Category Archives: Express bellydance video tutorials

How to take the stress out of turns

Picture this:

The routine is all going swimmingly, your timing is perfect, you’ve remembered the choreography, you’re exuding expression through your face, things couldn’t be going any better. Until … your body tenses, your shoulders rise up to your ears and you can’t breathe.

Yep, it’s the part of the routine with turns.

Can you relate? If so then this week’s blog post is definitely for you.

Turns can turn the joy of bellydance into a pit of tension and stress, taking us from the pleasure of a well honed and cultivated hip drop to feeling like we’re still beginners.

In this week’s video tutorial I’m going to share a concept that gave my turns a complete transformation. Once I started implementing this idea regularly into my dancing I found that my turns became balanced and even a source of pleasure when I danced (rather than the part of the routine I dreaded). And that’s what I want for you too.

So go ahead and dive into the class right now!

 

Once you’ve taken the class I’d love to know: what’s your secret tip for nailing turns? Be sure to tell us in the comments below, it might be just what somebody needs.

One last thing, have you ever wondered how to become a bellydance teacher? Have you considered teaching but no idea where to start? Perhaps you’ve already been approached by friends or an organization to teach a class and weren’t sure where to start, or maybe you already teach but you’re finding it tough going (how do you find the students?!) Then, if you’re local to Berkshire, UK, you might be a suitable candidate to undertake my SMBA Apprenticeship.

If you would like coaching and mentoring from me on everything from how to set up your first website, find your first students and create sell out classes, then I’d love to invite you to apply for an SMBA Apprenticeship place starting in September. Email mail@helenbellydance.com for full details.

Thank you for reading,

Hugs and hipdrops,

Helen xx

Ps. Do you live local to Reading, UK? If so, check out our Autumn term timetable with courses from Beginner to advanced troupe work. Early bird prices are up for grabs so take a look now!

Pps. Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

Is this the most iconic bellydance move of all time? How to dance like Soheir Zaki

Is this the most iconic move of

“Omg her hips are on fire!”

That’s what I thought when I first saw Soheir Zaki dancing in old Egyptian films and it’s pretty much still my reaction when I watch her now.

Soheir was an Egyptian bellydance superstar during the 1960s and 70s. She had a very natural, girlie style of dancing which, for me, gives her dance a real sense of freedom and fun.

However, don’t be fooled by the “cute” quality of her dance, she meant business when it came to hipwork.

So for this week’s blog tutorial I’m going to teach you what is known to most bellydancers as the “Soheir Zaki step”. Plus I’ll give you some tips on how to give it some Soheir characterisation, so be sure to watch til the end.

Dive into this week’s tutorial to see your hips hit the proverbial road.

 

And if you want some Soheir-fuelled inspiration then here’s one of my fave clips. (Look out for that iconic move at 1.36)

 

 

Thanks, as always, for reading. And if you think your other bellydance friends might enjoy this, please share it with them, I’d be so grateful 🙂

Do you live local to Reading, UK? If so, check out our Autumn term timetable with courses from Beginner to advanced troupe work. Early bird prices are up for grabs so take a look now!

If you’re further afield you can still join in with my free classes on my youtube channel (there are over 37 classes!)

Now I’d love to know: who stands out as an iconic bellydancer for you? and how would you characterise her or his style? Let us know in the comments below!

Hugs and shimmies,
Helen xx

Ps. If you like this tutorial, why not check out my previous class on Samya Gamal?

Pps. Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

 

How to shimmy like a pro – 3 tips

 

Helen Tummy

It still gets my goat that we’ve been conditioned to think that our bodies shouldn’t wobble and, if they do, that we should cover it up.

As bellydancers, we say different.

In this post I want to talk to you about how to make your tummy wobble in the most beautiful and enchanting way possible. Or, as we belly babes call it: shimmy.

The funny thing with shimmies is that they are different every day because our bodies are different every day. It might depend on what time of the year it is, what time of the month it is or how much our body is ever so slightly bigger or smaller than the day before.

There is no “correct” body type  for shimmying, but you might get a sense that on some days your body tunes in and you get an even, effortless shimmy; other days it feels totally forced, like your doing battle with yourself.

The good news is that there are 3 things you can do to crack this beast. It is possible for you to get a comfortable, relaxed, consistent Egyptian shimmy.

Here’s what to do:

1. Fully understand the mechanics and technique beneath the move

2. Get the technique down pat slowly

3. Repeat the technique on a regular basis and increase speed. I’m talking every day or at least every other day for a period of 2 – 3 months to master the technique (you may take longer, you may master it quicker. Just don’t give up – you will get there!)

To help get you started with 1 and 2, I’ve put together  a video tutorial to guide you through so you’re not alone.

However, I can’t help you with 3, that’s all down to you. Remember, watching or thinking about shimmying is not enough, you have to join in (and join in on a regular basis).

My hope for you is that you work towards gaining a strong, consistent and confident shimmy so you can enjoy the feeling of a gloriously wobbly tummy. Not only do shimmies look stunning but they should feel amazing too.

So go ahead and dive into this week’s tutorial …

Once you’ve had a go at the tutorial, I’d love to know: how do you feel about your shimmy? What helpful hint did you hear that helped you to “get it”? Post in the comments below!

If you liked this tutorial then I’d be so grateful if you were to share it with all your friends 🙂

Thanks for reading and watching, see you next time,

Helen
xx

Ps. Places are now open on our brand new Beginner Bellydance Essentials course for September 2015. Early bird prices last until the end of July, click here to book your spot.

Pps. Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

 

 

What’s a “shimmy drop”? Let me show you …

How to do a shimmy drop

It’s a monster mashup this week as I’ll be showing you, step-by-step, how to execute a neat little move that’s perfect for drum solos – and pretty much any other routine.

(NB. Also suitable for bopping around the kitchen or having a sneaky practice in the loos at work)

If you’re looking for an impressively cute move to delight your audience (or yourself), then this one is for you.

Click to see this week’s express “shimmy drop” tutorial.

 

 

I’d love to know what you thought of this week’s post so please do leave me a comment below. Have you perfected the shimmy drop? Do you have any tips on how to master it? Let us know!

Your other task this week is to create your own shimmy-mashup move. You are a creative and expressive person and you don’t need special permission to experiment with movements, so try combining movements that you wouldn’t normally expect!

Thank you for watching,

Hugs and hipdrops,

Helen x

Ps. Have you signed up for Summer School? Our Reading sessions are now sold out, go here to grab the last remaining Thatcham spot.

Yoga and Meditation for Bellydance 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

Vintage style bellydance: how to get effortlessly elegant arms

How is it that some dancers seem to be able to just get up, dance and look effortlessly fabulous and elegant?

What do they do? how do the do it? and how can I do it too?!

The truth is that these kind of accomplished-looking dancers have “go to” movements. These are certain moves and actions that are adaptable enough to use during improvisation in ways that don’t look obvious and repetitive.

If you aspire to improvise with confidence and ease then this tutorial is definitely for you. In this week’s video I’ll show you an easy, super sleek and elegant vintage-inspired technique that anybody can do with virtually any move.

I’ll be giving you a “go to” action to do with your arms that instantly makes pretty much all your moves look classy with that hint of vintage glam. This one has really helped me out, particularly when it comes to improvisation.

I’ll also explain why this move works so well and help you understand the subtle differences in stylization which (to me at least) make this action “vintage”.

Be sure to watch right to the end where I show you two simple ways to use this technique to full effect.

WARNING: side effects of engaging with this simple technique include heightened feelings of femininity, confidence and sexiness (yes, I said sexiness in relation to bellydance, I think we’re allowed to every now and then 😉 )

Click to dive into today’s tutorial – see you in class!

 

Thanks for watching, I’d love to know how you got on with the tutorial so be sure to post a comment below. Did you try out the technique? Did it work for you? I’d love to know 🙂

Hugs and hipdrops,

Helen x

Ps. Is there a topic you’d like to see a tutorial on? Post your suggestions in the comments box below and I’ll do my best to create a tutorial on it.

Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

Thank you! (and something else)

There are some things that sound so much better when you say them out loud, and in this week’s short sweet post I have a message for you in this video as well as a question.

I absolutely love to write and film tips and advice about bellydance, so I’m in the process of trying to improve the video and audio quality of my tutorials. I hope that this makes them more fun to watch and easier to follow 🙂

Click here or on the video to check out my lil note …

 

Thanks for reading, til next time,

Love and shimmies,

Helen xx

P.s. Don’t forget to post your comment below!

Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

Say goodbye to clunky arm transitions and hello to poised coordination

10425470_10152683930926857_8363210408524917612_nOur Silver award exam coaching workshop – good luck ladies!

Hey there!

Have you ever had one of those “hallelujah” moments where a teacher gives you a nugget of dance wisdom? Something clicks, the penny drops and you feel that you’ve been nudged a little further along.

It’s not a particular move or technique but a way doing something which informs your dance overall.

As a dance student I live for those moments.

Back when I was a teenager learning ballroom dancing (sporting 3 inch heels and enough rhinestones to bling up a house) my teacher dropped a concept into his teaching that struck such a chord with me that I still use it in my bellydancing and teaching today (with a few of my own modifications to make it fully pertinant to bellydance).

On that note I’d like to say thank you to my former teacher, Bruce Lait, for his many pearls of wisdom that’s formed my personal “dance tapestry”.

If you’re a fellow fan of “dance pearls of wisdom” then dig in to this week’s tutorial to get coaching from me on how to say goodbye to clunky arm transitions and hello to poised, coordinated arms.

I’d love to know, what dance pearls of wisdom have struck a chord with you? What gave you a “hallelujah” moment most recently and who was it from? Leave a comment and take the opportunity to say “thanks teach!”.

If you’re curious about learning to bellydance with us here in Reading, UK, take a look at our upcomng courses (we start in 2 weeks!). I’m uber proud to say that we have a stunning team of coaches to guide and coach you. If you’re a complete beginner we even have a course specially designed for you.

Thank you for reading,

Hugs and shimmies,

Helen xx

Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

Let me upgrade you – how to advance your hipdrop

I love a bit of Beyonce as much as the next person and I’ve had her booty shakin ‘Upgrade U’ in my head all week. So thank you to the B for inspiring this week’s blog title! If you need a bit of Beyonce bling in your day before you read on – here she is!

 

In today’s post I’m not talking so much Audemars Piguet, rather I’m borrowing Beyonce’s sentiment to introduce my tip on one way to pimp up your hip drop.

So, if you’d like me to upgrade your hipdrop in 6 minutes, this class is for you. My aim in this class is to help you feel like your hip drop’s had an extra pinch of glitter dust  and a shot of espresso to boot 🙂

Go ahead and dive right in …

 

 

Once you’ve had a look, I’d love to know what you think! Do leave a comment below, especially if you have some tips on advancing your hip drop. And of course I’d love it if you were to share this with all your friends :)

As always, thanks for reading.

With love and shimmies,

Helen xx

Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

Banish awkward arms – for good

We’re almost at the end of January, thank goodness. As much as I like getting cosy by the fire, I’m already looking forward to throwing off the chunky jumpers and woolly socks. Call me optimistic but seeing a few daffodil bulbs emerging has put me in a springtime mood.

Despite the urge to hibernate all winter, I’ve been beavering away on more tutorials and articles and I’m happy to say that I now have a blog – woo hoo! (I know – I’m only about 8 years behind … ) Over time I’ll be posting new and also updated versions of past articles. It  would be awesome to see you join in the discussion and leave a comment 🙂

Today I want to let you in on 2 of my top tips for instantly improving the feel and appearance of your arms and hands when you dance. This is my “secret sauce” for saying bye bye to awkward and hesitant arms. And you know what the best bit is? you don’t need to do endless arm drills and 500 press-ups.

The tips that I share in this week’s blog were real game changers for me. They gave me a way in to understanding how to connect with the emotion and feeing of the dance with my hands and arms and then in turn through the rest of my body.

If you want a bite-sized class (we’re talking 5 mins) on how to improve your hands and arms, this tutorial is for you.

NB. This one is also a goodie if you’re looking to get serious intention, feeling and emotion into your dance.

Click in  the video and dive right into the class,  then afterwards, I’d love to know what you think! Be sure to leave a comment below, especially if you have some tips to share too (it might be just what somebody out there needs). And of course I’d love it if you were to share it with all your friends 🙂

With love and shimmies,

Helen xx

Subscribe for blog updates with bellydance tips to get on track and stay inspired. Plus receive my free online class!

 

How can I feel more graceful?

Let me ask you, are you like Sue? Some time ago a lovely lady called Sue asked me a brilliant question via my facebook page: “how can I look more graceful when I dance?”

Well, I’m going to be a bit sneaky and answer a slightly different question: how can I feel more graceful when I dance? For me, how I look when I dance is deeply connected to how I feel when I dance and if the feeling’s right, then I know I stand a much better chance of expressing myself fully in the dance. After all, first and foremost we want to feel good when we dance, right?!

Hear my tips for feeling more graceful when you dance, check out my video here …

Before I go, I’d love to know, when do you feel your most graceful? Is there a certain outfit, costume or music that makes you feel fabulous? Post in the comments below 🙂