weight loss bellydancing

Belly Dance for Weight Loss: Myth or Reality?

So you are confined, in quarantine or self-isolating at home, or you are doing your best to come back to normal (whatever that means) and you are eating a bit -or a lot- more tan usual. On top of that, you don’t see yourself doing squats with an app. All you need is to stay active and positive.

Keep yourself active bellydancing during the pandemia

weight loss bellydancing

We could argue whether bellydance will help you to stay in shape or not but what is true is that we need to keep our bodies active and our spirits happy.

And with this article I’d like to help you with both.

And by the end of this article you will be belly dancing and training your body with love and care. Deal?

How avoid gaining -too much- weight in the Covid-19 world: Bellydancing!

This is what you’ll find in this article: 

Free access to your first belly dance class

How bellydance can help you during the pandemia

I have already seen loads of offers for us to learn every-single-thing during these times of Covid-19.

I feel like, as an artist, I have something really valuable to share with humanity in this precise moment.

belly dance and self esteem

After all, we humans need some food for our souls, and a scape valve for our emotions in every possible way. This is the alchemy of dance.

  • Beauty
  • Stories
  • Music
  • Movement
  • Free expression
  • Joy

Arabic dance is a really effective way to keep you healthy and strong at every level.

At the minute, there are loads of people with all their life routines upside down, their life on hold, in shock or carrying on as they can.

You are not alone. I am also one of those and I’d like to dance by your side.

But I wouldn’t like for you to have an overload of information. An endless to do list. This situation is unusual and you are probably quite busy just coping with it.

This is why I have divided this article in little sections, so you can always come back to it whenever you want and take it were you left it. Save this article now in your browser, you don’t want to forget where was it!

Arabic dance is not a magic wand but I’m sure it will help you out.

joy of bellydance

If you want to:

  • Connect with your joy
  • Keep your body weight stable
  • Express sadness or anguish
  • Raise your mood
  • Learn something new and different
  • Start one of those instagram challenges
  • o simply stay entertained

Go on, keep on reading.

Before I continue, I’d like to clarify something. I wrote this article because it’s a very common thing amongst women to search ways to “improve” this or that part of our bodies.

It’s very likely that you are here because you’d like to loose weight.

Well, I’d like to tell you that you are perfect as you are. Right. Now.

In my opinion, all marketing around dance or fitness classes, being those, kizomba, aerobic, Belly Dance, bollywood or anything else, should always be centered in the

the joy of dance.

my first steps in bellydance

Due to the current situation, I am teaching a mix of online and offline classes. You can join us even if we don’t live close by.

To book your face to face lesson click here.
To book your online lessons click here.

first steps belly dance

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are enjoying this article, you want to watch the class I’ve prepared for you. Get your free access now. Click here. You’ll love it!

How many calories does belly dance burn?

I will give you the number because I know that’s what you want to get, but please, bear in mind that there’s more to get from belly dance than calorie burn.

In one hour of belly dancing you could burn up to 300 calories.

And now what? What’s the meaning of that? What value does that number have next to the trillion other benefits of belly dancing?

As you will figure out as soon as you start dancing, there are more important things than calories burnt. Getting obsessed with calorie counting could mean missing the rest..

Belly Dance and body shape, will it change?

Belly dance has got the potential to change your body, either if that’s what you are looking for or not.

Belly Dancing you will engage muscles that you don’t usually move, and this has an effect on how your body looks on the outside and how your body feels on the inside.

You can expect your waist to get thinner, your thighs to be stronger, your abs to be more visible and some generalized weight loss.

But all the above does not necessarily have to happen to you. There is only a guaranteed result: bellydancing will bring you all the joy.

happiness chemistry bellydance

And there are also some more nice side effects, just to mention two:

  • Increasing your good mood -serotonin and endorphins included.
  • New friends that will be with you for life.
first steps belly dance

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are enjoying this article, you want to watch the class I’ve prepared for you. Get your free access now. Click here. You’ll love it!

Tone your waist with the Maya

When it comes to target your waist muscles, Maya is the movement that comes to my mind. So if working on your obliques is your objective, here you have my video tutorial.

⚠️ This movement is for intermediate dancers. If you wish to start from the beginning, I recommend you to join my online live classes clicking here.

2 movements for your Abs: Camel and Belly Roll 

The camel and the belly roll movements require a high level of coordination, apart from the use of your abdominal muscles.

The belly roll is focused only on your abs, while the camel also works on your spine muscles.

Here you have the video tutorials:

⚠️ This movement is for intermediate dancers. If you wish to start from the beginning, I recommend you to join my online live classes clicking here.

Shape your butt with the arabesque and hip drop

bellydance to shape your butt

Are you following the last trend and pursuing Kim Kardashian’s butt? Forget about it, because you can only have your own butt!

And you know what? Your bum has got the same use and is as good as hers! I’m not here to encourage anyone to follow any trend.

Jokes aside, what you CAN actually do is to work on your glutes, so they are stronger, toner and as a consequence, healthier.

Just a quick note: I explain this in the video as well anyway, but to get a very effective arabesque, you need to generate the movement from your glutes and not from your lower back. In technical language, I’d encourage you to work on the turn out.

In any case, it’s better done than perfect, and the internet has got its limitations, so here you have the two movements to work out your glutes.

Arabesque:

With a well executed arabesque, you’ll work the gluteus maximus.

Hip Drop:

With the Hip Drop, you will work a bit more on the gluteus minimus and medius, on the sides of your hips. 

Tone your arms and back

We usually underestimate the power of a correct posture, and sometimes good posture is the bes ways to keep your muscles active and toned.

I would like to challenge you to learn the basic posture for arms and hands, and keep it for a while:

And if that is not enough and you would like to get some more artistry, here you have one of the best tricks to move your hands as a pro.

What type of exercise is belly dance?

bellydance endurance exercise

Like swimming, walking or aqua aerobics, belly dance is a mild aerobic exercise (endurance).

bellydance cardio

This means: belly dancing increases your heart rate, activates your blood circulation and speeds up your breath, but there is no need for sudden movements or jumps.

doctors recommend bellydance

Mild cardio training is one of the most recommended by specialists, and it has got a really low risk of injury.

Arabic dance is gentle with your joints and adapts to your fitness level, so, you can dance as a way to start getting fit and you can also dance if you are a complete athlete, because you will always find a challenge for you.

But don’t get this wrong, belly dancing will make you sweat. I end up most of my classes all sweaty, so my students do!. And you can sweat with me in Online Live Classes.

There is no magic wand for weight loss, but belly dance can help

I absolutely refuse to sell you the idea of losing weight just practising belly dance.

If you are here looking for the magic wand, I am sorry, I don’t have it. What you will find in belly dance is even better.

Weight loss is the consequence of a very deep and wide internal process. In this process, dance can play a role – an important role, in fact, but it’s only one of the factors.

embrace yourself bellydancing

As Maricarmen Grisolía from minuevadieta.com says:

“In order to lose weight, what you eat is the main thing, responsible of more than 70% of the result in your process. But our relationship with food and with ourselves, it’s at the end of the day what determines what we eat. This is why dancing, apart from being a physical activity -which is important- can also contribute to your weight loss, helping you feeling better in your body and improving your mood, which will reduce your tendency to eat due to anxiety and stress.”

Your motivation, self-esteem and well being are part of any weight loss attempt, and bellydance could bring you this.

first steps belly dance

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are enjoying this article, you want to watch the class I’ve prepared for you. Get your free access now. Click here. You’ll love it!

Why dancing to lose weight is the worst you can do: my story

My life story is the story of a war against my body. A story that has fed my anxiety, toxic thoughts and low self-esteem. It’s a story of self hate and I’m going to condense it in a few lines for you.

anxiety and bellydancing

I was severely bullied at school between my 7 and my 14th birthday. I grew up without friends thanks to my physical appearance, just because someone decided that my aspect was not appropriate. I was called cow and fat with all the hate, even at my house.

Rolls of fat, big tummy, cellulite, double chin. Everything in my body was disgusting to the people who were supposed to love me.

How the hell could I learnt to love myself if I didn’t even know what love was?

Sadly, love and social inclusion are conditional for many.

Belly dance came to my life to save me from all that when I was 18. I started dancing in a way that felt very natural, it was all easy. I connected with my body on a way that I could have never imagined.

And I started being praised for my dancing. And I started learning to praise and give value to myself for my dancing.

And I am still on my way to love me just because I exist.

And I started giving value to my body for many other things as well: it’s strength, it’s coordination, it’s good memory. And being fat or not was not that important anymore.

The effect that childhood suffering had on me is still living with me, and it will probably live with me for life. But I now have got Ms. Dance to remind me that my value is way superior that a number on a scale.

And belly dance is continuously giving me a way to express everything I have inside which is a lot. A lot.


I have been told many times that I am a source of inspiration. As I also have heard “I don’t have a dancer’s body“.

Not that bad overall.

I reckon that I inspire people as other people inspire me. You probably know Lizzo already, she is one of those inspirational ones.

I have not told you that I reached 100Kg and that I lost 70Kg with other help rather than dance and my own willing. And that nowadays I don’t have any idea on how much I weight, but I don’t care, because my worth -and yours- is a way over that number on the scale.

Our humanity is a way above a number on a scale.

bellydancing humanity

Bellydance has provided me with much more than a beautiful and desirable body. Bellydance has given me self esteem, confidence, friends, creativity, freedom, health and joy. A lot of joy.

And that is what I like to share most. The joy of  belly dancing.

Why did I call my project Dance Pandemic?

First of all you need to know that DancePandemic.com is my original and main project.

This very website and project, Hipsinc.com, was created and kindly passed on to me by the amazing Charlotte Deshorger, who is know focused or her online membership, Undeniables Online, and mentorship, Undeniables Elite along with Aziza from Montreal.

And after this short clarification, let me tell you about the origins of the name DancePandemic.

In Strasbourg, July 1518, a lady named Fray Troffea started dancing and could no stop. At least this is what wikipedia tells us.

A few centuries afterwards, in 2016, I was walking in Camden Town (London) and I found a book which was all about these dancing plague. A time to dance, a time to die, by John Waller.

I am a sarcastic individual and, saving the differences, because what happened in Strasbourg was a tragedy, I felt that I needed to call my project DancePandemic.

I thought a lot about the name. I considered the chance of giving people a negative feeling around my brand, and I was just about using my own name, Zahida Palma, instead.

But in the end, my heart told me what she’s always telling me, that life is a joke and that’s how we have to take it.

I am committed to stay strong and healthy and therefore, be able to help others in their personal trip on this historical moment, and on this crazy live.

In these times, I believe it’s more important than ever to spread a Dance Pandemic.

Would you help me to spread a DANCE pandemic? Join my Online BellyDance Live Classes now.

Access to your first belly dance class for free

your first steps in bellydance

If you have enjoyed this article and you have enjoyed following me in the videos, I’m sure you will be interested in the free full belly dance class I’ve prepared for you.

To get into the class, all you have to do is to fill out the form below – or any of the forms in dance pandemic and confirm your subscription in the email that you will get.

In a few minutes you will get the link to the class. Straight to you inbox.

If you have found this article interesting, I’d like to ask you a favour:

  • Share it! with those friends you know will enjoy, or in your Social Media.
  • Leave a comment! I love a comment and I always reply.
  • Add this page to your browser’s favourites, so you can come back to it whenever you want.

Thank you very much for having chosen Hipsinc.com. I hope to see you soon again!

Start Bellydancing from scratch with my program

Bellydance With The Moon: 29 Days to Start Bellydancing

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Belly Dance: your First Steps [WITH VIDEOS + FREE CLASS]

belly dance history

Puedes leer este artículo en español pinchando aquí.

Either if you are new in belly dancing or you have just started and are getting more and more interested around it: welcome to Hipsinc!

In this article you’ll find a lot of useful information that will help you on your first steps in raqs sharqi and to get a general idea of what belly dance is.

first steps belly dance

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are enjoying this article, you want to watch the class I’ve prepared for you. Get your free access now. Click here. You’ll love it!

This is what you will find here:

What is Belly Dance?

Belly dance is also known as raks sharki or Arabic dance.

Oriental dance history
Belly Dance origins could be in the Ancient Egypt

It is a dance form with a very cryptic and unknown origin. There is little documentary evidence, but we are probably talking about the Ancient Egypt!

It is a dance form gentle with the body. It helps you develop organic movements that you already have in your body.

Nowadays, it’s characteristics are its fluid and wavy movements and the isolation of different parts of your body.

Even though everyone thinks belly dance is a hip centered dance -and they are not wrong!, belly dancers dance with their whole body.

8 Basic steps for belly dance

Below you can find some video tutorials that I’ve been recording in the past years.

To start with, the best bet is the forward and backward step, the side to side hip hits and the figure eight. Here they are:

first steps belly dance

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are enjoying this article, you want to watch the class I’ve prepared for you. Get your free access now. Click here. You’ll love it!

Forward and backward step

Hip hit side to side

Figure Eight

Once you body is a bit warmer, you can carry on with the following steps:

Step touch

Hip drop

Reverse Figure Eight

Basic Chest Lift

And to cool down and wrap up today’s session, you can try to softly moving your arms and hands with elegance:

first steps belly dance

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are enjoying this article, you want to watch the class I’ve prepared for you. Get your free access now. Click here. You’ll love it!

Arms and hands Basic Posture

Basic hand movement

Hand movement

I have put together a youtube playlist including all these videos to make your life easier. You can watch it clicking here.

And hey! If you are going to visit my youtube channel, subscribe!

Fancy a challenge?

Two intermediate/advanced level movements. 

Have you already done all the basic steps?

Well, if you feel like you’d need a bit more of a challenge, I’m sharing with you a couple more of movements. These two new movements are intermediate and advanced level.

You can try to do the Camel and the Egyptian Walk independently of you current dance level, just for fun. I have only one request: please, don’t get frustrated if you don’t manage to do them!

For some people is quite natural and easy to learn certain movements but the usual case is that you will need time and practice.

So here they are:

first steps belly dance

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are enjoying this article, you want to watch the class I’ve prepared for you. Get your free access now. Click here. You’ll love it!

A very brief introduction to belly dance history.

raqs sharqi history

Even though there is no clear evidence, it’s thought that we can find the origin of belly dance in the Ancient Egypt.

There are some toys and dolls from those times that seem to be in dancing mood 🙂

Documented or not, our intuition says a lot about the close relationship between belly dance and fertility, pregnancy, birth and postnatal rituals.

As my friend Aixa Laxmi said in the interview I did to her:

Belly dance archaeology can be found in its movements.

Based on my personal experience, Arabic dance can also help alleviate menstrual cramps. Here is a video I did a while ago about dance and menstruation.

Slave belly dancers history

Since Ancient Egypt times many things have changed, and this dance form has been seen with different prisms.

There is a belief that it was firstly introduced in Al Andalus – what is now the South of Spain- by the slave artists brought in caravans from Orient, in the muslim conquers.

These slave artists used to dance in the palaces of Granada, Córdoba y Sevilla.

gawazi

Beside the slave artists, we also had the Gawazi: nomadic dancers that would also read the future. They also were tattoo artists and practiced circumcision.

Gawazi women would travel from Alexandria to El Cairo and they were exiled Mohammed Ali around 1850.

From then onward, belly dance decayed, until 1920-1930. Then, some dancers started to be featured in big Egyptian productions as well as having their own shows, venues -cabarets.

This period is known as the Golden Era, and goes mostly in between 1920/30 and 1970.

During the Golden Era, belly dance was massively adopted in Occident. It was also marketed and profited, as Occident does with everything.

my first steps in belly dance

A little bit later, thanks to the internet and the globalization, belly dance was spread in the whole world. Many schools and signature styles all over the world have been created.

In 2001, the Colombian singer Shakira launched her single “Eyes Like Yours” where she introduced a bit of belly dancing and some touches of Arabic music

This was a very successful single and video clip and encouraged millions women to start practicing belly dance.

I didn’t start dancing because of Shakira, but I did start more or less on the same period. I can consider myself one of those millions. I will share my personal story with dance in another article very soon. 

Are there different styles in belly dance?

You might have heard about different belly dance styles or not, depending on where you are based or the information that your teacher has shared with you.

We could tell that nowadays belly dance is divided in different styles like the following:

belly dance styles
  • Egyptian
  • Turkish
  • Lebanese
  • American
  • Argentinian
  • Russian
  • Tribal
  • Tribal fusion

The basic movements and steps on most of the styles are the same.

Differences can be found more in things like acrobatics, giving more importance to particular parts of the body, the choice of music and the customes.

To avoid having and endless blog post, I am working on a separate article talking about the different styles. If you don’t want to miss it out, subscribe to my newsletter here. You’ll get the article straight in your inbox as soon as it’s freshly finished.

Music for belly dancers

belly dance music

Belly dance music is very vast. It’s the kind of topic you could write a whole library about and you would still have a lot more to share.

belly dance instruments

There are many different instruments, artists and classifications for Arabic music (origin, use, rhythms, melodies, used instruments, etc).

belly dance music

But in my opinion, beyond any analysis or descriptions, the most important thing is always to listen to music and to feel what you like most. I’ll write another article on belly dance music soon.

Here you can listen this spotify playlist I made with some of my favorite artists.

Where can I learn how to belly dance?

After Shakira and her Eyes Like Yours single back in 2001, we saw a quick grow on places to learn belly dance.

I’ve already been teaching women of all kinds and backgrounds for almost 20 years.

Here you can find all the information about my regular classes in Central Croydon, London.

I’ve been lucky enough to teach in dance schools, therapy groups, cultural centers, gyms, associations…

At the moment you can learn with me for free in my youtube channel.

I also offer classes in my online school, which is still young and constantly growing (I have BIG plans for it!)

And if you prefer to enjoy the perks of a face to face class

Here you can find all the info about my regular classes in Central Croydon.

How to find your perfect belly dance teacher?

Due to a lack of regulation and to the quick expansion of belly dancing in Occident there are a lot of under qualified teachers.

This could be a problem, but every cloud…

I wrote an article a while ago on How to find you perfect belly dance teacher. I’m currently translating it into English (it was originally written in Spanish).

Subscribe to my newsletter and get it straight in your inbox as soon as it’s ready.

Benefits of belly dance

Not long ago I asked my students what benefits they felt coming to class and why did they choose belly dancing.

I had a big range of answers -we all are different, but most of them could be summed in the following:

  • In class they get rid of the stress and they improve their general well being.
  • They feel happier, like in a cloud.
  • They have fun, laugh and socialize.

One of them told me that back in the day she was looking for a dance class for adults and not needing a partner. She found belly dance, and she couldn’t be happier!

Along with all the benefits that come with exercise in general, belly dance specifically brings:

  • Strengthen your pelvic floor
  • Alleviate menstrual cramps
  • It’s an amazing way to express your emotions
  • Improves your flexibility
  • Prevents osteoporosis
  • Improve your strength
  • Improve your coordination

From my own personal experience and knowledge I could tell you 8 million more benefits but, what for?.

bellydance classes croydon

Come to try a class so you can tell me! 🙂

Access for free to your very first belly dance lesson

If you have enjoyed this article and you have enjoyed following me in the videos, I’m sure you will be interested in the free full belly dance class I’ve prepared for you.

To get into the class, all you have to do is to fill out the form below – or any of the forms in dance pandemic and confirm your subscription in the email that you will get.

In a few minutes you will get the link to the class. Straight to you inbox.

first steps belly dance

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you are enjoying this article, you want to watch the class I’ve prepared for you. Get your free access now. Click here. You’ll love it!

And if you wish to keep on learning belly dance, you can find me teaching in Central Croydon classes every Tuesday at 6pm.

You can also learn from me at my Online School and in my youtube channel.

Would you do me a favour?

If you have found this article useful, I’d like to ask you 3 things:

  • Share the article with those one you think will enjoy it, and in your social media.
  • Leave a comment below, they always make me very happy. I promise I’ll reply to every single one of them.
  • Add this article to the favourites in your browser. That way you can always come back to it. You don’t want to risk forgetting where you found it, do you?

Thank you very much for having spent some time here. I hope to see you soon!

Icons made by Vitaly Gorbachev and Freepik from www.flaticon.com