What is Belly Dance? Some History!
“Belly dance” is a Western term used to describe a multitude of dances that originated in the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African countries.
It is a folk dance that is still performed in many of these places today, and it has been brought to and adapted in the Western world as well.
Many experts say belly dancing is the oldest form of dance, having roots in all ancient cultures from the orient to India to the mid-East.
There are many styles that originated in different places at different times, and these were danced at a variety of events to serve many purposes.
It’s therefore a very tough to define!
We can read so many stories and studies about the origins of Belly Dance:
- Some of the experts talks about how belly dancing was intended to entertain men,
- Throughout history, this ritualized form of expression has been performed for other women during fertility rites and to prepare female body for child birth. The deep contractions of the movements strengthen the abdominal muscles, allowing for easy delivery.
- The dance was also enjoyed as a form of entertainment, as well as for religious celebrations.
Belly Dance has long been a social dance that women did with other women and men did with other men at weddings and other family gathering.
What about Belly Dance nowadays?
Over the last 30 years belly dancing has become quite popular also in European countries thus creating interest in other parts of the world.
Belly Dance is now recognized as an art form with a rich cultural heritage and keeps growing around the world. It has evolved in a professional way so we can see competitions, festivals, schools and many performances. There are more and more Teachers and dancers regardless of their origins.
Dancers and Teachers defends their Art against what most people think about it as an entertainment for men only.
Besides, in the Middle East, people still enjoy this dance as part of their culture and social events. In addition, in some countries they keep enjoying dancing only with women for some special events.
What are the benfits of Belly Dance?
Belly dance has always intrigued and fascinated people. This is the raw material exotic dreams are made of. It’s flashes of gold glitter and coins, tassels that fly, big dangly earrings, bare feet sliding across wooden floors, undulating midriffs, translucent skirts swaying sensuously, staccato hips moving to haunting Arabic music, and loose hair sashaying softly.
Doing Belly Dance is being part of the dream, of this culture and travelling through these countries.
Contrary to popular opinion, belly dancing is not just about entertainment but it also leads to numerous health benefits for the dancer.
Belly Dance can be enjoyed by all: anyone and everyone, regardless of age, shape, weight, and body type can benefit from this dance.
Here are some of those benefits.
- Really good exercise (better than any gym session!) but at the same time, it’s so feminine.
- Improves Your muscular tone and body posture, leads to weight loss
- Helps you build self-confidence and feeling more feminine
- The movement of Belly Dance are artistic and feminine wich creates a positive feeling of confident sensual expression and freedom
- Belly dancing will help you appreciate and love your body and become more comfortable with it. If you have voluptuous curves and a few extra pounds, belly dancing will teach you to love them as very sensual features of your body!
- Reduces stress and clear the mind
- Inspired by undulating Middle Eastern melodies, belly dance consists of swaying, circular, fluid and repetitive movements that can induce a state of mental relaxation and reduce the build-up of daily stress.
These are some interesting links that explain in details these benefits and more.
What is the style that we are teaching in our school?
Belly Dance has evolved as cultures evolve and as it is adopted by new cultures. Because of this there are many different styles of “belly dance”.
The more popular ones are:
- Egyptian Raqs Sharqi (often just called ‘Egyptian Style’ or ‘Oriental’)
- Egyptian Baladi, country cousin to Raqs Sharqi
- Turkish Oriental
- American Cabaret/Vintage Orientale
- American Tribal Style
- Tribal Fusion
As a Tunisian dancer, Wafa will share with you her vision and experience of the Tunisian Dance. unisian Style is not very widespread so take this opportunity to learn from her!
She will also give free rein to her creativity and choreographic effervescence, combining traditions, folklore and different evolutions of the oriental and modern dance. She will incorporate other popular styles, depending on the music and the rythme.
She will make you travel through a new mix that represents well the multicultural richness of this beautiful dance.
For now, we don’t have a regular class of BellyDance. If you are interested, contact us to join the workshops!