Part 4: The Hips

6 Nov

Working Those Hips…

Belly Dance Instruction

Large Hip Circles

Using both the lower and upper body, move the hips from the right to the left. Your upper body should be leaning forward and your arms come down as though you’re scooping up water. As you finish the circle you bring your body and arms up and move them behind you as your hips and pelvic bone move from left to right in front of you.

Small Hip Circles

A much smaller version of the large hip circle, but not as compact as the inner hip circle. It’s useful to imagine you have a small ring around your ankles and you’re following it with your hips.

Inner Hip Circles

Squeezing the gluteus muscles individually and allowing the lower stomach muscles to respond accordingly and then release individually to create a small circular movement. The hips are not moving side to side, the knees should be relaxed and bent.

Outer Hip Circles

Circle the pelvic bone around the feet – left, front, side and back.

Half circle forwards/backwards

Bring the hips from the side, pushing back and round to the other side or forward and round to the other side but stop halfway.

Hip circle on one hip

Stand with the right or left leg bent and on the ball of the foot, while the other food is flat. Rotate the hip using the bent leg by bringing it forward, then up and round, then back to the centre.

Hip Slides

Move the hips from side to side, keeping the upper body in the same position, as though there is a strait line running through the centre of your feet and out beyond hips on both sides.

Hip Bumps

You shift your weight from right to left, pushing your hips out to the side as though you’re pushing a car door shut with your hip. The movement is fast and ‘punchy’. The knees bend as your weight shifts. So, the hip that is bumping will have an almost strait leg, while the other is relaxed and bent.

Hip Lifts

You lift each hip up quickly and control the movement back down

Hip Drops

You start with the hip lifted and drop it quickly and control the movement back up.

Advanced Hip Drops

These involve using the muscle groups in the thighs and buttocks with the minimum movement of the pelvis and thigh.

Egyptian Hip Tilt

This involves further isolation techniques of the hip and is for advanced students only.

Zuhair Zaki Dump

A dump is where the hip is pushed down into the ground without allowing the leg to push the hip upwards at any time. The result is a unique and fascinating movement that was the signature move of the famous Egyptian dancer, Zuhair Zaki. As with the Egyptian Walk, this movement is notoriously difficult to teach and master. It can take years to perfect and requires hours of practice. The basic technique requires the pelvic hip bone to slide down towards the ground, whilst not allowing any lift to the ball and socket part of the hip. There will be a tugging, pulling sensation of the muscles around the waist.

Fifi Abdou Dump

This movement is advanced and complete mastery of the basic dump is needed before you can even begin to get your head around it. It is a complex movement involving three different layers – the dump, the shimmy and the twist. There is also a characteristic double stamp of the foot.

Hip Twists

Bring one hip forward and then move it back, repeating this movement. You can travel with this by stepping forwards, backwards or to the side. As well as going up and down. Keep the rest of the body still.

Hip Shimmy

You move the knees rapidly controlling the movement with your hips, alternatively you can squeeze the gluteus muscles individually. The end result should be a rapid ‘vibration’ of the hips from side to side.

Egyptian or “straight legged” shimmy

This involves keeping the legs straight but not locked. Drive the movement with the thighs, allowing the knees to move freely. The hip is loose and relaxed with no tension in any other part of the body. This shimmy is perhaps one of the easiest to sustain and due to the straight legged nature of the posture allows for ease of layering for undulations and shimmy twists.

Bent legged shimmy

Keep legs close together and bend knees slightly. This shimmy produces a more rolling effect. The knees move freely.


There are two ways to produce shivers – with straight legs or bent knees. The straight legged shiver is more often performed with the body weight on one leg and this supporting leg is the one that shivers. The bent leg shiver produces exquisite tremors which can be layered with figure eights and walking.

Forward Vertical Figure 8

Imagine you have a figure eight laying on the floor at your feet, you bring you right hip forward, go round to the back, across to the other side and bring the left hip forward and round to the back and over to the other side. The movement should be smooth.

Backward Vertical Figure 8

Using the same principles as the forward, but instead you bring your right hip to the back, round to the front and then slide across and back to the other side, bring the left hip round to the front and then back over to the other side to start again.

Upwards Horizontal Figure 8

Imagine you have the figure of eight floating on it’s side in front of your pelvic area. Bring the right hip up, out, round and down then push over and down to the other side and bring the left hip up, out, round and down. You are using the balls of your feet to lift and lower the movement. The movement is accentuated as you come up and down.

Downwards Horizontal Figure 8

You start with the right hip up, bring it out, round and down, slide over and up to the other side. Now you have your left hip up, bring out, round, down and over and up to the other side. The movement is accentuated as you come down and up.

Hip bump and twist

Push your hip out to the right, as though you’re slamming the car door shut shifting all you weight to that side (this is the hip bump) and then twist the right hip forward and back, then sway over to the left and push out (shifting the weight to the other side) and twist forward and back.

Hip drops, lifts and kicks

Move the right foot in front of the left, resting on the ball of the foot, keep the left foot flat. Starting with the hip up, drop it, then lift and as you drop the second time kick out the right foot. Keep repeating the hip lift, hip drop, then hip lift, drop and kick. Make sure you scrape your foot along the floor, as though you have something on the bottom of your foot.

Bicycle Hips

Bring the right hip up, slide it back then down and across to the middle, then slide it up, forward and down then back. You can do this on both sides by alternating.

2 Responses to “Part 4: The Hips”

  1. felecia June 19, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    the articles were great.ive been dancing for a year and alot of this makes sence now!!!!!!! btw how do i find zuhair zaki.

  2. silentraven66 November 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    I really want to dance like this!

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