Hilal Dance at CDT

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Hilal group performing The Other I at CDT's 40th Anniversary

Hilal Dance is wonderful for beginners and experienced dancers alike who have an interest in posture, yoga, breathing, fitness and integration as well as those interested in exploring their physical expression. Hilal Dance technique encompasses holistic, breath-based body training and a movement system which encourages exploration of expression through music and rhythm. Dance experience is not necessary and classes are open to everyone.

Switch off from work. Switch on to YOU! Breathe, Dance, Stretch, Move. Based on her training in Hilal Dance, Rachael will guide you through each session with breathing to re-energise and reconnect you; yoga to relax and re-engage you; dance to re-vitalise and re-invigorate you; movement to re-focus and re-ground you.

The Hilal Dance group has been part of CDT for many years. Based around teachers Rachael Hilton and Danielle Cook, the Hilal Dance group can be seen performing at many CDT events.

Hilal Dance draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophies and aesthetics.

What to wear

A long bodied stretch top and full length stretch pants are ideal.


Hilal Dance training always begins with bodywork. It is designed to develop dynamic alignment and ease of movement. The yoga-like exercises connect the breath with movement in a way that unblocks tension and promotes a centered, holistic, grounded flow of energy. A regular stretching routine is followed by body preparation, readying the body for the dance through training exercises in the movement concepts of Hilal Dance.

Hilal Movement Concepts

There are four main movement concepts in Hilal Dance:

  1. The Pendulum
  2. The Scissor
  3. The use of balanced energies
  4. The Spiral

The pendulum and scissor are two different ways of moving the torso with the legs – they are used as specific ways of walking and turning, but can also be applied to all movement, and give the movements two distinctive modes or expression and line. These two concepts form the basis of the training.

As the pendulum and scissor are based on observations of and exploration of natural body movement, the training creates dancers with a very natural, integrated flow of movement. Yin and Yang usually develop gradually as a dancer becomes confident in the dance and explores the deeper levels of expression. The spiral is the most advanced concept and holds the potential of all dynamic movement. Suspended in space and moving from a powerful centre, it is a continuous rotating circle originating from the base of the body, creating both the perpendicular line of the scissor and the curve of the pendulum opening up a multitude of lines and expressions. All turns (both scissor and pendulum) are essentially spirals in yin form.

Movements and steps in Hilal Dance

  • Scissor and pendulum walks and turns
  • Rhythmic scissor and pendulum
  • Combat back steps & fluid back steps
  • Hops, Bops (of many kinds eg: singles, doubles, continuous), Shivers
  • Stomps and Drops of many kinds eg: (of many kinds eg: single, double, continuous)
  • Fluids – eg: Kenya & pendulum fluid’s
  • Breaks and spirals
  • Spins

This is a list of the basic movement families– it is not complete and there are many variations created through layering movements (eg: overlaying a shift or shiver on to a bop). The use of Yin Yang, Pendulum, Scissor, or bringing focus to various parts of the body such as hips or shoulders can add further detail and complexity. The names are labels for our convenience. The important thing when you are learning is to think in broad categories of movement and not about learning a “step”.

A general class has students with a range of experience and abilities. Go at your own pace and please treat your bodies with care – if any of the movements in the bodywork or training cause discomfort let your teacher know and take a rest.

You can download this information as a pdf.

Hilal performance

The CDT Hilal group performs regularly.