Sunday, February 14, 2010

Belly Dance

Belly Dancing

Belly dancing is based on one of the oldest social dances in world history, originating in North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Belly dancing is both a beautiful form of dance and an exercise. Both a fun way to stay in shape and to express your personal creativity. The most distinguishing feature of belly dancing is the movements performed by the abdomen. These belly movements may be circular, rolling, angular or vibrating.

Several different styles of belly dancing are popular in the United States today. There are two basic forms of belly dancing: "raqs baladi" and "raqs sharqi." Raqs baladi is performed for celebration by both males and females of all ages. These belly dances are usually performed during social gatherings such as weddings and parties. The second form of belly dancing, raqs sharqi, is a more theatrical version and is the most popular form of belly dancing performed in America today. It is also performed by both male and female dancers.

Belly Dancing Movements:
It may seem that only the abdominal area is moving but this dancing involves several other parts of the body as well. While dancing, a dancer must isolate major muscle groups and work them in isolation or in opposition to other parts of the body. Sharp, angular movements are inner directed, with belly dancing covering very little floor space. Belly dancing is usually performed as a solo dance, but groups may also dance together in a choreographed routine.

Belly Dancing Costumes:
Belly dance is performed wearing long skirts or harem pants. Some belly dancers prefer to simply wear a leotard or a stretchy, form-fitting top. While belly dancing, it is often desirable to keep the midriff uncovered, allowing the defining movements of the abdominals to be visible.

Although some dancers prefer to dance in bare feet, shoes are sometimes necessary when dancing outside of the home or studio. Comfortable shoes or sandals with flexible soles, such as ballet slippers, are good choices.

History of Belly Dancing:
Much debate surrounds the origins of belly dancing, probably due to limited academic research. Several theories exist about the true development of this unique dance form. Over the years, different styles of belly dancing have evolved from various cultures. Belly dancing has popularized for several reasons, including entertainment, cultural ritual, childbirth preparation, physical fitness, and celebration. Because belly dancing seems to be a combination of many different dance styles, it therefore has a variety of origins. One such origin seems to be ethnic folk dancing.

Health Benefits:
Many people have discovered the many health benefits of belly dancing. Besides providing a fun, low-impact workout, belly dance strengthens and tones the entire body while developing balance and grace. Belly dancing also improves flexibility of the hips and back as well as increases core strength.

Some people believe that belly dancing is beneficial to pregnant women. Belly dancing tones the muscles used in childbirth. Dancers must isolate the muscles of the abdomen, which directly benefits pregnant women. Some of the deep-breathing techniques used in belly dancing are also taught in childbirth classes.


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger