By Sara Shrapnell - partly published in Bramley 365 Magazine


Supercharge your Bellydance :

How do you target weightloss and fitness in class and outside ?

1, Don’t wait for a friend to come with you, it will never happen, go on your own!

2, Practice at home everyday, even if it’s just for 10 minutes

3, Set yourself fitness challenges, park up a level in the car park, walk to the corner shop everyday, do sit ups during the ad breaks – then take note of the improvements you see and feel, but don’t give up if it seems to make no difference.

4, Drop the nasty voices in your head. – Its called “stinkin thinking” and it does no one any good.

5, Put more importance on how you feel and look than what the scales say.

6, Remember the compliments you get and don’t bat them away.

7, Never miss the warm up, and where possible arrive a little early and start warming up yourself.  That’s an extra 5 minutes work already !

8, Once you get your heart rate up keep it there.  When freedancing we often find that travelling or shimmying has got us a little bit “puffed” and there is the temptation to change move – don’t, keep it going for an extra phrase of the music, then do a phrase of something else and return to the hard work move.  Repeat !

9, Use every muscle you can when drilling the basics.  I don’t think dancers ever grow out of the basic moves and should return to the beginners class time and time again.  If you don’t want to pay extra for more classes how about using a review sheet and practicing the basic moves at home regularly ? – but don’t just do 8 or 16 of them, do at least 5 minutes.  Stand infront of the mirror and check every one of them is perfect.  Don’t work at a comfortable tempo, go slow, then slower and then slower still.  Connect with each muscle that is doing the work for you, then see if you can change that focus.  Can you do a figure 8 powered from your upper abs ?, lower ?, pelvic floor, glutes, thighs ?

10, Travel more.  When we practice at home we tend to dance on the spot.  Move the furniture so you have a little T shaped space and drill travelling moves forward and back and side to side.

11, keep your arms up !  be it dancing or just walking around try to keep arms and elbows above shoulders, and shoulders down.

12, Think Posture.  Check out your posture all day every day.  Practice the more alert, advanced posture if you can.

13, Stretch – but only after you are really warm.  If you have been practicing Maya for 5 minutes try to do 8 or 10 really, really big ones.  Have a quick shimmy and then do it again.

14, Repeat.  Run through what we did in class the day after.  This not only helps your fitness and muscle memory but also helps you stay in the moment during class and gives you two classes for the price of one ! Find 45 minutes the day after class and re-do exactly what you did the day before.  You can always email me if you have any questions.

15, Write a choreography.  Pick a favourite piece of music and learn a pattern, combination or choreography to it.  You might like to perform it, or maybe its just for practice, but whichever it’s a good way of repeating your favourite moves over and over again.

16, Find someone to practice with.  Its so much more fun to dance with someone else and you can both encourage the other to try that little bit harder.

17, Have fun !  Don’t let any other aims get in the way of you enjoying your dancing.