Blog Archives

The Flutter of the Belly

This is a move that I have been working on for ages and every time I don’t feel that I am making  much progress. Here is some information to help.

The key with the belly flutter is to get relaxed and practice. It is a contraction of the muscles that control breathing and not actually the abdominal muscles. Usually these muscles are referred to as the diaphragm. Strictly speaking the diaphragm is actually a set of involuntary muscles (meaning you can not control them) and the muscles you are using are called the intercostal muscles. These muscles, just like any other group of muscles, needs to be stretched and exercised to be effectively used.

This is a simple E how article on how to do the basic belly flutter. Below that are two videos. The first is a short explanation on flutters and the second goes in a bit more depth.

E How: How to Perform a Belly Dance Flutter

If you are practicing the belly flutter I suggest you start laying down or sitting. Doing this will help you relax you abdominal muscles since you do not need to focus on posture or layering. Also laying down forces your intercostal muscles to work more effectively which can help in isolating and practicing this move. The most important thing about this step is to practice, which I plan on doing as much as possible.

Note: How to stretch you breathing muscles

I learn this one in Drum Corps years back. Stand up straight with you hands clasped over your head. Take a deep breath in and hold it. Take two to three more little sips of air. At this point you should feel full to the brim with air. Now hold the air in and slowly do a side bend stretch. You can do this to each side and if you have enough air, you will be able to stretch the muscles that are used for breathing. I find this is good to do beforehand after practicing the belly flutter. (Warning some times taking in that much air can make you dizzy. Its normal. Just resume breathing regularly and it should pass.)

Good luck.

February is the Month for Zills

This is Nara from Tiger Claw Dance. My New Years resolution this year is to focus on a different skill each month. I want to focus on something that I feel like I really need work on. This is a great thing to do as a dancer (any kind of dancer). We all have things we can work on. So I am going to spend the month of Febuary annoying my neighbors and definitely the people in the apartment below me so that I can work on zills. For anyone following me on twitter last month I focused on shimmies.

Zills are great for all forms of belly dance and they are strongly used in tribal improvisational style. I feel that every belly dancer needs to work on zills. So grab a pair and start practicing.

For the Beginner: Start with the basic triplet alternating hands. This is usually done starting on the right.

1 (right), 2(left), 3(right)

1 (right), 2(left), 3(right)

1 (right), 2(left), 3(right)

1 (right), 2(left), 3(right)

– then switch hands

A little more Advanced: Work on the military and baladi rhythms.

Military – triplet, triplet, 7 alternating singles

Baladi – 1, 2, triplet  5, triplet

The Hard Stuff: Layer, Layer, Layer

Try zills with all of your favorite steps. Than try adding a shimmy.

Let me know if you have questions or comments.