Hip circle improvisations

By Ishtar Dance on Tuesday, May, 28th, 2019 in Dance Coaching, Dance Inspiration, Learning, Your Dance Body No Comments

This week I’ve been exploring the humble shifting hip circle – and discovered how difficult it can be to stick to just that move using a percussive rhythm!

Check out my tutorial on how to limit yourself to gain range.

The shifting hip circle is typically one of the first belly dance moves I teach my students, mainly because it requires core and hip control, but also because you can have so much fun with it…

I used the Ciftetelli rhythm – not by choice, but because that’s what came up in my playlist, and it worked rather well.

Check out my one-take improvisations video here.

In it’s basic form the Cifetetelli goes:

D  -T – T, D D T

It’s a 7/8 rhythm, which sometimes can confuse people, but once you get used to it, it lends itself for lots of drama and fabulous pausing.

How well do you know your belly dance rhythms? I used to know them quite well instinctively, but travelling in Egypt and working with live musicians there as well as in Europe, taught me the importance of actually studying the rhythms and knowing them by name, in order to get by a whole lot easier.

It also gives you a great sense of security once you know the rhythms in more depth, although working with a live orchestra you always have to be prepared for everything! Dancing to recorded music is so much easier, but also not quite so rewarding.

The music I use for my Improvisation Station series is from Joelle Barkers Belly Dance Rhythms for Practise and Performance. She’s is a fantastic female drummer based in the UK, and I’m lucky enough have her play and teach a drumming workshop on the JWAAD Understanding Belly Dance Music Course.

I hope you have fun improvising with basic moves too. Just find a track – belly dance music or not – and see what happens if you limit yourself to only dancing with that particular move (most of the time!).

You might just surprise yourself and come up for something amazing and totally new.

Happy dancing 🙂




Did you miss my last post? Read it here:

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