Courtesy of stars like Shakira, belly dancing has become an international sensation. And why not? Belly dancing is great exercise, and it's an art that anybody can practice and, with time and patience, perfect. If you want to know how to belly dance on your own, just follow these steps.Getting Into PositionStretch. Getting warmed up before you start to dance will keep you from straining a muscle or getting injured. Just bend down to touch your toes, roll your neck and shoulders, and stretch your wrists to feel nice and loose. If you can do a backbend, do one to help stretch out your stomach muscles.Lift your arms and flex your stomach slightly. Use your stomach muscles to 'pull' or lead your hip movement; the lower back should not have a large arch. Some schools insist on the stomach pulling from the start, in order to train your stomach. Lift your arms in the air so that they're slightly above parallel to the ground and lift your wrists slightly.Mastering the TechniqueMaster the side to side move and the back and forth move. For the side to side move, just drop your left hip to raise your right hip, and then drop your right hip to raise your left. Start slowly until you perfect this motion, and then speed up until you're shimmying your hips. For the back and forth move, just move your hips back and forth, using the center of your pelvis to make the movement look graceful.Make small circular movements with one side of your hips at a time. Try 'drawing' little circles in the air with your one side. As you get the hang of it, try 8's, arcs, and swirls. Don't forget your other side. One side will always be easier, or stronger, depending on whether you are left or right handed. Keep your arms lifted, a slight smile on your face, and your fingers moving as you master these techniques.Mastering the Stomach RipplePractice making the stomach ripples that cause the back and forth movements. There are three main muscles that you will use: (1) a crescent shaped muscle just above the pubic area; (2) The area between the 1st muscle and below the navel; (3) just above the navel to your ribs (the one that hurts when you laugh too hard).Try isolating or clenching each muscle individually. Isolate the first muscle group, then the second, and then the third. Once you can isolate and clench these muscles, you'll be on your way to doing the stomach ripple. Work on clenching and releasing them individually and then combine the movements.