As a lesson, take a pencil and paper and draw these drawings for yourself to help obtain a thorough understanding.
A.) Mapping the Internal Realms of the Body
This is the basic map we use in the exercise workout. Visualize this pattern as an overhead view. The curvy shape represents your hips, buttocks and belly facing forward. The numbers of a clock face are included so you can orient and focus. The red inner circle represents a cross section of the core/pole that runs up and down your body. At the point where the lines intersect is your absolute center. Imagine it coming up from the core of the earth into your body and extending out of the top of your head. Imagine it is a magnetic core that your center of balance is continually drawn back to. When you purposely move your hips away to create an isolation pattern, they will return to that basic alignment eventually.
B.) Figure Eight Forward and Backward
This is a figure eight pattern drawn with the hips parallel to the floor (PTF). You will find all sorts of patterns like these taught and demonstrated on on Delilahs Bellydance Workshop Volume #I.
Orient yourself so you know where front and back are. Then note the arrows to the side. They indicate the directional thrust of the drawing for two different exercises.
Exercise 1. The blue line is the forward figure eight. The four tick marks inside the circle represent the diagonal alignment of your hips at the junctions of the farthest twisting position. The torso shape is where you will end up after completing the right side of a forward figure eight. The left side is not colored, however, you are to proceed with your drawing slowly shifting your weight through the center. Imagine you have a pencil in each hip. You are going to draw each loop of the eight with each hip. First work with one hip, then transfer the energy through the inside of your body crossing through the center core into the other hip and draw the other side. Repeat continuously.
Start slow to a cheftitelli rhythm (see music recommendations). Bend your knees and keep your nose, chin and sternum facing center front. Your weight will be on the balls of your feet for a forward eight. You will feel lots of twisting going on in the torso when you articulate this pattern. Note how good it feels and focus on your potential for growing stronger!
Exercise 2. Reverse the direction with your weight more on the heels for a backward eight. Strive to keep your hip down and the drawing parallel to the floor in both these movements.
Note the emotional difference between the forward figure eight and the backward figure eight.
C.) Hip Slide to the Side
In the Absolute Beginning program I give you an exercise of a straight across hip slide to the side. Bend your knees and sit on an imaginary trapeze bar. Slide your buttocks over the bar without lifting at the side. Keep your cheeks on the bar. I use the image of a child's Etch-A-Sketch in that you have two controls you are operating at once. Your hip is going to the side, but you are pushing or drawing it down at the same time to keep it PTF.
Note the core pole line in the drawing. The hips have left that alignment but the sternum, clavicle, chin, feet and knees have not. The only way this can be accomplished is if there is plenty of slack built into the body with the bent knees, the use of the ankles and balls of the feet, and the tuck of the pelvis in basic alignment.
D.) The Wedge Exercise
In this drawing Ive included a hip belt to signify the hips.
This exercise is meant to teach dancers the difference between a hip slide and a hip rotation.
Bend your knees and keep your core alignment intact.
- Begin by rotating your hips up and out toward the rib cage.
- Drop the hip down and out.
- Slide it back in then do the same on the other side.
Repeat slowly and for additional exercises you can add speed and reverse the direction. All are very important.
The benefit to the dancer is an expanding awareness about the intricate mechanisms of her movements range and possibilities and the ability to distinguish between the moves.