Belly Dancing Lifts and Drops – Carla Lima Dance Fitness & Wellbeing
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Belly Dancing Lifts and Drops

Learn the Belly Dancing Names of The Moves Divided By Groups


The names of the Belly Dance moves were divided into groups:

  • Lifts and drops
  • Twists
  • Circles
  • Figure eight
  • Undulations
  • Shimmies
  • Slides

Lifts And Drops Basic  Hip Lifts and Drops

  • Basic Posture
  • Feet together
  • Place the right foot slightly forward, heel raised, toes positioned close to the supporting leg foot, right in front of your toes
  • Knees together
  • Supporting leg stays slightly bent
  • Bend the knee to drop the hip and straighten the knee to lift

( do not forget that in order to lift you contract the gluteus on the same side and to drop you contract the opposite side )

  • To accentuate the movement always drop before a lift and always lift before a drop
  • Do not lean back stay centred

You can do this drop movement with a small foot kick and remember to always point your toes and place your inner thighs out.

Pay attention to your head if it is bouncing up and down it is because you are not isolating your hips, your head should be still.

Chest Drops and Chest Lifts

  • To lift your chest contract your upper back muscles ( to accentuate the moves the contractions should be weaker or stronger depending on the accent )
  • To drop contract your upper abs muscles
  • Always remember the principle of Belly Dance to go up you must first go down and to go down you must first go up
  • Never ever use your shoulders to do a chest movement or place your shoulder blades together, use your rib cage and the upper back and abdominal muscles

Shoulders Drops

  • This movement is always combined with hip movements and all you have to do is simply bring your shoulders up and let go down, this should be a fast and precise movement.

Certainly you will not memorise all the Belly Dance names of the moves at the same time, take your time and go through all the names as many times as you need.

Remember that are many Belly Dance names of the moves and sometimes some teachers might call the same move by a different name, but that does not mean that any of them are wrong.


Basic Hip Twist

  • Basic posture with one foot forward on toe position
  • Shift your weight from leg to leg and remember to always use your knees bending and straightening to move your hips
  • Start the twisting movement from back to front always using the ball of your foot and make sure that your knee does not lock as you twist ( do not try this at home before your belly dance teacher shows you how to do it properly as this is a move that it is prone to knee injuries)

You can also perform these twists moves travelling with the 1,2,3,4 count.

Shoulder Twist

  • Push one shoulder at a time forward and then back


Basic Hip Circle

  • With your basic posture and one foot placed in front on toes
  • Imagine you are drawing a circle with your hip vertically
  • Start with your hip forward then up back and under
  • Make sure you complete the circle and you can use the ball of your foot to help you perform this move; however try not to swing your heel up and down too much, keep your knees as close as possible
  • Do not forget that the supporting leg is always bent

Omi ( Full Hip Circle)

Now here is one of the best examples of the different Belly Dance Names for the same movement.

The Omi may also be known as a Full Hip Circle, Pelvic Circle or Interior Pelvic Circles.

  • Basic posture, feet together facing forward as this is a Basic Omi there are several variations as you will learn in class
  • You will not use the ball of your feet and you will not lift the heels off the floor
  • Starting for example on your right, lift your hip up moving on to the centre contracting your lower abdominals and then keeping the lower abs contraction you will lift your left side and release in the middle on your lower back, make sure you do not tilt your lower back out remember the neutral position of you basic posture
  • Try to do it in the opposite direction
  • You can also start the Omi on any other side; as an example front, right, back, left or back, left, front, right
  • Keep your upper body still
  • You can do this movement sharper or continuously by making it look a bit more ”snakier”

Chest Circle

  • Once again Basic Posture
  • There are four points on your chest circle I will say the right first but you can start left if you want; right, front, left and release back
  • You will use your rib cage and your upper back and upper abdominal muscles as you do on the chest lifts and drops
  • Draw a circle with your chest
  • You can do a horizontal circle by using the four points in a horizontal circular motion or you can do this circle in a more vertical motion by lifting your chest up instead of horizontally
  • This move can also be locked by stopping in all the four points and contracting your muscles or can be smooth and sensual

Shoulder Roll

  • This move should be done by alternating the shoulders drawing a circle with one shoulder at a time
  • Gently start your circle forward up and back and then do the same with the other shoulder ( do not shrug your shoulders )

Wrist Circles

  • With your hands in front of you and your palms facing down
  • Draw a circle with your wrists by dropping your fingers first and bending your wrists
  • Imagine you have a soft ball in your hands, keep your knuckles soft and your fingers lengthened, squeeze and release the imaginary ball without bending your fingers completely but remember this is a fluid movement and also elegant Belly Dance Names Of The Moves

On our next page we will continue with our Belly Dance Names of the moves and we will start with the Figure of eight where there are also many different names for the same move.

The figure of eight, Mayas or horizontal and vertical infinity loops are some of the Belly Dance names most frequently used for the figure of 8 of the hips.

As said previously, it is very helpful to know the names of your Belly Dance moves as this will trigger your muscle memory.

Also bear in mind the femininity and elegance of this dance form all the moves must start and finish, be controlled and precise.

Dance from your head to your toes and not forgetting the importance of your hands right up to your finger tips.

Doing all moves faster means utilising a smaller range of movement, to lock means a stronger contraction is used.


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