Oh how I love a good hip drop: one of the most versatile of belly dance moves, and although percussive and strong, it can also be gentle and soft.
As part of my ‘Improvisation Station’ this post is looking at the humble hip drop and how to improvise with it.
Check out my previous post on how to get started with improvising if this is new to you (or even if it isn’t, because this is one of the most effective exercises and drills I think I’ve ever shared outside my dance programs). Read my essential improvisations tip here.
So what can you do with the humble hip drop? Action speaks louder than words, so check out my hip drop improvisations video here. I apologies beforehand for any blurriness, which seems inevitable whenever I film these. I promised myself it would be a one-take wonder – and it is! I didn’t even know which track would play next, as I set my player on shuffle, but it ended up being the Zaffa Rhythm, which is such a strong and iconic Egyptian rhythm and as it turns out – perfect for hip drops.
The Zaffa is a wedding march with four beats to the bar. Here’s an ‘easy readable’ break down of the rhythm:
Dum Tak-Ka Tak Tak Dum Tak Tak
It’s traditionally used for wedding processions, where the belly dancer will lead the bride and groom to their new home – or in modern traditions – to their chairs at the party… You can find out more about the Zaffa rhythm and it’s historic and cultural heritage at the next Understanding Music used in Belly Dance course in London.
Looking back at the video these are some of my favourite moves:
Chonks travelling down and up
Saidi style hip drops with the use of knee lift and foot swing
Small hip drop accent done with the foot to the side
What are your favourite hip drop combinations? I’m talking about your own personal ones now… Have a go and improvise to see what happens. You may just surprise yourself and find a few new hip drop uses that you didn’t know you had under your belt.
Don’t forget to share your progress in the comments below. How do you usually improvise? Do you stick to a set rhythm or stick on a song you love? Do you only do it when you need to choreograph, or do you also do it just for fun to see what happens? Let me know so we can keep the knowledge sharing going.
Happy dancing always 😉
Did you miss my last post? Read it here: Guide to belly dance rhythms