Shimmy yourself thin with Belly Dancing books, videos and live classes!
There are many ways out there to get fit and have a blast while doing so (not to mention learning
new skills in the process). One of my favorites is Belly Dancing. I actually got into Belly Dancing a while back, myself, and took lessons on and off for years. I had the privilege of teaching a Belly Dance Fitness class at a local gym for a couple years as well. Even though I don't regularly do it anymore, myself (at least, not yet), I always encourage people to try something new. You may discover a new love and passion in something that you never knew existed! I wanted to take some time to introduce you to some of my favorite home videos for Belly Dance fitness, as well as books and even some live classes you can attend!
Back when I was creating my classes at the gym I taught at, I liked to
have books on hand. No matter how much you do something, there are
going to be aspects of it that you may forget about. I found both of
these books useful... however, you may need to already know a little bit
about belly dancing to really get the breakdowns of the moves that are
reviewed in the books.
The Ultimate Dance Workout That Unleashes Your Creative Spirit
by: Tamalyn Dallal, Dallal, Denise Marino
This book is a little more classical in style. I consider it more
of a technique study book than one that will tell you how to structure
the moves for fitness purposes... it's still great for learning,
The Sexy Art That Tones Your Abs, Butt and Thighs
by: Rania Androniki Bossonis
This book appears to be out of print, but that doesn't mean you
won't be able to find it. It's actually my favorite of the two, and
that's mainly because Rania is also a certified fitness instructor, so
she knows how to sequence the moves really well for getting a great
workout from the dance.
There are sooooooo many DVDs out there for Belly Dancing that it would
be impossible to fit them all in this blog. So, I'm just going to
highlight a few of my favorites!
This is the same Rania who wrote one of the books I mentioned above.
Out of all of the Belly Dance videos I have tried, hers are my
favorite. She structures the dances in a way that work best for fitness
purposes. My favorite video of hers, for fitness purposes, is called My
Personal Trainer: Bellydance Fitness with Rania. I love
this video because it features segments and allows you to build your own
workout based on what muscle groups you want to work and how long you
want to workout. It also has suggested segmenting in case you don't
really know what you want to do. The video does move fast, however, so
you may want to start with one of her technique videos, just so that you
can learn the basics of Belly Dance. If you search for "Rania
Bellydance" on any retail site (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.) you
will get so many videos popping up in your search that you won't know
where to start! She has something for just about everyone and at every
level you could imagine. She is my favorite when it comes to video
The first video I ever got was actually Instructional
Bellydance with Jillina, Level 1. Jillina is one of the
Bellydance Superstars and her instructional series of videos are great.
They teach you the basic moves and you gradually build your way into a
full dance. The end of the video features a performance of her doing
the dance that you learned on the video. She is another instructor with
many videos out there, though, so check them all out to see which one
will serve your purposes :-)
Rachel Brice is my favorite when it comes to the Tribal Fusion style of
Belly Dance. The video I started with of hers was Tribal
Fusion: Yoga, Isolations, and Drills. Rachel is really
great at breaking down the isolation drills with Bellydance. So, if you
want some really good step by step and muscle by muscle instruction in
video form, she is amazing. She also has many videos out... you can
search her or search "Tribal Fusion."
Those are a few of my favorites when it comes to instructional and
fitness video series for Belly Dancing. Be sure to check out all of the
videos available from the Bellydance Superstars and the various members
of that group (Rania, Jillina and Rachel are all members) for even more
great instructional and performance videos. You can find more at www.bellydancesuperstars.com!
I'd also like to give an honorable mention shout out to the videos put
out by Neena & Veena as well as Hemalayaa.
On a final note on DVDs... the series of videos titled BellyDance
(by STRATOSTREAM)... I'm not the biggest fan of those. I've tried
numerous ones, and they just didn't do it for me, personally. That is
my opinion on those. There are tons of them out there, each with a
different sub-heading on them.
There are lots of studios throughout Chicago that offer Belly Dance.
Here are my two main suggestions regarding those (but there are plenty
more great studios and instructors out there, so don't limit your search
to just my suggestions... do a little more searching, yourself, too!):
I have, personally, not taken classes at this studio, but my friend has
and she raved about them! I went to their student showcase and totally
loved it! Not only did the students learn some great, beautiful and fun
skills... but they then got to present those skills to family and
friends. The studio offers a wide variety of classes and has top notch
and award winning instructors. Check them out!
World Dance and Fitness Chicago
This studio is new, and is actually having an open house this coming
Sunday from 4-8pm (check them out for free class demos, performances,
and goodies... plus a costume swap!). I have not been to this studio,
obviously, but I have taken classes with one of the instructors at this
studio, Alexandria. She is one of my favorite teachers in the Chicago
area, which is why I recommend this studio without even having gone to
it, yet. I know that the classes will be top notch, both from
Alexandria and all of the other instructors there. They even have class
offerings specifically designed for using Belly Dance for fitness
purposes. Right on!
For more information on the studio as well as the open house, be sure to
check out their website!