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  1. #11
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Think about it this way: you might be having a hard time now, but if you keep lifting your heels you will never develop the range of motion in your hips. Just keep practicing and eventually it'll come. When it does, you will always have the option to do the move with heels on the ground or not.

    It helps to bend the knees a bit further when you are first learning these moves. The more bent the knees are, the more range of motion you have on your hips. With that said, I personally don't like the aesthetic of very bent knees. My default posture has my knees only *softly* bent, it's so subtle I don't "lose" any height. Aside from tribal, a good portion of BD styles these days have this sort of posture. So check your teacher's default posture and your preferred default posture. If it's like mine, you will want to watch the way you do these movements so that once you start developing more range of motion, you can stop bending the knees as much. If it's a more bent posture, then you should be okay to continue doing them with the knees more bent.

    BTW, your height has nothing to do with your ability or inability to perform a movement with your heels on the ground. Height can affect a lot of things when it comes to dance, but not this.

  2. #12
    Member AndreaSTL's Avatar
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    Devil's advocate here: I have to respectfully disagree that it's a requirement that your heels not leave the ground. I think it depends on what style you're doing. When I watch Egyptian dancers I see them using their skeletons to create movements and not just their muscles.
    nagwa fouad belly dancer - YouTube
    Soheir Zaki in 'Hello, I'm the Cat' (1) - YouTube
    Randa Kamel Egyptian Belly dance Balady and Drum Solo! - YouTube

    I was taught to keep my heels down, and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I certainly don't sweat it either way. I realize that every instructor requires different things, though, so when you are in her class you should make the effort to use her method.

  3. #13
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreaSTL View Post
    Devil's advocate here: I have to respectfully disagree that it's a requirement that your heels not leave the ground. I think it depends on what style you're doing. When I watch Egyptian dancers I see them using their skeletons to create movements and not just their muscles.
    nagwa fouad belly dancer - YouTube
    Soheir Zaki in 'Hello, I'm the Cat' (1) - YouTube
    Randa Kamel Egyptian Belly dance Balady and Drum Solo! - YouTube

    I was taught to keep my heels down, and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I certainly don't sweat it either way. I realize that every instructor requires different things, though, so when you are in her class you should make the effort to use her method.
    If you learn the movement while keeping the heels down, you can do it with the heels down and if you want to lift the heels that is an option you can use as well. If you learn the movement by lifting the heels as a crutch, you will never be able to do it with the heels down if you so wish. So there is more versatility to learning it while keeping the heels on the ground, with the added bonus of gaining range of motion you otherwise wouldn't gain, which will help with other movements.

    It's absolutely a stylistic choice you can make, whether to keep the heels down or not when doing these movements. But it's preferable to lift the heels because you are consciously making that stylistic choice rather than lift them because you need to lift them to create the movement, because you do not have that range of motion in your hips.

    Also, I understand what you mean by your statement of skeletal vs. muscular movement, but I'm hoping nobody takes these statements literally. There is no such thing as skeletal movement in the literal sense. All movement is muscular. Bones can not move on their own.

  4. #14
    Member AndreaSTL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    ... it's preferable to lift the heels because you are consciously making that stylistic choice rather than lift them because you need to lift them to create the movement...
    Agreed. It's always better to have multiple weapons in your arsenal.


    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    Also, I understand what you mean by your statement of skeletal vs. muscular movement, but I'm hoping nobody takes these statements literally. There is no such thing as skeletal movement in the literal sense. All movement is muscular. Bones can not move on their own.
    I never meant it to be taken literally - otherwise we would look like this when we dance (around 2:45). silly symphony - the skeleton dance 1929 disney short - YouTube

  5. #15
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreaSTL View Post
    Agreed. It's always better to have multiple weapons in your arsenal.



    I never meant it to be taken literally - otherwise we would look like this when we dance (around 2:45). silly symphony - the skeleton dance 1929 disney short - YouTube
    LOL!

    I figured you hadn't meant it that way, and I completely understand the usage of those terms, but I've seen some people get confused by it and interpret it literally, so when I use it it's always with a disclaimer. Some movements require more visible muscle engagement than others, but no movement is truly skeletal.

    Love the skeleton dance!

  6. #16
    Senior Member nightdancer's Avatar
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    Also, try lifting your toes. It forces you to keep your weight in your heels, so to keep them on the ground.

    Another drill that will force you to isolate the abs is to lift your foot completely off the ground. It can be done.

  7. #17
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    I was always taught that lifting the heels during Maya, or downward figure 8 of the hips, is Egyptian styling, and that leaving the heels on the floor is more of an ATS/Tribal Fusion style. I teach both ways in my classes and let people have the option. For me personally, even after many years of dance training, the movement works better on my body with lifted heels. I have small hips and not much definition between hips/waist, so the movement just shows up better on me if I utilize the heels. In a particular teacher's class I would try to do what the teacher says to do. You can always vary it when you are more advanced.

  8. #18
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    Also, should you keep your chest lifted? My upper body tends to fold slightly...

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikari_no_yami View Post
    Also, should you keep your chest lifted? My upper body tends to fold slightly...
    Yes, keep it lifted.

  10. #20
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    I was watching a new DVD, where the instructor taught the move by lifting heels and then did it flat footed while discussing the muscles to use to make the movement. This made me think that you learn it flat footed so you know how to do it properly using the muscles rather than relying on the foot pushing up to do the move so when you start traveling with the move, you are able to shift your weight so the whole move looks better. This is just a thought.

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