Basic Belly Dance Staccato Hip Moves and Lessons
There are 3 basic staccato hip moves that create the majority of quick, angular hip articulations that are performed by belly dancers. These moves are most often danced to the rhythm and faster tempos of your belly dance music. By mastering these 3 core belly dance moves, the belly dancer can then go on to learn creative variations of staccato hip moves for all styles of belly dancing.
Posture and Basic Stance
Good posture is essential to the art of belly dancing. There are a variety of ways you can stand for your staccato hip moves, but basic stance is the posture used most often by belly dancers.
Basic Stance: Stand with your feet slightly apart, approximately hip or shoulder width, with both feet flat on the ground and your toes pointing forward. Your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet and you should feel solidly connected to the ground. Knees start out slightly bent. Keep them relaxed, flexible, and ready for movement. Hips and pelvis are centered and held level to the ground. The ribcage is pulled gently up with the stomach held comfortably in. Shoulders are relaxed back and down.
Be aware of your center axis, or vertical body alignment. You can imagine a line running from the top of your head, through the center of your torso, and exiting between your feet.
There are many arm positions and arm movements that can accompany basic stance, but when you are first perfecting the core move, it's easiest to just hold the arms in a graceful and comfortable pose.
Everyone's body type is unique. If necessary, make subtle adjustments to your stance so that you feel comfortable, centered, and balanced for your belly dancing.
Belly Dance Isolation Techniques
It's helpful to learn the core moves by first isolating them: that is, moving only the area of the body necessary for the core move and keeping the rest of the body still. By isolating the move, you can perfect it more easily and later can add other body moves as you increase the complexity of your bellydancing. For the basic staccato hip moves, you can isolate by keeping the upper body still and just moving from the hips down.
1) Hip Twist
Standing in basic stance, isolate your right hip and twist or swivel it forward. Keep the hips level as you twist, putting a little snap in the forward motion, but not too hard at first. When the right hip twists forward, the left hip twists back. You can work the left hip by twisting it forward which causes the right hip to twist back. You can also alternate hips, first twisting one forward, then the other. One side of the body is usually easier to work than the other side, but it's beneficial to practice working both sides. Although our staccato hip movements focus on the hips, they cause a slight reaction in the knees, so don't lock the knees straight or tense them up.
2) Up and Down Hips
Standing in basic stance, move your right hipbone straight upward and then downward. Try to move in as vertical a line as possible. Do not twist forward and back or bump out to the side. Keep the upper torso still. When the right hip snaps upward, the left hip goes down. If you work your left hip upward, the right hip moves down. Muscles in the upper legs and lower torso will work together to push and pull the knees up and down, so keep the knees especially relaxed and receptive for this move. If the knees aren't allowed to react, this inhibits the hip action.
3) Hip Bump (Hip Thrust)
Stand in basic stance, isolate your lower torso, and bump or thrust your right hip straight out to the side and slightly up. It's as though you're bumping a door shut with your hip and putting a little snap into it. Alternate working one hip and then the other. Although you'll favor one hip, practicing by working both hips will give you a more balanced exercise and more options in your dance. Keep the upper torso still and the feet flat. Concentrate on using the muscles that make your hips move; that is, the muscles in the upper leg, pelvic, and buttocks region. Although staccato hip moves cause a reaction in the knees, don't use your knees to initiate the moves.
The more you relax for these, or other belly dancing moves, the faster you will learn. Never try too hard.
Belly Dancing Video Clips of Staccato Hip Moves
You can see video clips of belly dance artists performing staccatop hip moves.
In Ninah’s belly dance video clip , you can see how quick, snappy staccato hip movements are used extensively in belly dance.
In this belly dance video clip you can see hip lift and hip drop instruction.
Basic staccato hip moves are taught in the Bellydance! Magical Motion available in a DVD format or VHS video tape.
Advanced staccato hip moves are taught in the Bellydance! Fast Moves is available in a DVD format or VHS video tape.
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