How To Keep Up Your Belly Dance Practice When You Are Injured

This is the newest installment of  “Raks Me A Question” – an occasional series where I answer dancers’ questions about anything and everything to do with this Sparkly Life – from practice techniques to troupe politics. Think of it as a dancers’ Q & A meets Dear Abby!

Got a question you’d like to ask? Email me and tell me all about it.

Kelly asks: “How can I keep practicing when I’m injured?”

Most dancers, at some point in their career will have to deal with an injury – whether they have sustained it dancing or just tripping on the sidewalk. For active people like bellydancers, following the doctor’s orders to rest is probably the toughest prescription to swallow.

Fortunately, this does no have to mean totally abandoning your pursuit of dance till you get the green light from your health care provider. You have options – let’s talk about a few:


Have you had to deal with an injury that interrupted your dancing? How did you deal with it? Tell us in the comments below…

Mahin (121 Posts)

Professional instructor and performer of Middle Eastern belly dance, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and author or the “Daily Bellydance Quickies”. Belly Dance Artrepreneur, Workshop instructor, performer, event producer, and bellydance writer.

  1. Nadira Jamal
    June 30, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Those are all great suggestions. I’ve had a lot of injuries in the last few years, and I’ve gotten a lot of benefit from those techniques, especially watching & listening.

    One thing that helped me a lot was to watch instructional videos and imagine that I was following along, “feeling” what it would feel like in my body. I usually engage muscles lightly as I do that, so it didn’t work so well during my abdominal strain. (owwwww) But it helped start “mapping” the moves and combos into my muscle memory, so I was able to learn them more quickly once I was well.

    1. Mahin
      June 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Yes, mental practice is a powerful thing. There’s lots of research on that topic. it’s one I’ll be covering in upcoming DBQs because there are several applications for it – even without injury.

  2. Candice
    June 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Hi Mahin

    That was great thanks!

    I have an injury that I fear has turned chronic and I’ve tried all kinds of treatment and am currently seeing a specialist. I have a relapse or recurrence of the injury about 1-2 times per year (random things set it off like putting a lasagne in the oven, getting out of the car, etc). Each time it happens I cant walk upright or sit for too long or be in any position for long without terrible pain for about a week. It’s either my SIJ or lower back, I’ve been for MRI scans and X-rays and they can’t really tell what causes it, aside from a possible disc protrusion which I was treated for and the pain still hasn’t gone away.

    I am a belly dance teacher and this is my full time job so I can’t really stop and rest properly either. I do reduce my physical movement when it happens and teach more conceptual stuff in classes but there’s only so much I can get away with, and Beginners are the hardest group to work with when I’m injured.

    Do you have any advice for me?


    1. Mahin
      June 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that, Candice. Yes, beginners need the most demonstration and guidance. Perhaps you could have one of your more experienced upper level students with good technique to demonstrate as a teaching assistant when you are not feeling up to doing it yourself.


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