Photo of Shira



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.




Related Articles




Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Index to the Belly Dance Advice Section >
How to Belly Dance


Share this page!

On Facebook


 Top > Belly Dancing > Index to the Belly Dance Advice Section > How to Belly Dance

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |