Helen Blondel on The Best Workouts for Belly Dancers – 051
Singing belly dancer Helen of South Florida gives us some tone-at-home fitness tips we forgot about and shares how she moved past fear to create her own online dance program and write “Belly Dance Business 101”.
Interview with Helen Blondel
Making an Online Belly Dance Course
Belly dance is a beautiful art form, but it is niche. A lot of people don’t know about it. I was teaching classes at Florida International University that were capped at 50 students and had to turn people away. I wanted to teach worldwide, so I created BellyPOP
I looked up whether the name “BellyPOP” was trademarked, and it just took 24 hours to trademark the name with a lawyer’s help. You can look up trademarked names on https://www.uspto.gov/
Fear keeps most of us from acting on our ideas. This quote has helped: “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
I was afraid that people would see that I’m filming in my living room instead of a gorgeous studio or resort, and they would want something else. I let go of that fear. Everyone has a unique way of teaching. I have my own way of teaching, regardless of whether I am filming in my living room, or my backyard, or a beautiful castle.
What are the best workouts for belly dancers?
Belly dancing can be strenuous! Especially for teachers and performers.
Pilates and High Intensity Interval Training are great workouts for belly dancers.
Pilates is the #1 fitness training for belly dancers, because you are using your own weight to get fit. It gives you strength in your core and calves and other parts of your body that are important for belly dance.
If you condition your body, it can give the illusion of ease when you belly dance.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is great for endurance, and health of your heart and your energy. Burpees and then squats or lunges with weights are great. You do the cardio to bring your heart rate up, and then you target your muscles, wait 20 seconds, and do it again. It’s like doing a combination of weight training and cardio. This can help you get into great shape in a short period of time.
Burpees are exercises that target your core, glutes, hamstrings, abs and quads. You are in a plank, and then using your momentum, stand right up into a squat position, jump up really fast, and then go back into a plank. It’s very hard at first, but it targets many muscles at once. Check out Cassey Ho’s videos on different kinds of burpees.
Sing for us Helen!
As Belly Dancers, we are Immersed in so Much more than Dance
Belly dancers are dancing with history, culture, music, culture and fashion. Belly Dance Fashion is the coolest thing. Go to a belly dance convention and see all of the beautiful costumes and makeup. It’s so beautiful.
5 Lessons from Helen’s Book “Belly Dance Business 101”
Here are a couple lessons from Helen’s book “Belly Dance Business 101: The Beginners Guide to Being a Professional Belly Dancer”. Buy the book to learn more!
#1. How to Start Getting Belly Dance Gigs
Sign up on an entertainment platform! Some examples are Gigsalad and The Bash / Gigmasters. Use your most professional photos and make your own profile including whatever sells you as a performer. When people are organizing an event, they often don’t know entertainers to call. Some of these platforms are set up so we can transfer reviews from their platform to our personal website.
#2. How Much Money do Belly Dancers Make?
Research the going rate for belly dancers in your area. Do not undercut the going rate in order to get gigs. If belly dancers in the area have the same rate, then event planners will choose the dancer they want because they like their dance, not because they are cheaper.
Change your mindset from wanting to perform to knowing that others want you to perform.
#3. How to Create Your Belly Dance Brand
Oxana Bazaeva is a great example of a belly dancers with memorable personal branding. Her long red hair. As all of us entertainers must do, we find our brand and we stick to it and keep reminding followers what our brand is.
#4. Join a Belly Dance Troupe
You’ll get sisterhood as well as knowledge on local rates and other information that will help you dance and even become a professional dancer if you have that goal.
Great Song for Belly Dancers: Ala Wadaak (Stand Up)
اغنية “علي وضعك ” احمد سعد
It’s a happy, motivating Arabic song with good beats by a great singer Ahmed Saad. Egyptian audiences love it. The song Ali Waddak Ahmed Saad from the movie Aly Wakeel.
Oxana Bazaeva is in this video!
The English translation of Ala Wadaak by Ahmed Saad is something like this:
You’re so wonderful, I salute you. I take my hat off to you. Stand up. You’re the #1, the king or the queen.
(*This is a different song than Ala Wadaak by Algerian singer Hakim).
Dance Move: Hip Lifts and Drops Through Energy Transfer
Hip lifts don’t come from the hip. It’s the transfer of energy from your knee to your hip. It’s the transfer of energy from the floor. Having intention with your energy.
Delicious Vegan Whole Food: Bananas
Bananas give you energy! Good for calming your muscles after workouts and great for dancers on the go.
Should Belly Dancers Accept Tips in Their Bras?
Helen says: No. Belly dance already has the reputation as a sexual dance. By accepting tips in our bras, it makes belly dance more like a sexual dance rather than a sensual dance and artistry. There are other ways to accept tips, like money showers and accepting tips in our hands.
Teach the audience see how to treat you.
Costume Tip: Use Safety Pins to Keep Your Bra from Popping Open
Use 2 big safety pins in the back of your bra and connect your skirt to your underwear with safety pins. That will keep your costume from popping off.
And wear glitter cream! A little sparkle adds a lot. It makes you glow. On your legs, your arms. Where ever you like. It’s nice in the sunlight.
Feel Good Habit: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself that you are beautiful.
Danceable Ritual: Do Dynamic and Static Stretching to a Non-Belly Dance Song Before Performing
Static stretching is slower and meant to cool down your muscles, often after dancing. Dynamic stretching is more active, and usually done before dancing. Kickbacks are an example.
Something exciting coming up:
Releasing a new song! Helen will be able to dance to a song that she wrote and sang.
Tic toc: https://www.tiktok.com/@helensingerdancer?source=h5_m