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Turning, Part II


Turning is perhaps the most complex and difficult feat in dance, but, it is probably the most dramatic and beautiful of all things we dancers do.

In ballet, we drill turns over and over again and so become skilled at a variety of types of turns. Belly Dancers rarely learn the intricate mechanics of how to turn well, so I have addressed this in this and the prior blog.

The basics of turning are not unlike any other technical skill, albeit a bit more complicated, but because it is turning and causes dizziness, (and sometimes nausea) many dancers refuse to practice and so do not become good at turning. It's time to learn!

When getting ready to turn – whether traveling or standing in place - there are three essential “Preparations”:

  • Stance – where are your feet and where is your weight?

  • Torso – where is your torso?

  • Placement – where are your arms and your head?

There are the 14 types of turns in belly dance:

  1. Pivot Turn

  2. Pencil Turn

  3. Cross-Legged

  4. 2-Step – (Chainne –Traveling)

  5. 3-Step

  6. 4-Step (Spin)

  7. Ghawazee

  8. Propeller Turn

  9. Azeri Turn

  10. Chengi Turn

  11. Wrap Turn

  12. Halo Turn – Single Double

  13. Hip Twist Turning

  14. Half Hip Circle Turning

Stance is the first thing to prepare for; you are doing one of the first 7 turns and this determines what your stance is and what your feet are doing. Arms change depending on type of turn also, one of 8-14. But, The most critical part of preparing for turning is the Torso - where it is placed determines balance, and this changes depending on the type of turn. If turning in a circle, then the turn is set by the G-Force of oppositional spinning.

To learn how to turn, learn a variety of turns or to improve your existing skill, please join me for a 2 hour master class in turning on Sunday 11/18 from 1-3 at Westside Dance, 2009 De La Vina St. Santa Barbara, CA. $30.00/Advanced; $40.00/Door.

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