BELLY DANCE DRILLS
Exercise: SHOULDER ROLL
Goal: To increase fluidity and strength in shoulder region, in turn preparing for initiation of arm undulation.
Standing in home posture, arms in low position, palms facing the floor, rotate the front of the right shoulder straight forward and down. Be sure NOT to lift the shoulder up and in towards the neck and over, creating tension, but rather STRAIGHT forward and back and down. Repeat this shoulder roll forward and down with the left shoulder. Then rotate the right shoulder straight back and down, pulling the shoulder blades together in the back. And repeat this on the left. Begin alternating back and forth with the right shoulder rotating forward, left shoulder forward, then right shoulder back, left shoulder back. Ater 1-2 minutes, add in both shoulders forward and back so that the exercise would now be(with the counts as follows): Rotate right should forward (1), left shoulder forward(2), right shoulder back(3), left shoulder back(4), then both shoulders forward (5,6) and back(7,8).
Exercise: BELLY SETS
Goal: To isolate upper and lower abs to both strengthen and prepare the individual muscles for layering and belly rolls.
Standing in home posture contract the upper abdominal muscle while releasing/relaxing/letting go of the lower abdominal muscle or lower belly. Next, do the opposite; contract the lower ab(below the belly: it is a deeper muscle) while pushing out or relaxing the upper ab region. Go back and forth between contracting upper ab and lower ab, both slowly then gaining speed.
Now, just contract the lower ab, contracting and relaxing repeatedly for 1-2 minutes. Do NOT move the pelvis and be sure the contraction is coming from below the belly and deep within the deepest, lowest layer of your abdominal muscle.
Next, for a belly roll from up to down, push out the upper abs, middle abs, then lower abs push out and release so the motion is a pushing out of the belly from “top to bottom”, then repeat 30-50 times. Then reverse the roll, from “down to up” by contract the lower ab, then contracting the middle ab, then lastly contracting the upper ab, then releasing the lower belly to end the movement. Repeat these down to up contractions 30-50 times.
Lastly, a belly “combo”. Contract your upper ab two times in a row for counts 1, 2. Then complete a belly roll up to down for counts 3,4. Then contract just the lower ab two times for counts 1,2. Then complete a belly roll down to up for counts 3,4. To end, do a broken belly roll down to up, so that the counts are as follows: count 1contract lower ab, count 2 contract middle ab, count 3 contract the upper abs and count 4 release or push out the belly. These shoud be done sharply with the ab muscle, not softly. You are essentially breaking up the smoother belly roll. Complete the count of 8 by doing 2 belly rolls up to down, one for 5,6 and the last one for 7, 8 and repeat the entire “belly combo” from the top beginning with contracting the upper ab twice.
Exercise: ARM UNDULATION
Goal: To attain fluid arm undulations and strength in the upper arm region.
You will complete an arm undulation upward and downward, practicing one arm at a time.
Begin with the right arm,(left arm relaxed at your side) and rotate the right shoulder forward, then lift the elbow upwards towards the ceiling so it follows in turn, separately, after your shoulder rotation,(still keep the wrist facing downward) then allow the wrist to break with the wrist breaking upwards at the last moment. You can count this movement as follows:
Count 1: shoulder rotates forward
Count 2: elbow comes up
Count 3: wrist breaks upward
Count 4: hold
Note: with this upward movement, you can think of the elbow as leading and you should feel most of the energy of this movement in your upper arm, as well as in the front of your shoulder. You also want to focus on the three components and allowing your arm to go through each one...try not to gloss over any part of this exercise.
To come down with the arm, follow similar steps; you will pull the right should down(shoulderblade pushing down the back), then bring the elbow down(pointing it downwards), then let the wrist break downwards, as it was in the beginning. The same counts apply:
Count 1: shoulder rotates back
Count 2: elbow goes down
Count 3: wrist breaks downward
Count 4: hold
Repeat with the left arm.
Do 50-100 arm undulations on each arm.
For online yoga exercises go here.