (like yoga pants and a tank top)
  • Traditional Arabic music
  • Belly dance waist scarf
Arabic dance your way into shape.

Arabic dance is a traditional form of dancing that involves movements of the abdomen. Arabic dance is often performed by women; it is usually seen as being very sultry and seductive. According to tradition, these belly dances come from tribal Arab religions and were done out of respect for the goddess of fertility. Today Arab Dance has grown to be a very popular dance style that is practiced all over the world. There are several basic steps that can be paired together to create your very own sultry dance.

Put on your form-fitting clothing; this will allow you to move your body about with great ease. Also begin playing the traditional Arabic music that you have selected to begin. Start stretching to avoid getting cramps while you are dancing. Since Arabic dance involves using your abdomen, make sure to stretch this area very well. You can do so by bending down and touching your toes. Another good abdomen stretch is lifting one arm up and leaning far over to the opposite side. After you feel warmed up, put on your belly dance waist scarf—this will add more movement to your hips, along with noise from the coins that often adorn belly dance scarves.

Arabic dance is all about isolating specific parts of your body and only allowing several movements at a time. One of the most basic movements found in belly dance is the figure-eight move. Make sure that your feet are flat and that your pelvis is tucked in slightly. Lift your chest and begin pushing your hips backwards allowing them to sway in a figure-eight pattern from side to side. Do this slowly at first, and once you get the flow of your figure eight, you may begin swaying into the pattern faster. Hold your arms out while doing this for support and balance.

Walking in Arabic dance can be easily done by using similar hip movements. Travelling steps can be done by sticking out one of your legs, bending it slightly at the knee and gently shaking your hip. Allow most of the work to come from your hip rather than your leg. Switch legs and do the same thing on the opposite leg. Start transitioning legs until you feel comfortable switching legs back and forth at a quick pace.

Pelvic circles are another common Arabic dance move. You are able to achieve this move by simply tilting your pelvis in slightly and making a circle using your hips. You can create more dramatic circles by lifting the balls of your feet slightly each time that your hip rolls to that specific side of your body. Pelvic circles can be made very small or very large depending on how wide you choose to move your hips. You can do them at a slow or a fast pace.

Use your hands while you are practicing these dance moves. This can be done by coiling your hands and arms in small circles. Both of your arms do not have to move in the same direction or be at the same height; in fact, it will add more depth to your movements if you have both of your arms doing different movements. You can practice this while doing the various basic Arabic dance moves. Combining these moves and changing their paces will allow you to create different dances at your leisure. Arabic dance is all about improvisation. Move faster or slower by following the beats in the traditional Arabic music that you are listening to.

About the Author

Janine James has been writing professionally since 2005. She has worked for a variety of different publications including "[X]press Magazine." James is a San Francisco State University graduate, holding a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and creative writing.