The Power of Pretty Stance – hip lifts and drops

Wonder why the Hip Lifts and Drops are not taught in a stylized manner in the SharQui format – but in a very structured way? 

OK I’ll tell you. But first let me backtrack as to why the structure of the Pretty Stance came to be…

When I went to bellydance classes back in the day, before I created SharQui, teachers were not instructing how to get into position. I saw students leaning back, putting too much weight on their front foot, or using the standing leg to move the hip. 

Why were they doing this, you may ask? Because they didn’t have the strength yet. They were simply not recruiting the right muscles to lift the hip up or drop down; and as a result, students felt pain and/or hurt themselves.  But what really bugged the sh*t out of me, was that teachers were not explaining how to get into position, nor were they correcting them. This ineffective position could have been eliminated right from the start.  Argh!

Below, I give you my reasons, strategies and 2 truth smacks for why we teach the pretty stance the way we do…

In SharQui, the hip lift and drop while in a pretty stance, is a SUPER loaded move.  Not only are you working on balance and strength by holding the pose, but you are also working on precision and muscular endurance when moving the hips. If you really think about it, it’s a position that’s always in an isometric contraction because it includes ALL the muscles of the pelvis, abdominals, back and legs. So, right from the start, this sucker already packs a punch!

As a teacher, you can learn so much from a student’s positioning in the pretty stance.  You can see where they are weak, strong and/or imbalanced, which in turn, dictates which muscles get recruited. So for me, the 4 crucial components to watch while a student is in the pretty stance are:

  1. If the pelvis is “squared” and in neutral 
  2. Where the pelvis is placed above the legs 
  3. If the weight is on the standing leg or not 
  4. If the upper body is lifted  

Now let’s analyze the new student…shall we?  

Many new students start by balancing a bit too far forward which brings too much weight on the front foot and causes their pelvis to tilt back. Doing this causes the lower abdominals to not engage, puts too much weight on the knee and ankle, and then hyperextends the back of the knee and rib cage.

So, how do we fix it?

Simply shift the pelvis over the back foot to allow the pelvis to realign so that the entire abdominals can support the pelvis and lower back. By doing this allows greater ease of movement in the hips, less tension in the front leg, and better balance – and don’t forget, it prevents injury too. 

Which now brings me to my 1st truth smack:  Alignment first, and the rest will follow. 

Here’s the cool part…you can eliminate all the “fixing” by getting students into the correct position right from the start!  Here’s how…

  1. Get them into correct posture by having feet hip bone width apart,
  2. Then get them to a neutral pelvis, 
  3. Then instruct to bring one foot forward about 6-12 inches, 
  4. And then lift that heel.

Boom!  It’s that simple.

So that’s it folks. Once correct positioning is in place, the correct muscles will recruit, the hips will move freely, and then strength will be obtained over time. So don’t get fancy too soon; work on strength first!

Which brings me to my 2nd truth smack:  Once strength has been established, stylization can happen!

Instruct & Inspire,


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