Raq’n Workouts

Belly dance workout DVDs have often been some of my favorite programs to work with throughout the years I’ve been studying dance. They are an introduction to the art for many people, as it’s very easy to stumble across one in the yoga section of a sporting goods store, or the exercise section of any big box store. bd2

My first belly dance workout DVD was the Love Potion program from World Dance New York. It’s a bit much for a total novice, but it’s one I still enjoy from time to time. Luscious, the other program in the series is the better choice for beginner level dancers, in my opinion. Luscious moves at a somewhat slower pace and has simpler combinations separated by move type, i.e. circles, figure eights, undulations, etc.

While fitness and weight loss are current goals of mine, dance workout programs serve other purposes as well. As I mostly work with prerecorded teaching programs, workout DVDs become great for drilling purposes. Movement is constant. It is presented within a dance context, while still providing the repetition of drilling. If I can’t decide on what I want to practice on any given day, I’ll just pop in a workout and do some drilling.

I have  a number of different workout programs, some I’ve worked with a lot. Some I haven’t gotten to, but all have merit. Most of what I’ve got came from World Dance New York. They have a number of excellent workout programs in different styles.

bd1The program I’ve been working with this week is Jillina’s Shape Up n’ Hip Out. It has a warm up and a cool down sequence and three different routines of varying intensity, which you can do all of, or just one depending on one’s time and energy that day. The three sections are Slow & Smooth, Rhythm Hips, and Turbo Hips. I believe this one is a great option for beginners and for dancers looking to drill foundational dance vocabulary. The combos are simple, and Jillina breaks them down before kicking it up to full tempo. The footwork isn’t overly complex and it’s just a great overview of the basic building blocks of belly dance. I highly recommend it.

There are a number of belly dance workouts you can find for free on YouTube, as well. Tiazza of FreeBellyDanceClasses.com has a number of dance workouts on YouTube and most of them also have companion videos that breakdown the combos she uses. Leilah Isaac also has a number of dance workouts on YouTube, although I have not, as of yet, tried any of her routines.

There are a lot of options for dance workouts out there. It’s my favorite way to exercise and it’s a fantastic way to brush up on your dance moves, or discover belly dance if you’ve never done it before. Or if you’re just looking for a fun way to exercise that is easy on the joints, belly dance workouts are the way to go.


Raq’n Recipes: Purple Power Smoothie

I think part of anyone’s dance journey is some sort of fitness regimen, so as part of my dance life, I wanted to share the occasional healthy or culturally relevant recipe.

Today, I’ve got for you the Purple Power Smoothie, a vegan nutrition-packed breakfast (or any meal option) for dancers and non-dancers alike. I’m a picky girl and have never been good at getting in my fruits and veggies. Smoothies are a great way for me to make almost anything palatable.

Except bananas. I can’t even with bananas for some reason.


Everything in this smoothie is a fresh whole food with no refined sugars. Anything I could find in organic locally, I got, but non-organic options also work, of course.

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 3/4 – 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2/3 cup blueberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 cup raspberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 medium hass avocado (preferably chilled or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole chia seeds
  • 1 tsp raw honey (or 100% maple syrup/agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Add spinach and almond milk to blender and run until spinach is minced well. Add all fruit next and blend for a bit before adding the seeds. You might need to use an icing spatula to scrape the sides and fold in the seeds a bit before blending again. Lastly, add your honey and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Serve in an insulated cup to preserve texture longer. The lemon juice is optional, but I added it to cut through the sweetness of the blueberries.

This may seem high calorie, but it is meant to be a meal by itself. I’ve provided the nutritional info according to My Fitness Pal below. Packed full of fiber, healthy fats, protein, and other nutritious goodness, I think it makes for a good, high-energy breakfast.


Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 434
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25 g 39 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 9 %
Monounsaturated Fat 9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 161 mg 7 %
Potassium 678 mg 19 %
Total Carbohydrate 39 g 13 %
Dietary Fiber 17 g 69 %
Sugars 18 g
Protein 18 g 37 %
Vitamin A 40 %
Vitamin C 39 %
Calcium 38 %
Iron 37 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.