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 a great way to exercise. It'll help you stay in shape and allow you to express your personal creativity. Belly dancing is enjoyed by many people all over the world. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of belly dancing is the isolated movements
performed by the abdomen. These belly movements may be circular, rolling, angular or vibrating.
Belly Dancing Forms:
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 social belly dancing 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:
Although it may seem that only the abdominal area is moving, belly dancing involves several other parts of the body as well. While belly 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 usually 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.
Belly Dancing Music:
Almost any type of music can be used for belly dancing. Music tends to be a powerful motivator. Depending on the goals of your belly dancing workout, however, choosing the right music is important. Whether belly dancing for an aerobic workout, a personal meditation, or a stretch routine, choosing inspiring music will help you enjoy the experience even more. Feel free to use any style or genre of music for belly dancing.
If you're serious about learning authentic belly dancing, however, traditional Middle Eastern music will further help you understand how to correctly move the hips and abdomen.
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
How to Start Belly Dancing:
If you are interested in trying belly dancing, your first step will be to find a qualified teacher
. Check around for local instructors at private studios or college campuses. If you'd rather learn belly dancing in the privacy of your own home, consider investing in a few instructional DVD's.
Your next step will be to invest in a few belly dancing costume supplies. Look at dance supply stores or thrift shops for inspiration. Your belly dancing practice attire need not be elaborate, but should serve as inspiration.