Welcome to Bellycise

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Anyone who fancies giving belly dancing a go, I can thoroughly recommend either Ali’s regular classes or, if you’re a little nervous, having a private lesson. It’s great fun as well as being a good workout, with cardio and toning benefits. “.   Jo, Rickinghall.

Welcome to Bellycise!   My name is Alison and I have been belly dancing for over 20 years and teaching for over 15 years. I embrace all styles of belly dance and also enjoy fusing it with bollywood, latin, cabaret, ballet – I love all dance.  In addition I have been a practicioner of yoga for over 20 years, and recently have started to absorb Qi gong into my teachings too.  All that I know and learn is expressed in my classes.

My contact details:  mail@bellycise.com

or  07902 081607

Bellycise is about exercise through Belly Dance, Bollywood and Cabaret techniques. Classes are open to beginners and experienced belly dancers alike. The emphasis is on fun and being natural. Come simply for fitness or come to learn a wonderful new skill that you can perfect through workshops and performance opportunities.

Why try belly dancing?

* Any woman of any shape, size or fitness level can achieve great results

What makes bellydance such a good workout is that it uses all parts of the body; from hands,to waist, spine, thighs and arms.

* It also helps develop and tone the pelvic floor muscles which is of great importance to all women.
* And of course it is sensual, sexy and great fun. No matter what size or shape you are it is a dance made for all women.

 

Health Benefits of Belly Dancing

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Fantastic muscle tone including muscles you didnt know you had. Strong core muscles ie your back, stomach, waist and pelvic floor. Increased flexibility. These are three very good reasons to consider belly dance as a healthy form of exercise. And there are so many more reasons too.

Of course like most kinds of dance you use every part of the body so it tones you and burns calories. So if you have some areas of your body that need work on, and are considering dance, try belly dance! It is especially beneficial for women as the whole dance has been developed around the female form and so every sensual move will tone all those difficult and complex muscles that the gym cannot.

Core Muscles

Belly dance is based around the core muscles and so is beneficial not just for the stomach area , waist and pelvic floor but also your back. I have heard from both physiotherapists and chiropractors that they encourage patients with many back conditions to try belly dance. Of course if you do have some back problems you do need to seek medical advice before trying out belly dance.

The joy of belly dancing is that because it is made for the female body many moves are instinctive and to a certain level all women are great belly dancers, we are naturally good at it. Because so many moves involve hips you fine tune muscles around the waist , stomach and back in ways you never believed possible. It will also encourage better posture which in turn will prevent back problems.

Low Impact

Another advantage belly dance has over some other dance forms is that it is unusually low impact. Rather than using lots of steps and moving your feet a lot, it is actually about moving different parts of the body instead, isolating your hips, ribcage, stomach, arms and hands. You could even belly dance on the spot! Of course if you are able to add travelling moves you will burn more calories, but if that is not your concern you could quite comfortably belly dance in a small front room or single spot on the dance floor.

Mental Health Benefits

The wonderful thing about any dance form is that you work with music. And dancing to music that you love is one of the most uplifting and energising ways of de-stressing. You may think: ‘but Im not sure that I even like ‘belly dance music’ , but that is not an issue as you can pretty much belly dance to any kind of music: if its music you love then you will be able to dance your best.

However its not just the simple joy of music that makes you feel good, its the sharing it with other women that can be very healing to some ladies. I know the classes that I teach have helped women with all kinds of grief to deal with simply because its a chance to let go in a sympathetic and happy environment.

The other main mental health benefit is that it is great for your self esteem. You learn to relish all your wobbly bits – or lack of – and realise just how great a dancer you can be. You basically get in touch with your feminine core .

So why not find the nearest class to you and have a go?

Bellycise Classes resume – outside!

The first face-to-face class of 2021 was the Occold Over 50’s class this April- the wonderful ladies put up with cold and rain and helped make our first class of the year a real pleasure. More classes to be held outside until indoor ones resume on May 20th onwards – yipee!

Tips for Choreography

Bellycise Dance Troupe performing at a charity show.

I have been writing choreography and performing for over 15 years. It definitely gets easier with practice. The best bit of writing a solo is the sense of freedom and being able to express your personality. Duets are lovely when you are attuned and well-matched, and group dances are the best for that feeling of team work and sisterhood.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started on writing that solo, duet or group dance.

Music

  1. Try choosing something that you love and have to dance to as soon as you hear it – ideas should then flow naturally.
  2. Find a piece which your audience can enjoy listening to as well – nothing too obscure or repetitive. Powerful pieces that raise goose pimples or catchy pop tunes which are upbeat are always good choices.
  3. For your first piece, it might be a good idea to choose a shorter track to get started on: no more than 3 or 4 minutes. Also a pop tune is much easier to write for than a complex percussion number.

Getting Started

  1. Before you start writing anything down, listen to the entire track and both visualise moves and experiment in a lighthearted way – certain bits will stand out, that you instinctively create moves for, and mess around with trickier bits. It will really help get it started.
  2. As you start nailing bits of choreography, write a note of the time code ( ie, 1’15 Chorus) so that you don’t have to constantly go back to the beginning.
  3. If you can, set time aside when you will have no interruptions (including notifications from your phone!) as once the creative flow begins it can be really frustrating to have your thought process broken.
  4. Try not to get worried or frustrated that you just cant seem to choreograph. Ignore the tricky bits and just write for the sections that come more easily. Its amazing how often things slot into place when you next work on it.

5. There is nothing wrong about copying great ideas from other dancers. If you are stuck for ideas, browse free material like youtube for inspiration. Once you start dancing it, you make it your own.

6. Watching yourself. I personally like to rough through the choreography first, dancing through instinct, then when I feel I’ve got some moves down its nice to polish them by looking in a mirror or watching back a recording. Im surprised how often a ‘boring’ move looks actually quite impressive, or how unimaginative my arm positions are.

7. Its good to ‘perform’ to the mirror or recording device so that you are accustomed to smiling naturally at the same time as dancing the routine. So often people think they are smiling when actually their faces are serious with concentration.

8. Don’t think you have to include a massive variety of moves in your routine. If the moves go well with the music and you are able to perform them well, then that will make a much more enjoyable performance for you and your audience, than if it is difficult and contrived.

9. Try to include plenty of travelling moves. The audience like a good look at you, it makes the dance more dynamic and can be adapted to the performing space. If you have a limited space, then use travelling moves with tiny steps and travel round on the spot more. If you have a larger space then go for it! Include some showy turns if you can.

10. I personally like to use the ‘travelling’ bits as a bit of improvisation, so that you can easily adapt according to the venue space available. It also looks more natural. Its nice to really smile and make eye contact with your audience when you travel. I call it the ‘meet and greet’.

Writing with others

Quite a tricky one! Firstly its hard to find the opportunity to work on it all together and secondly there is often a conflict of ideas. What I recommend:

For duets. When the music has been chosen, divide it into sections. Perhaps open the dance together then take turns to peform certain sections as solos, giving each other the opportunity to use their own style and taste, and unite for other sections. Duets are also a great opportunity to experiment with mirror moves or contrasts.

For group dances. Best to nominate one or two people with the most experience and skill to co ordinate and finalize moves, but with a democratic imput from others; its important that the moves are accesible to all participants so that everyone can perform well, rather than a few look good. Again its nice to divide the music into sections and have different people work on their own little solos/duets. Groups can also experiment with formations or have different choreographies being performed simulataneously before reuniting in a group choreography.

Good Luck!

Sofa Workouts for Mixed Mobility

Bellycise is delighted to announce the start of ‘Sofa Workouts for Everyone’ . All these workouts are based on sitting or lying on a sofa or bed, in order to bring fitness to those whose medical conditions prevent them from participating in standard fitness classes. These cover a variety of techniques: Yoga, Qigong, Belly Dance and Bollywood. Belly dance and yoga techniques bring strength and tone to core muscles, qi gong brings relaxation and stretching, and the dance brings cardio and laughter!

These are currently available as free online videos: click on the following links to have a look:

 https://youtu.be/A4km1rSf4zQ

Belly Bolly Yoga!

Woohoo! A new type of class comes to Stowmarket: Belly Bolly Yoga. These are going to run once or twice a month at Hillside Community Centre, Stowmarket on Monday evenings, 7.30 till 9pm. They will include all the elements that Bellycisers love: Belly Dance for toning, Bollywood for cardio and ending in delicious yoga stretches. And probably some elements of Qigong and Cabaret too. Where else can you find a class that gives you all that? A full head-to-toe work out for mind and body combined. Yum. To find out what Mondays the class run, see http://bellycise.com/classes-and-workshops

Mums and Tums new class

Alison having fun belly dancing whilst very pregnant!

Bellycise is introducing a class especially for new mums and pregnant mums in their 2nd and 3rd trimester. The class will use gentle belly dance moves for toning and strengthening the abdominals, back, pelvis and thighs. The class will also introduce some yoga stretches and some soothing qi gong movements to calm the mind.

The classes can be booked by groups and organisations, for a cost of £60 per 45 minute session within the Diss to Stowmarket area.

Why is belly dance so good for pregnancy and after birth?

  • Strengthening pelvic and deep abdominal muscles and all those muscles specifically used for giving birth, thus facilitating the process of delivering and of recovery.
  • Relaxing the body.
  • Improving self-esteem.
  • Promote good posture.
  • Help maintain general fitness.
  • Help maintain a good sense of balance.
  • Relieve backache.

Read about Steph McGovern and why she swears by the benefits of belly dance during pregnancy:

https://www.hellomagazine.com/healthandbeauty/health-and-fitness/2020013083993/steph-mcgovern-belly-dancing-while-pregnant-with-baby/

To read more about the benefits of belly dance in pregnancy, read this blog:

Algerian Rai Workshop

Cheb Mami, Algerian Rai singer

This weekend at Hillside Community Centre, Stowmarket, I shall be holding a relaxed and party-inspired workshop looking at the youth-driven musical movement in Algeria called ‘Rai’. It combines traditional bedouin music with contemporary music trends which can include jazz, pop ad hip hop. The lyrics are normally sung in both french and arabic and can be crude and down to earth. This has lead to issues with Islamic fundamentalists. Our routine will have a basis of some recognisable belly dance fused with a bit of hip hop style to a popular song by a rai master, Cheb Mami ( pictured above). Come and try it out! Saturday 19th October, 10.30 – 12, £10.

Slow and Graceful Workshop

So this is a challenging but delicious workshop that requires good core control and some self-expression as the music is very fluid. A great opportunity to focus on technique as many moves are done as slowly as possible so suitable for beginners and experienced alike. This Saturday 5th October at Hillside Community Centre, Stowmarket. 10.30 till 12. £10 Look forward to seeing you there!

New classes for the over 50’s coming to Stowmarket

a5 flyer over 50s

Alison will be starting a BRAND NEW class at Hillside Community Centre, Stowmarket.

It is ‘BELLYTONE’ for the over 50’s, a gentler style class for the over 50’s using belly dance techniques.

This class is ideal for the more mature lady who wants to tone stomach and back but is daunted by a general fitness class of mixed abilities and age.

Why belly dance?

  • Because it is amazing for toning all the body, especially stomach and spine
  • It is naturally low impact, so safe for joints
  • As an instinctive, feminine dance, belly dance is accessible for all abilities and ages
  • It is a friendly and fun way to get fit

When?

This great new class will begin September 11th 2018

Tuesdays

10am – 11am

Hillside Community Centre, Stowmarket, IP14 2BD.

 

And don’t forget, there is also the successful over 50’s class at Occold Village Hall, IP23 7PL

Thursdays

10am – 11am

All newcomers welcome, first class free!

Belly Bolly Boogie

Bellycise presents…..

BELLY BOLLY BOOGIE!

A unique night out:  A disco that combines belly dancing, bollywood and western pop music. The evening opens with demonstrations and taster sessions, followed by a good old-fashioned style boogie to a fantastic playlist. The event takes place at:

Bacton Village Hall, nr Stowmarket, Suffolk

Friday 5th May

19.30 – 22.30

£5 entrance

Bring a plate to share and your own alcohol.

Second hand costumes available for sale.

Non- Bellycisers also welcome.

 

Bellycise Disco