Belly Dance Veil Tricks and More from the Amazing Ruby Beh

Ruby Beh is a hair tossing, veil throwing belly dance powerhouse. She is so much fun to watch. I was honored to hang out backstage and perform in a show with Ruby. We also spent the day in the studio together, and these 7 tips from Ruby may make you a better dancer as well. And you’ll probably be surprised by #8 on this list…


#1 There are infinite ways to tuck and unfurl a veil

This is my favorite Ruby superpower. Her veil is truly an extension of her body. Before I met Ruby, I thought that tucking my veil in was about covering my costume before I dance. She has turned veil tucking into a science of surprises that leave audiences in awe. This video is just one example:


#2 Try dancing with a veil with one hand. It’s exciting…

And it shows confidence. It obviously takes practice, but it’s a veil trick that you don’t see often, and it can really look good. Toss that veil with one hand next time! Or throw it to the side, holding it only in one hand and whip it back across into both hands again. So much is possible with practice.


#3 Maintain tension in the veil and you will have more control

A saggy veil doesn’t fly like a veil with tension. Keep your hands a little closer together and experiment with how taut you hold the veil. Many more veil moves are possible with veil stretched out a bit.


#4 When playing zills while dancing, always get the footwork first

In life we often try to do too much at once. When learning a zill and dance pattern, practice the footwork before bringing your finger cymbals into the equation. The zills will come.


#5 Choreography is great for learning new things, and many skilled dancers prefer to improvise

Ruby prefers to improvise, and so do I. We can all do choreography to master new moves, dance with a group or have the experience of another dancer moving us. But improvisation is how so much belly dance in the world blossoms. So many beautiful moments come in that creative mindset.


#6 Say the rhythm

“If you can’t say it, you can’t play it,” Ruby said. Speaking drum language makes us better dancers. When we understand the rhythm, we understand the music on a deeper level and our movements flow.


#7 When choreographing, map out the music first

Ruby shared her technique for writing choreography. She breaks a song down into sections based on the feel and instrumentation, and then she writes the moves in. Similarly, I write my choreography down in a grid with time stamps. Here’s an example of my Choreography in Columns Tool


#8 I’m not the only belly dancer who loves tequila

The next time I see Ruby, I want to take her out tequila sipping and hear more about her love for belly dance costumes, veil work, zills, and music. Backstage at the shows I produce, I’ve seen tiny swigs of quality tequila help many a nervous dancer take the first step into a beautiful state. It’s definitely not necessary or ideal for everyone, but I was happy to get to know another tequila-loving belly dancer like myself.


If you are ever in Portland Oregon, see if you can catch Ruby on stage or teaching a class. She is a talented performer and teacher with so much to give.

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