Whether you enjoy cabaret, tribal, or fusion style belly dancing you probably stretch after every time you dance. However, many dancers can slip into the same old routine without paying much heed as to why they're stretching in the first place. Targeting the right muscles while stretching can greatly improve your range of motion, and help you to get the most out of your dance lessons.
It's Not All About The Belly
In belly dance while the focus may be on your abdomen, your feet are responsible for many of your larger movements. Your feet and ankles are the foundations of your movements. If the muscles in your feet and ankles are tight, you may suffer from stability issues and your dance may appear stiff or shaky. If your muscles are too tight in your feet, it may take you longer to learn new moves at your lessons.
Thankfully, stretching your arch and ankles isn't too hard. You can stretch your arch by standing and placing the bottom of the foot you want to stretch against a wall. Your other foot should be about a step back to stabilize you. Apply your weight to the foot that is against the wall until you feel a gentle stretch. You'll want to hold this stretch for about thirty seconds and repeat for your other side.
Ace Your Snake Arms
If your snake arms aren't as fluid as you like, your shoulders may be to blame. Many people carry tension in their shoulders, which can tighten your muscles and limit your range of motion. Snake arms are pretty much a staple in most dance classes, so it's important to keep your shoulders and chest loose. Performing a doorway stretch can loosen your chest and shoulder muscles and improve your snake arms.
To perform the stretch, simply place your forearms on both sides of an open doorway and press your weight toward the opening in the doorway. If you're performing it correctly you should feel a gentle stretch through your chest and shoulders.
Look To Your Instructor
If your movements don't look as graceful as you'd like, ask your belly dance instructor for help. An instructor will help you to direct your stretches and help you to correct your movements. Not every dancer will suffer from the same set of tight muscles that limit their mobility. Your instructor will help to target the muscle groups that limit specific movements. Not only will stretching make you less tender after a shimmy session, but you'll develop a range of motion that will help you master your belly dance lessons in no time at all.