Core Movements of Belly Dancing




In this artice, you will learn about core movements of belly Dancing. Following are the core movement that make up Modern & Classical Belly Dance, grouped according to the shape you are drawing with your body, and then sub-grouped according to the body part used to draw that shape.


Following are two core Movement that create Belly Dance:


  1. Drops and Lifts
  2. Slides


Drop & Lift Movements


On Lower Body


Basic Hip Drops & Lifts


  • Stand in Basic normal Pose.
  • Bend your knee to drop the hip, then straighten the knee to lift the hip.
  • Always lift before a drop and drop before a lift to highlight the movement.
  • Always keep the knees released, never lock the knee while straightening.
  • Activate your thigh muscles to either pull the hip down, or push it up. So the movement naturally comes from the knee and the thigh muscle/hip.


Classical Hip Drop


  • Weight in supporting leg, knees soft, right foot forward on ball of foot (Toe position). Stay centered, don’t lean back.
  • In this case lift your right hip, slightly upwards.
  • Drop right hip downward in a strong accentuate move.
  • Upper body stays steady.
  • A big deep-seated drop on the count of 1 & 3 which is followed by a lighter “half drop” on the count of 2 & 4.
  • Like brushing the sand off the carpet kick, working foot softly on the half drops on the 2 & 4 counts.



Classical Hip Lift



It is the opposite of the Drop, less grounded and more energetic. Lift the working hip upward and slightly forward in a strong accentuated move. Operate your hip and the outside of your thigh to give the movement oomph. And, as stated above, drop slightly first before you lift.



On the Mid Body

Chest Drops and Chest Lifts


A small but effective thrust of the rib cage with an accent either downwards or upwards. Remember, to go down you must first go up and vice versa. Imagine a string attached to your spine in the center of your chest. Visualize a puppeteer pulling this string upwards on a 45 degree angle. Produce the movement from the inside of your body and you will have a much more juicy and beautiful movement.


On the Upper Body

Shoulder Drops


The only way is to bring your shoulders up together, then let both go. Careful not to draw and shrug your shoulders forward and up to your ears which locks your upper back and your energy flow. Fast Shoulder Drops look great while shifting weight on legs and swaying your body from side-to-side.



The Slides Family of Movements

On the Lower Body

Hip Slide



  • Take Basic Pose with feet under hips etc.
  • Shift your weight from one leg to another, straightening supporting knee and freeing the other.
  • Get into the flow of this and then slide your hip out, to side as weight transfers into that foot, then back in connecting to your center, so on.
  • Visualize you have your arms full of groceries and you push the car door shut with your hip!




  • Isolated, small.
  • Larger, more assertive, more thrusting to the side.


On the Mid Body

Chest Slide


  • Visualize a string attached to your spine behind your heart.
  • A puppeteer pulls that string to the right, your rib cage moves to the side, independently from your hips and shoulders.



On the Upper Body

Head Slide

While facing ahead, keep your neck as horizontal as possible and use the muscles behind it to slide your head to the right, then to the left. Move when framed with your hands crossing above the head or crossing in front of your face. This movement needs to be very small to be effective, so do not strain yourself. This move takes time to master as it is difficult.



The other core movements of belly dancing are as follows:

  • Shimmy
  • Twists
  • Circles
  • Figure 8’s
  • Undulations







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