Weekly Challenge for 4-15-13

Tax day! I hope you got yours done!

Now that the stress of taxes is over and done with, let’s dance!

Hip Drop Kick

If there was a single belly dance movement that was absolutely a requirement to learn, it would be the hip drop and the hip drop kick. In my experience (your mileage may vary), if you get a beledi or saiidi beat and start in on hip drops, the crowd will go wild.

However, hip drops are also one of the movements that can get pretty sloppy. So let’s clean them up!

Beginner: This is a pretty fundamental movement, so hopefully your teacher has taught you this by now. If not, ask about it and see if you can’t learn it this week. If you already know it, great! Your challenge is to practice this movement for one whole song this week. If you feel pretty good about it, add the kick every other drop. Typically, the pattern is: hip drop, up, hip-drop-kick, up, hip drop, etc. Make sure you are not leaning backwards. While this is a stylization that is beautiful and traditional (especially in Turkish dance), it can play havoc on your low back if you do not have the proper abdominal strength and technique. So, chest up, head level, back straight! One more thing: keep those toes pointed, and don’t let the foot flop around! Keep the kick controlled. And practice on BOTH sides, even the Tribal ladies!

Intermediate: You probably know this movement really well, so let’s clean it up! Too many dancers bounce when they do this movement. Your head should stay level. In fact, it should stay level enough you can balance a sword on your head and still be able to do the movement! There are a few variations on this move, and it can either be driven by the knees and obliques or by the obliques and glutes. You will need to learn how to do this movement with the obliques and glutes. There is nothing wrong with the knee variation, but it will make it more difficult to keep your head level, and that is what this exercise is about. Belly dance is wonderful in that there are many ways to do one movement! So, find something to prop on your head (a book or something heavy will work if you don’t have a sword or don’t want to use one yet) and practice your hip drop kicks for one full song every day this week. Switch sides, keep the chest up and back straight!

Advanced: Let’s get into some variation! This week, when you practice your basic movements, try adding a lean back into your hip drop kicks. Make sure your abs are strong enough to support the lean (if you can’t do a layout, you probably don’t want to try this). Or, kick from the knee rather than the floor. It will work your balance (for extra points, try this on releve!). Can you kick from the knee and travel forward at the same time (basically inching forward while standing on one leg)? Think of something fun to do with this basic movement and practice it for one song every day this week.

Happy dancing!

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About Kamrah

Kamrah is a belly dancer in Chicago, IL. They started belly dance as an exercise routine but it turned into a passion for dance that has not lessened, even after more than a decade. They have a powerful presence on the stage, and is particularly known for their amazing shimmies. Kamrah is also known as a very versatile belly dancer, and audiences have come to expect the unexpected from them. Performances can be anything from traditional Egyptian, to tribal fusion, to fantasy cosplay (costume play) pieces.

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