Stretching for Belly Dance

You'll find lots of advice on how to stretch for dancers, BUT most of them focus on the legs.  Belly dancers don't need to high-kick or do the splits, so while leg flexibility is always good, those stretches are not as useful as they might be.  What bellydancers need most is upper body flexibility - a fluid spine, sinuous hips and swan-like arms.  So what stretches will help to achieve those?  This video is a good start.

 

The next question, of course, is when to stretch. I'm still seeing too many belly dancers (especially in Tribal styles) starting class with stretches. WRONG!   For many sports, the experts advise against stretching at all before a workout, because there's so much risk of injury and so little benefit.  For dancers, stretching can be beneficial, but you need to do a dynamic warm-up first.    Don't believe me?  Read what Mahin has to say about stretching and Kashmir's take on the subject. There is a whole library of advice out there for ballet dancers too, here are just a few:

Is it Okay to Stretch Before Dance Class? - Dance Advantage

Safe Dance Warm-up - The Ballet Blog

Stretching vs Warming-up for Dancers - Ballet Strength

Stretching Truths - Dance Magazine Australia

Mahin's bellydance stretch playlist on Youtube is a good choice if you want a good stretch workout.

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