To many cultures this dance is known as Oriental Dance or Middle Eastern dance. In Turkey its known as Rakkase. In Egypt – as Raks Sharki; in Greece- it Cifti telli. In the Western World it is known as Belly Dance.
Belly Dance is rapidly gaining popularity across the world. There are many styles and flavors of this ancient dance form and while it has evolved greatly, there are some characteristic that are true to all styles of Belly Dance. Intricate hip work, shimmies and undulations are some of the hallmarks of Belly Dancing and require great muscle control and unique ability to isolate and move only one part of the body, while keeping the others still.
Just like ballet or ballroom dance, Middle Eastern or “belly” dance requires years of practice and deliberate study to develop and hone a set of skills. It requires not only specific techniques and the ability to move on a beat but also a deeper understanding and reaction to the music. A Belly Dancer’s body is an instrument with which she interprets the music or context of the song.
Traditionally Belly dance celebrates the mature woman and having a curvier shapes is considered a great advantage. But for those looking to tone their bodies and make a workout fun, Belly Dance can be an ideal form of exercise. Learning belly dancing can be a wonderful journey, during which you will open and rediscover yourself, grow spiritually and emotionally, enrich your life with knowledge about different cultures and their music and meet new friends
Belly dance is a Western name for an Arabic style of dance developed in the Middle East. Some American devotees refer to it simply as "Middle Eastern Dance". In the Arabic language it is known as Raqs Sharqi.
Many believe that belly dance was the original childbirth preparation. The undulating movements of the pelvis and abdomen, involving muscular control, were symbolic enactments of both conception and birth.
The United States got its first taste of Belly Dance in 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair when legendary dancer 'Little Egypt' shocked the Victorian era with vivacious dance moves and hip and stomach gyrations. During Victorian standards at the time, women wore long, full skirts, corsets, hair covering hats and bonnets, and bustles.
“Little Egypt” stole the show, and popularized this form of dancing.
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