Belly dance warm up for elegant, controlled arms

Santa Maria Belly Dance Online

Are you out of control?

I used to call it “octopus arms”.

That feeling when you’re dancing and you know your arms are chaotic, sloppy and out of control.

Gaining control and mastery over our arms for dance is tough! And is it any wonder?

We use our arms in everyday life instinctively to help us balance. The way we ordinarily move and place our arms is unconscious, we don’t even have to think about it. Even when we simply walk along our arms make tiny little movements which helps us keep balance. Imagine you are stepping onto a log and preparing to walk along it. You put your arms out to the side for balance without even thinking.

Re-training such an instinctive bodily response takes time and bundles of patience. And when you consider that many of us come to (belly) dance as adults, there is some un-learning to do, too.

But it CAN be done. It’s totally possible to train yourself to get elegant, well-shaped, controlled and pleasing arms for belly dance.

Just a note here: this is not about having slim arms! It doesn’t matter how big or small your arms are. Any kind arms can look elegant with a bit of practise 🙂

In today’s express class, I’m going to take you through a short warm up for shoulders and arms to get you on track for amazing arms.

Thank you so much for joining me for this week’s express class! Be sure to join the conversation, leave me a comment on YouTube and let me know what you think. Do you have any top tips to share? We’d love to know!

Your Assignment

Take this short warm up exercise with me either before your practice session, or as an express class in it’s own right. Then, pay close attention to the shape and position of your arms and also your shoulders. Do your shoulders ride up? Do you maintain a soft curve of the arm? Are your arms moving too fast? Too slow? Does one arm move more smoothly than the other? I’ll be prompting you throughout to help you keep focus.

Learn belly dance with me!

Some of my most watched and commented on tutorials are from my vintage style bellydance series. This year I took myself out of my filming room (aka my comfort zone) and took my 2 hour workshop on the road. It was amazing to see people accomplishing this style right in front of my eyes! (I should have done it ages ago!)

I’m on the road again this Saturday, 10th June, in Oxford at the Dance Around the Globe Festival – woo hoo! I’ll be teaching vintage/Golden Era, bellydance style with a focus on Samya Gamal. If this 2 hour workshop sounds good to you, come and join us!

Not local to me here in Reading? If you’d like to learn how to bellydance with me from the ground up (or rise to the top of the class if you already bellydance), let’s hit the ground running distance learning style!

Using my longer, more comprehensive classes, drills, choreography sequences, movement tutorials, technical preparation exercises at Santa Maria Bellydance Online, we’ll have you confidently bellydancing in no time 🙂 You can learn with me anywhere and any time you have internet connection. Go to to find out more and get started now!

Thank you so much for reading and being here. Happy dancing to you, with love and shimmies,

Helen xx

Ps. If you’d like oodles more videos with arm drills, technique, guided improvisation for arms and tuition on arm placement, be sure to check out my online studio. Here’s a taster of one of the classes:

Pps. Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class! Go here to get yours. You can expect to hear from me every couple of weeks or so and you can easily unsub any time.

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