Category Archives: Latest News

Hip drop sequence – belly dance

Do you struggle to think of ideas for moves when choreographing a belly dance routine?

Today I’m going to help you get unstuck by proving that choreographing doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ll be looking at the mother of all belly dance moves (and probably the first belly dance technique you were taught). Of course, it’s the hip drop!

Many of my students worry about their routines looking too simple. The anxiety that this fear generates then promptly leads to choreographer’s block and then a dip in confidence. Not good! 👎

With this class, my hope is to give you the confidence to take “basic” belly dance moves and be creative with them. You are more creative than you think!

Choreography inspiration – a study in hip drops

In today’s express belly dance class I’ll teach you a very cute belly dance hip drop combination, step by step.

If you keep clean technique, maintain perfect timing and sport an engaging expression, you’ll easily look like a pro!

Thank you so much for watching, I’d love to know what you think! Be sure to leave a comment under the video on YouTube.

Your belly dance assignment

Master your technique and timing with the combo. Pay special attention to the transitions between the different hip drops – keep it seamless.

Then, use this combination in your own routine and see where it takes you! This style of combo is also great to pull out of your tool kit when your improvising and is perfect to weave into your balady performance. Use it as one of your “go to” moves!

Learn with me online ▶️📲 💻

If you’d like the full experience of  belly dance training with me, let’s hit the ground running distance learning style!

I have gained so much from joining SMBO at the beginning of the year. My dancing has progressed and I have had a breakthrough with writing choreography due to Helen’s help. The website is amazing with a huge amount of tutorials for all levels of dancers. Helen is very accessible and answers all questions really quickly and fully. It is great value for money. I love it and would recommend it to anyone.” SMBO student, Sue Powell

Get access to my full length, comprehensive classes, drills, choreography sequences, movement tutorials, technical preparation exercises at Santa Maria Bellydance Online. You can learn with me anywhere and any time you have internet connection at just £15 a month for the entire (growing) library. Go to www.santamariabellydanceonline.com to find out more and get started now!

We now have our very own private, bonus SMB Online facebook support group where you can get bespoke feedback from me live-streamed! Free for all current SMBO subscribers.

Thank you so much for reading and being here 🙏.

Happy dancing to you, with love and shimmies,

Helen xx

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

5 questions belly dancers HATE!

I wish I’d said that!

In this week’s blog I’ll help you fend off 5 of those questions we belly dancers hear time and time again!

You know the scenario: you tell somebody that you learn/teach belly dance. Then, all too often, come the predictable (sometimes frankly daft) questions.

Arm yourself with a few scripts to help shelve the silly questions and move on to sharing your enthusiasm for bellydance and listing it’s benefits.

Despite the “click-bait-y” title, I know that we belly dancers are a cool bunch. We aren’t easily riled and we welcome questions about our artform! Let’s not take ourselves too seriously 😉

I hope you enjoyed my “coffee talk” style blog this week. Next week we’ll be back on our feet with some delicious hip drop variation ideas, so be sure to stay tuned!

Your Assignment

Sometimes people don’t know how to react or what to say about your bellydance hobby/job. They may even find it a little odd! Be patient, keep a sense of humour and take the opportunity to enlighten someone to the beauty of our wonderful bellydance world.

Learn with me online! ▶️📲 💻

If you’d like the full experience of  belly dance training with me, let’s hit the ground running distance learning style!

Get access to my full length, comprehensive classes, drills, choreography sequences, movement tutorials, technical preparation exercises at Santa Maria Bellydance Online. You can learn with me anywhere and any time you have internet connection at just £15 a month for the entire (growing) library. Go to www.santamariabellydanceonline.com to find out more and get started now!

We now have our very own private, bonus SMB Online facebook support group where you can get bespoke feedback from me live-streamed! Free for all current SMBO subscribers.

Thank you so much for reading and being here 🙏.

Happy dancing to you, with love and shimmies,

Helen xx

Belly dance moves: 3 fierce level changes

3 Fierce Level Changes

Spring is on the way (at least here in the UK) and it always gets my creative belly dance juices flowing!

Many belly dancers, as well as other creatives, use the idea of seasons to give a rhythm to their creative projects.

This week I’m going to harness the inspirational, creative, energetic vibe of Spring with a quick hit of ideas for you.

We’ll be using a much under-used move in bellydance: the level change!

As usual, I’ll give you tons of tips on technique and plenty of trouble shooting. I’d love to know if you enjoyed the class, be sure to leave a comment on the Youtube page 👩‍💻 Thank you! 🙏🏼

Your Assignment

Take the class and perfect your technique. That means maintaining correct posture and keeping control throughout. I know you can do it! Commit to the practice time and go for it. It may take a few weeks or so to build the strength but you’ll feel so proud when you see yourself rocking it!

Thank you, as ever, for reading and joining in. Happy dancing!

Love and shimmies,

Helen xx

Ps. Summer Term early bird places are now open for booking for our local students!

Abdominal technique for belly dance – how to drill it right!

Belly dance abdominal technique

Belly dance abdominal technique

Hands up who wants strong, impressive belly dance abdominal moves 🙋‍♂️ 🙋‍♀️

I’m back! Welcome to my first blog post of 2019 🎉 I’m so happy to be back filming and creating express free classes for you once again.

Today we’re going to work on powering up the muscles required for jaw-dropping belly dance abdominal technique. (We belly dancers need something a little more bespoke than a few sit ups and crunches.)

So, if you’d like to refine, strengthen and elevate your belly dance ab work, you’re in the right place! You need a little basic “equipment” for this one. Don’t worry, nothing scary 😜

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! I LOVE to hear how you’re doing on your belly dance journey.

Your assignment

Take 10 minutes or so out of your day TODAY and complete the drill with me. Be sure to keep good posture and form. Then, I’d love for you to take on the challenge of doing this on a daily basis for 30 days. I promise that you will start to notice muscles you never know you had. Plus, your balance and stability will improve too. Win win! 🙌

Learn with me online! ▶️📲 💻

If you’d like the full experience of  bellydance training with me, let’s hit the ground running distance learning style!

Get access to my full length, comprehensive classes, drills, choreography sequences, movement tutorials, technical preparation exercises at Santa Maria Bellydance Online. You can learn with me anywhere and any time you have internet connection at just £15 a month for the entire (growing) library. Go to www.santamariabellydanceonline.com to find out more and get started now!

We now have our very own private, bonus SMB Online facebook support group where you can get bespoke feedback from me live-streamed! Free for all current SMBO subscribers.

Thank you so much for reading and being here 🙏.

Happy dancing to you, with love and shimmies,

Helen xx

Belly dance for relaxation | belly-chill 💆

Welcome to my last class of the year! I this episode I bring you my “living Christmas card” for relaxation to send you my warmest wishes this Christmas.

If you’re already finding all the festive glitz and preparations a bit overwhelming (especially as it seems to start earlier and earlier each year), don’t worry, this class has a real belly-chill vibe with no tinsel or Christmas music, just relaxation 😊

This short session is the perfect antidote to all the dashing around we do in the run up to Christmas (preparing and buying stuff for other people). Allow yourself to intentionally get distracted to a few minutes and just follow along with me – or even just watch if you find it relaxing. Whatever floats your boat!

My hope is that this express class helps you to end the year feeling calm and relaxed. That way you can have a lovely break from belly dancing and come back in 2019 ready to dive right back in.

Speaking of New Year, keep a look out for an SMBO January sale! If you’re looking for a convenient, supportive and fun way to get back on the belly dance wagon, I think you’ll love what I have in store for the SMB Onliners. I’ll be posting new content for snappy, effective and innovative daily drills several times a week with extra support, motivation and livestreams from me in our private SMB Onliners facebook group (it’s super friendly in there!)

For now, let’s end this year on a peaceful and relaxing note:

Thank you so much for reading and watching today. I’d love to know what you thought of this episode, be sure to leave a comment in the YouTube comments or even drop me an email.

One last reminder for my local students here in the UK: the early bird course price for next term ends after 31st December. Remember to book your place!

Love and shimmies to you,

Helen xx

Ps. Are you in the loop? 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.

👉 Learn with me online!  📲 💻

Get access to my full length, comprehensive classes, drills, choreography sequences, movement tutorials, technical preparation exercises at Santa Maria Bellydance Online. You can learn with me anywhere and any time you have internet connection at just £15 a month for the entire (growing) library. Go to www.santamariabellydanceonline.com to find out more and get started now!

We now have our very own private, bonus SMB Online facebook support group where you can get bespoke feedback from me live-streamed! Free for all current SMBO subscribers.

Fitness Pilates for bellydancers – 8 minute sequence

As the temperature drops (here in the UK) we’re digging out the chunky jumpers and huddling over our bowls of hot soup. I LOVE getting warm and cosy when it’s cold outside!

The downside to all this cosy-ness is that it can involve sitting on our bums more than usual as we strive to get snug. (For instance, we might drive journeys that we walked during the Summer.)

It’s so important for all of us to keep our joints and muscles mobile, especially us dancers.

Becoming inactive means that your posture and overall poise, strength and quality of movement will very likely take a bit of a slump (literally and metaphorically!)

The good news is, it doesn’t take much to keep your dancing feeling good and looking fabulous during the unappealing chilly months. I’ll show you how easy it is in this week’s new style of express class.

Join me for a speedy Fitness Pilates for Bellydancers sequence which will maintain your upper body posture and strength. No equipment needed and you hardly need any space!

Why not stop what you’re doing right now and dive on in, it’s just short of 8 minutes so you’ll be done in a flash!

I’d love to know what you thought of this Fitness Pilates for bellydancers express class. Be sure to leave a comment on the YouTube page and give it a thumbs up so I know you dig this kind of thing.

Tip 👉 If you enjoyed this short class, I think you’ll love the full length Fitness Pilates for Bellydancers at SMB Online. Sign up today and get instant access!

Wherever you learn bellydance and whoever you learn with, I wish you happy dancing!

Love and shimmies,

Helen xx

Ps. Are you in the loop? 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.

👉 Learn with me online!  📲 💻

Get access to my full length, comprehensive classes, drills, choreography sequences, movement tutorials, technical preparation exercises at Santa Maria Bellydance Online. You can learn with me anywhere and any time you have internet connection at just £15 a month for the entire (growing) library. Go to www.santamariabellydanceonline.com to find out more and get started now!

We now have our very own private, bonus SMB Online facebook support group where you can get bespoke feedback from me live-streamed! Free for all current SMBO subscribers.

My belly dance hair and make up routine

In today’s blog episode I’m giving you a full-on behind the scenes look at my performance prep routine.

So, come into my bedroom and see how I get my hair and make up in order!

Find out how I’m tackling the process of growing out my grey, how I get my unruly hair into shape (with a minor fail along the way) and how I time keep the whole process.

I’m not a hair and make up expert, but I’ve developed my own, quirky, tips and tricks along the way which I think you might like 💄 💇.

Go here to hang out with me while I get busy with the hair dryer and bronzer (not at the same time 😂)

 

Thank you, as always, for reading and watching 🙏. I’d love to know, do you have any quirky little hair and make up tricks to share? Be sure to comment on youtube and let us know!

Until next time, love and shimmies,

Helen
xx

Ps. Are you in the loop? 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.

👉 Learn with me online!  📲 💻

Get access to my full length, comprehensive classes, drills, choreography sequences, movement tutorials, technical preparation exercises at Santa Maria Bellydance Online. You can learn with me anywhere and any time you have internet connection at just £15 a month for the entire (growing) library. Go to www.santamariabellydanceonline.com to find out more and get started now!

We now have our very own private, bonus SMB Online facebook support group where you can get bespoke feedback from me live-streamed! Free for all current SMBO subscribers.

 

10 Songs Every Belly Dancer Should Know – Part II

 

I’m back again with part 2 of 10 songs every bellydancer should know.

(Missed the top 10 part 1? Check it out here)

Once you get further into the bellydance world, you’ll start to hear more experienced dancers reeling off song titles. That’s because there are certain, epic, songs that us bellydancers just HAVE to know!

It needn’t be bamboozling though. My tip is to start with one major artist, for example Om Khalthoum, and listen to their most well known tracks.

That way you’ll start to get a real feel for their style. Take your time to find what you like.

(My other tip is don’t be put off by the epic length of some of the songs! 😮 It’s a whole new world, think of how long the songs are in an opera.)

It’s been almost impossible for me to narrow down the list, there are so many amazing songs out there! But I’ve finally managed to choose my faves and I’ve even added a link to where you can find an example of an arrangement of the song (you’re welcome 😉).

Bear in mind that there are many different arrangements of most of these songs. Dancers often have their own preferred version, and you will too, undoubtedly 😊

  1. Leylet Hob, Om Khalthoum
  2. Lessa Fakir, Om Khalthoum (the link is to a video of Soheir Zaki performing it)
  3. Mashaal, Mokhtar al Said
  4. Salaam Allay, traditional Egyptian folk song
  5. Ansak, Om Khalthoum
  6. Bitwanes Beek, Warda (I’m going to dance this one day once I get the courage!)
  7. Taht El Shibak, (the singer Fatme Serhan helped make this a classic for bellydancers. But I just love this video with Taheyya Carioca)

  8. Ganal Howa, Abdel Halim Hafiz (you will just live this video!)
  9. Akdeb Alek, Warda
  10. El Hob Kollo, Om Khalthoum (this is my favorite Om Khalthoum song)

So go out there, find the versions and styles that you like out of this rich list of belly dance beauties and get dancing! In the bathroom, in the garden, in the hallway – wherever you like!

I hope I’ve bought a little bit of inspiration into your dance life for today ⭐🎁.

Until next time, love and shimmies,

Helen xxx

Ps. Are you in the loop? 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.

Pps. Learn with me anytime, anywhere! In my online studio at Santa Maria Bellydance Online, you’ll find an ever expanding library of my technique, drills and bellydance choreography classes go to santamariabellydanceonline.com. Santa Maria Bellydance Online is my full online bellydance school that you can access anytime and anywhere you have internet access!

Ideally, regular live classes are the cornerstone of your bellydance learning. But sometimes class isn’t enough to get you unstuck and master the moves to the level you want to. Or maybe you can’t even get to a regular class!

So I created the Santa Maria Bellydance Online website to help you get past your “bellydance blocks” and nail the moves that you’d love to see yourself doing.

I love my youtube channel and there is loads of good, free, tuition there! (I’m really committed to it) But if you want the full, in depth coaching experience with me, my comprehensive online studio is the way to go 🙂

Once you register as a paid up member to SMBO you’ll have immediate access to my short choreography sequence workshops, my beginner bootcamp workshop, individual movement tutorials, practice drills and conditioning exercises, combination tutorials, warm ups and cool downs. It’s everything you need to learn and master this gorgeous art form.

It’s my aim give you step by step, non-intimidating bellydance classes that help you embrace your body like never before – even if you’re super limited on time and space. Start learning with me in your very own home today! Go to Santamariabellydanceonline.com.

Vintage style belly dance: how to get “allure” (hack!)

 

For someone who hates the whole “hack” concept, I’m cringing slightly at the subject title ☝️ but I can’t find a better way to describe today’s express class!

(In fact, it’s so snappy I can hardly call it a class.)

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of drills.

I frequently reinforce (i.e. I’m always banging on about) the accumulative, imperceptible progress we get from the repetition of technique.

Yadda yadda yadda … 😴

So I’m going to break with tradition and give you a speedy, non technical, instantly gratifying belly-hack.

Here in today’s blog, I’ll show you how to instantly create the fuzzy, retro charm of golden age bellydance film stars with one simple gesture.

  • If you’re struggling with how to get some vintage allure into your choreo, you’ll love this.
  • If you want to dance around your bedroom looking like an Egyptian film star (whilst wearing your dressing gown) you’ll love this too.
  • Love finding easy new bellydance moves that require next to no technique? This blog is a dream for you.

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! I LOVE to hear how you’re doing on your belly dance journey.

Your assignment

Get heart, soul and allure from this gesture and be sure to feel plenty of expression through the shoulders. Don’t just move from the wrist and hand! Take a few moments to check yourself in the mirror, then let loose round the house with it!

Learn belly dance with us!

Are you ready to start your belly dance journey? Our current local Beginner course is now full. But don’t panic because we have a brand new Beginner course starting in January 2019. Go here to book find out more and your place!

Learn with me online! ▶️📲 💻

If you’d like to learn how to bellydance with me, let’s hit the ground running distance learning style!

Get access to my full length, comprehensive classes, drills, choreography sequences, movement tutorials, technical preparation exercises at Santa Maria Bellydance Online. You can learn with me anywhere and any time you have internet connection at just £15 a month for the entire (growing) library. Go to www.santamariabellydanceonline.com 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. Here’s a peek at the latest class release available now at Santa Maria Bellydance Online 👇

Growing out my grey: belly dance coffee talk

http://www.helenbellydance.com/growing-grey-belly-dance-coffee-talk/

Could you, should you, would you grow out your grey as a belly dance performer?

I’m taking a break from teaching to recharge over the Summer holidays, so let’s sit down and have a cuppa together 🙂

For lots of people, hair colour is a total non-event. But if you’re like me and have been dying your hair for (20!) years, the thought of ditching the dye is a definite no-no. So why have I done it? I’ll be telling you in this week’s video.

I’d love to know your thoughts, be sure to leave a comment, especially if you have any tips or motivational words! Hop over to the YouTube page and join the conversation.

By the way, this is the shampoo that makes my white hair really pop👇 https://amzn.to/2Osj5wI

This is the hairspray I swear by to keep those springy little flyaway hairs from ruining my pompadour!👉 https://amzn.to/2yiyvtk

Your assignment

Have a wonderful Summer break! Recharge by spending time with friends and family when you’d usually be taking or teaching class. This is the best way to avoid “bellydance burnout” and return to classes pumped up and ready to go! I always say that the best relationships allow each party the opportunity to miss each other. The same goes for you and your bellydancing.

Learn belly dance with us!

Our Autumn 2018 courses are now open! Early bird prices have now finished (boo) but you can still snap up your course place at standard prices (yay!) As usual, we are running smokin’ hot courses from Beginner to Advanced and troupe level. Go here to grab your place.

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 www.santamariabellydanceonline.com 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. Check out my recent Balady improvisation performance of mine from our end of term Summer Spectacular.

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