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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Belly Dance: Using Your Hair to Extend Movements


By Saqra




Long hair changes the way you move. It creates a special energy, plus an ability to punctuate and extend movement in a larger body sphere.

Every part of your costume can come alive and extend your motions, and hair can be another extender. You don't need long hair to move like you do.

At some point in most women's lives, they have worn a pony tail. And probably discovered for themselves that you could make it swing without really visibly trying. When walking forward, adding a micro movement can cause the tail to swing side to side. Turning the head slightly can cause an extra swing.

Experiment: If you have never experienced this, (or never experienced it consciously), try tying a long thin scarf around your head with the ties hanging down the back. If the scarf is too light, put a few weights on the ends of the ties. I've used earrings to weight the ends.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Keith Darkchilde.

Walk around with this weighted scarf on your head. Try making it swing without showing how you are doing it. Try sharp turns, and don't knock your teeth out. Try making it not move when you turn or walk.

After getting used to how the thing on your head behaves, try removing it and still doing the same type of movements that would have sparked a reaction from the scarf.

Remember to remove the thing from your head when you leave for work.

You now have natural physics awareness of predicted movement, thanks to the experience of moving the hair. Next, you can completely simulate all of the movements of having long hair without having it. Because your audience has also spent time in their bodies, they will feel any sensual hair toss or hair whip that you do.


The awareness of things moving around you because of your own movement extends the motion and communicates the body feel. This means the awareness translates directly to your audience.

What does this add up to? Feel your hair move and enhance your movements by allowing, even encouraging, your hair / wig / scarf / imagination to finish your motion. Feel the weight of your skirt or sleeves or veil and allow, even encourage, it to finish your motion.

Just because it isn't full of skin and blood and guts, it doesn't mean it isn't alive in your performance art when it is attached to you. Use it.

This one was a bit difficult to explain. Having trouble with the concept? 
Ask! I'll be happy to try and clarify.

Your mileage may vary.... oh, but please remove any stray chunks of hair that stick on your face when you are dancing. It ISN'T unfeminine to remove them and it is thoroughly distracting to see them stuck there. I've said that before but it bears repeating.




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About the Author

Saqra (Seattle, Washington, USA) is a powerful dance artist and a master instructor. Her fluidity, grace, and technical skill is highlighted by her friendly demeanor and clear joy of the dance. She did not inherit the diva gene.

Saqra won titles in Belly Dance USA (Oregon), Belly Dancer of the Year (California), Belly Dancer of the Universe (California), Wiggles of the West (Nevada), and many other competitions. She was voted "Best Kept Secret of 2005" and "Instructor of the Year 2008" by readers of Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra's journey in this dance form began in 1977 and has led her to study with many of the best dancers in the world, including in America, Canada, Turkey and Egypt. Saqra continues to travel and study both in the USA and abroad and prides herself on proper research for anything she teaches. Folklore, fakelore, and stage creativity: all three are valuable, and Saqra clearly presents for each what they actually are. Saqra is constantly expanding her expertise in the traditional ethnic forms of the dance, the modern stage variants, and the continuing evolving fusion techniques, all these areas combined keep her material fresh and current.

Saqra is widely known as an event promoter, musician, music and instructional video producer, and a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington. That is enough stuff to start explaining what she has been doing in belly dance since 1977. Visit her at

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California. In the photo, Saqra is holding her Teacher of the Year 2008 Award from Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra with Award



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