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Belly Dance through imagery: the "omi" movement

Imagery is a great tool for dancers!

Imagery helps improve technique because it gives mental cues for proper alignment, balance, and execution. Through imagery, dancers can visualize correct movement patterns, leading to better physical execution.

Today lets use imagery to visualize the African Hip Circle or Omi. This is a lively and rhythmic movement in belly dance that involves circling the hips with a playful and dynamic motion.

If you are learning or teaching this movement here are four metaphors to help you understand and better explain this movement.

Visualize your hips as playing African drums.

As you execute the African hip circle, your hips become the rhythmic drums. With each circle you beat the drums twice, once with your right hip, when the right hip drops down and once with your left hip when the left hip drops down. The movement is lively, rhythmic, and pulsating. Start slow and end up drumming really fast. Make sure that you are “hitting the drums” with the same energy on the right and left sides.

Visualize your hips as stirring a large pot of stew.

As you perform the Omi, it's like stirring the pot with your hips, creating a delicious blend of flavours and aromas. The movement is dynamic and swirling, much like the contents of the pot.

Visualize your hips as spinning coins on a tabletop

The African hip circle mimics the motion of spinning coins, rotating gracefully and steadily. Your hips create the illusion of spinning coins, and the movement is both visually captivating and engaging.

Visualize your hips as a grinding millstone used to crush grains.

As you perform the Omi, it's like you're grinding grains with your hips in a circular motion. The movement is repetitive, powerful, and rhythmic, as if you're milling flour in a traditional mill.

Enjoy your practice!

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