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Encyclopedia > Belly Dancers
Raqs Sharqi dancer Chryssanthi Sahar Scharf, Heidelberg.
Raqs Sharqi dancer Chryssanthi Sahar Scharf, Heidelberg.

Belly dance is a Western name for a style of dance developed in the Middle East and other Arabic-influenced areas, such as Pakistan, India, or Iran. In Europe, it is sometimes called an oriental dance. Similarly, In Turkish it is referred to as oryantal dansı ("Dance of the East"). Image File history File links Belly_Dance_with_Chryssanthi_Sahar File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Belly_Dance_with_Chryssanthi_Sahar File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... For other uses, see Dance (disambiguation). ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ...


In the Arabic it is known as raqs sharqi رقص شرقي ("eastern dance") or sometimes raqs baladi رقص بلدي ("national" or "folk" dance). The term "raqs sharqi" may have originated in Egypt. Arabic can mean: From or related to Arabia From or related to the Arabs The Arabic language; see also Arabic grammar The Arabic alphabet, used for expressing the languages of Arabic, Persian, Malay ( Jawi), Kurdish, Panjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu, among others. ... Folk can refer to a number of different things: It can be short for folk music, or, for folksong, or, for folklore; it may be a word for a specific people, tribe, or nation, especially one of the Germanic peoples; it might even be a calque on the related German...

Contents


General

The exact origin of this dance form is an actively debated subject among dance enthusiasts, especially given the limited academic research on the topic. Much of the research in this area has been done by dancers attempting to understand their dance's origins. Many dancers subscribe to one or another of a number of theories regarding the origins of the form. Some of these theories are that it:

  • descended from dances in early Egypt
  • descended from a religious dance Temple Priestesses once practiced
  • had been a part of traditional birthing practices in the region(s) of origin,
  • had spread from the migrations of the Roma people and related groups.

Of the theories, the first explanation is rarely invoked, even with such high-status proponents as the Egyptian Dancer Doctor Mo Geddawi promoting it. Much of the support for this theory stems from the similarities between poses in Egyptian artwork and the modern dance moves. The Roma people (singular Rom; sometimes Rroma, Rrom), often referred to as gypsies, are a heterogeneous ethnic group who live primarily in Southern and Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Latin America, the southern part of the United States and the Middle East. ...


The most well-known theory is that it descended from a religious dance. This idea is usually the one referred to in mainstream articles on the topic, and has enjoyed a large amount of publicity. 1960s American Singer/Dancer Jamila Salimpour was one proponent. It was also popularized in works such as Earth Dancing and Grandmother's Secrets. The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ...


The "birthing practices" theory covers a sub-set of dance movements in modern Raqs Sharqi. Strongly publicized by the research of the dancer/layperson anthropologist Morocco (also known as Carolina Varga Dinicu), it involves the rework of movements traditionally utilized to demonstrate or ease childbirth. Although lacking an "origin point", this theory does have the advantage of numerous oral historical references, and is backed by a commentary in the work The Dancer of Shamahka.


Two points suggest Roma dance as its origin. The Roma, and other related groups, are seen as either having brought the form over as they traveled, or picked it up along the way and spread it around. Thanks to the conflation of Roma forms of dance into the Raqs Sharqi sphere in the West, these theories enjoy a vogue in the West that is not necessarily reflected in their origin countries -- although some of that may be due to strongly-held prejudices against the Roma.


Whatever the origin point, dance has a long history in the Middle East. Despite the restrictions in Islam regarding portraying humans in paintings, there are several depictions of dancers throughout the Islamic world. Books such as The Art and Architecture of Islam 650-1250 show images of dancers on palace walls, as do Persian miniature paintings from the 12th and 13th centuries. For other uses, including people named Islam, see Islam (disambiguation). ... The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau and beyond. ...


Outside of the Middle East, raqs sharqi dancing was popularized during the Romantic movement in the 18th and 19th centuries as Orientalist artists depicted their interpretations of harem life in the Ottoman Empire. Around this time, dancers from different Middle Eastern countries began to exhibit such dances at various World's Fairs; they often drew crowds that rivaled the technological exhibits. Some dancers were captured on early film; the short film "Fatima's Dance", was widely distributed in the nickelodeon movie theaters. It drew criticism for its "immodest" dancing, and was eventually censored due to public pressure. Romanticism was a secular and intellectual movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. ... Orientalism is the study of Near and Far Eastern societies and cultures, by Westerners. ... Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) دولت ابد مدت Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (The Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (1683) Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Söğüt (1299-1326), Bursa (1326-1365), Edirne (1365-1453), Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah... Nickelodeon is an early 20th century form of small, neighborhood movie theaters in which admission was obtained for a nickel. ...


Some Western women began to learn from and imitate the dances of the Middle East, which at this time was subject to colonization by European countries. Mata Hari exemplifies the issues surrounding these activities; despite posing as a Javanese dancer, her mystique is linked not to Indonesian dance but to the Middle Eastern dance forms. The French author Colette and many other music hall performers engaged in "oriental" dances, sometimes passing off their own interpretations as authentic folkloric styles. The great dancer Ruth St. Denis also engaged in Middle Eastern-inspired dancing, but her approach was to put "oriental" dancing on the stage in the context of ballet, her goal being to lift all dance to a respectable art form. (In the early 1900s, it was a common social assumption in America and Europe that dancers were women of loose morals.) Mata Hari, exotic dancer and convicted spy, made her name synonymous with femme fatale during World War I. For the Indonesian supermarket/department store chain, see Matahari. ... View of the Puncak area in West Java Java (Indonesian: Jawa) is the most populous of Indonesias islands, and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. ... Colette Colette [1] was the pen name of the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (January 28, 1873 – August 3, 1954). ... Ruth St. ...


Historically, most of the dances associated with belly dance were performed with the sexes separated; men with men and women with women. Few depictions of mixed dancing exist. This practice ensured that a "good" woman would not be seen dancing by anyone but her husband, her close family, or her female friends. Sometimes a professional dancer would go to a women's gathering with several musicians and get the women up and dancing. Sex segregation was not a strict practice, however, and sometimes both men and women would get up and dance among close friends in a mixed function.


Belly dancing often features the natural "roundness" of the female body, in contrast to the modern Western cultural preference for flat abdomens. Most of the basic steps and techniques used in belly dance are circular motions isolated in one part of the body; for example, a circle parallel to the floor isolated in the hips or shoulders. Accents using "pop and lock" where a dancer either shimmies or makes a striking motion in her shoulders or hips are common, as are feats of flexibility, rolling one's belly muscles, balancing various props like baskets, swords or canes, and dancing with chiffon or silk veils. A shimmy is a dance in which the body is held still, except for the shoulders, which are alternated back and forth. ...


Raqs Sharqi

Despite its western name (“belly dancing”), Raqs Sharqi uses movements in every muscle group of the body. It is fundamentally a solo improvisational dance with its own unique dance vocabulary that is fluidly integrated with the music’s rhythm.


Raqs Sharqi dancers internalize and express the emotions evoked by the music. Appropriately, the music is integral to the dance. The most admired Raqs Sharqi dancers are those who can best project their emotions through dance, even if their dance is made up of simplistic movements. The dancer’s goal is to visually communicate to the audience the emotion and rhythm of the music. This especially apparent during the drum solo portion of a performance.


Many see Raqs Sharqi as a woman's dance, celebrating the sensuality and power of being a mature woman. A common school of thought believes that young dancers have limited life experience to use as a catalyst for dance.[citation needed] Sohair Zaki, Fifi Abdou, Lucy, and Dina are all popular Egyptian dancers in Egypt above the age of forty.


Despite the fame of female dancers, men often perform Raqs Sharqi as well.


Egyptian-style belly dance is based on the work of belly dance legends Samia Gamal, Tahiya Karioka, Naima Akef, and other dancers who rose to fame during the golden years of the Egyptian film industry. Later dancers who based their styles partially on the dances of these artists are Sohair Zaki, Fifi Abdou, and Nagwa Fouad. All rose to fame between 1960 and 1980, are still popular today, and have nearly risen to the same level of stardom and influence on the style. Born as: Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz Dates: 1924 - 01 Dec 1994 Filmography: Appointment with the Unknown (Film, 1959) Un verre et une cigarette (Film, 1955) Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs (Film, 1954) Valley of the Kings (Film, 1954) Mat Oulch Lehad (Film, 1952) Categories: Egyptian people ... Tahiya Karioka also Tahiya Mohamed (born as: Badaweya Mohamed Kareem Al Nirani), (1920–September 20, 1999) was an Egyptian belly dancer and film actress. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Though the basic movements of Raqs Sharqi have remained the same, the dance form continues to evolve. Mahmoud Reda is noted for incorporating elements of ballet into Raqs Sharqi and his influence can be seen in modern Egyptian dancers who stand on relevé as they turn or travel through their dance space in a circle or figure eight.


In Egypt, three main forms of the traditional dance are associated with belly dance: Beledi, Sha'abi and Sharqi.


Egyptian belly dance was among the first styles to be witnessed by Westerners. During Napoleon's invasion of Egypt (the campaign which yielded the Rosetta stone, leading to the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics), Napoleon's troops encountered the Ghawazee tribe. The Ghawazee made their living as professional entertainers and musicians. The women often engaged in prostitution on the side, and often had a street dedicated to their trade in the towns where they resided, though some were quasi-nomadic. At first the French were repelled by their heavy jewelry and hair, and found their dancing "barbaric", but were soon lured by the hypnotic nature of their movements. The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum The Rosetta Stone is dark grey-pinkish granite stone (originally thought to be basalt in composition) with writing on it in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, using three scripts, Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Greek. ... Hieroglyphs are a system of writing used by the Ancient Egyptians, using a combination of logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements. ... The Ghawazee (Ghawazi) are an ethnic group that have been exoticized in Western travel narratives of Egypt since the 18th century as a particularly sensual group and are probably the origin fo the contemporary notion of belly dance. ... Communities of nomadic people move from place to place, rather than settling down in one location. ...


The most important non-Egyptian forms of belly dance are the Syrian/Lebanese and the Turkish.


Turkish forms

Some mistakenly believe that Turkish oriental dancing is known as Çiftetelli due to the fact that this style of music has been incorporated into oriental dancing by Greeks and gypsies, illustrated by the fact that the Greek belly dance is called Tsifteteli. However, Turkish Çiftetelli is more correctly a form of wedding folk music, the part that makes up the lively part of the dance at the wedding and is not connected with oriental dancing. Tsifteteli (τσιφτετέλι, Tsifte-teli) is a Greek traditional dance, which is basically the same as Chifteteli, a Turkish traditional dance. ... Tsifteteli (τσιφτετέλι, Tsifte-teli) is a Greek traditional dance, derivied from the Çiftetelli, a Turkish traditional dance. ...


Even though Turkish belly dancing has deep roots in the Sultan's palatial harems of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish belly dance today is closer to its Romany (Gypsy) heritage than to the Egyptian and Syrian/Lebanese forms, having developed from the Ottoman rakkas to the oriental dance known worldwide today. As Turkish law does not impose restrictions on Turkish dancers' movements and costuming as in Egypt, where dancers are prevented from performing floor work and certain pelvic movements, Turkish dancers are often more outwardly expressive than their Egyptian sisters. Turkish dance also remains closer to its Romany roots because many professional dancers and musicians in Turkey continue to be of Romany heritage. Turkish dancers are known for their energetic, athletic (even gymnastic) style, and particularly, until the past few years, their adept use of finger cymbals, also known as zils. Connoisseurs of Turkish dance often say that a dancer who cannot play the zils is not an accomplished dancer. Another distinguishing element of the Turkish style is the use of the Karsilama rhythm in a 9/8 time signature, counted as 12-34-56-789. Turkish belly dance costumes can be very revealing, with the belt sometimes worn high up on the waist and split skirts which expose the entire leg, although dancers today are costuming themselves more like Egyptian dancers and wearing more modest "mermaid"-style skirts. The Turkish style is emphasized further by the dancer wearing high heels and often platform shoes. Famous Turkish belly dancers include Tulay Karaca and Birgul Berai. Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) دولت ابد مدت Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (The Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (1683) Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Söğüt (1299-1326), Bursa (1326-1365), Edirne (1365-1453), Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah... The Roma people (singular Rom; sometimes Rroma, Rrom), often referred to as gypsies, are a heterogeneous ethnic group who live primarily in Southern and Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Latin America, the southern part of the United States and the Middle East. ... Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) دولت ابد مدت Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (The Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (1683) Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Söğüt (1299-1326), Bursa (1326-1365), Edirne (1365-1453), Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah... A pair of zils from the Khan el Khalili market in Cairo Zils or finger cymbals are tiny cymbals used in belly dancing and similar performances. ... Karsilama (Turkish karşılama) is a Turkish dance. ...


When immigrants from Turkey, Iran, and the Arab states began to immigrate to New York in the 1930s and 1940s, dancers started to perform a mixture of these styles in the nightclubs and restaurants. Often called "Classic Cabaret" or "American Cabaret" belly dance, these dancers are the grandmothers and great-grandmothers of some of today's most accomplished performers, such as Anahid Sofian and Artemis Mourat.


Belly dancing in the Western world

The term "belly dancing" (believed by some to be a mis-transliteration of the term for the dance style Beledi or Baladi) is generally credited to Sol Bloom, entertainment director of the 1893 World's Fair, the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It was in the Egyptian Theater, where the USA first saw Raqs dancers, that Bloom presented "The Algerian dancers of Morocco". The dancer who stole the show, and who continued to popularize this form of dancing, was "Fatima", also known as Little Egypt. Her real name was Farida Mazar Spyropoulos and oddly enough she was neither Egyptian nor Algerian, but Syrian. A Worlds Fair is any of various large expositions held since the mid-19th century. ... One-third scale replica of The Republic, which once stood in the great basin at the exposition, Chicago, 2004 The World Columbian Exposition (also called The Chicago Worlds Fair), a Worlds fair, was held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbuss discovery... Chicago (officially named the City of Chicago) is the third largest city in the United States (after New York City and Los Angeles), with an official population of 2,896,016, as of the 2000 census. ... Little Egypt was the stage name for two popular exotic dancers, Ashea Wabe who danced at the Seeley banquet and Farida Mazar Spyropoulos, who appeared at the Street in Cairo exhibition on the Midway at the World Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. ...


The dance performed by Little Egypt was nicknamed the "Hootchy-Kootchy" or "Hoochee-Coochee", or the shimmy and shake. The origin of the name is unknown. Another name for the dance is "danse du ventre", which is French for "belly dance". Today the word "hootchy-kootchy" means an erotic suggestive dance.


Because this dance style created such a craze, Thomas Edison made several films of dancers in the 1890s. Included in these are the Turkish dance, Ella Lola, 1898 and Crissie Sheridan in 1897 both available for on-line viewing through the Library of Congress. Another in this collection is Princess Rajah dance from 1904 which features a dancer playing finger cymbals, doing "floor work", and balancing a chair in her teeth. Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century. ... Film refers to the celluloid media on which movies are printed. ... The Great Hall interior. ... A pair of zils from the Khan el Khalili market in Cairo Zils or finger cymbals are tiny cymbals used in belly dancing and similar performances. ...


In addition, the sensational stories about the pseudo-Javanese dancer Mata Hari, who was convicted in 1917 by the French for being a German spy during World War I, and the fact that belly dancing could be seen only at vaudeville and in burlesque shows gave belly dancing a questionable reputation in polite society. Hollywood did not help the reputation by only having three roles for a belly dancer (those of slave to be saved, a background dancer while the main characters talk, or a deceitful woman who uses her wiles to trick the main character), which created stereotypes of belly dancers that many dancers and instructors today are working hard to overcome. Mata Hari, exotic dancer and convicted spy, made her name synonymous with femme fatale during World War I. For the Indonesian supermarket/department store chain, see Matahari. ... Combatants Allied Powers: British Empire France Italy Russian Empire Kingdom of Serbia United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary Bulgaria German Empire Ottoman Empire Commanders Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Ferdinand Foch Nikolay II Nikolay Yudenich Radomir Putnik Woodrow Wilson John Pershing Wilhelm II Reinhard Scheer Franz Josef I Oskar Potiorek Ä°smail... Vaudeville is a style of multi-act theatre which flourished in North America from the 1880s through the 1920s. ... Photo of the Burlesque Troupe, Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang Burlesque was originally a form of art that mocked by imitation, referring to everything from comic sketches to dance routines and usually lampooning the social attitudes of the upper classes. ...


While the beautiful classical Raqs Sharqi is still popular in the West, those dancers have also embraced other forms such as Tribal Style and American Tribal Style inspired by the folkloric dance styles of India, the Middle East and North Africa and even flamenco. Dancers in the United States, while respecting the origins of belly dance, are also exploring and creating within the dance form to address their own needs. Many women today in the U.S. and Europe approach belly dance as a tool for empowerment and strengthening of the body, mind, and spirit. Issues of body-image, self-esteem, healing from sexual violation, sisterhood, and self-authentication are regularly addressed in belly dance classes everywhere.


Belly dance in the United States

Tribal-style belly dancers.
Tribal-style belly dancers.

With its emergence at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial, the last four decades of the 20th century moved belly dance in the U.S. more into the mainstream. With increasing exploration of the East in the late 1960s, many people became interested in everything Eastern, including dance. Many touring Middle Eastern or Eastern bands took dancers with them as they toured to provide a visual representation of their music. Many people took lessons from teachers where and when they were available. This had the effect of creating many beautiful dancers who have generated greater interest in belly dancing. The increased interest in belly dancing created diverse names for the same simple movements and the need to have a "style" as each teacher tried to distinguish differences in their way of teaching from other teachers. This has hampered belly dance from acceptance with the more established dance forms because there is no nationally recognized choreography terminology that can be used to create repeatable dances. A Belly Dancer. ... A Belly Dancer. ...


"Cabaret" or "stage" styles have flourished in the U.S. throughout the 20th century due to their flashy and exotic overtones. Often associated with Raqs Sharqi, the mainstays of costuming for these styles include a fitted top or bra (usually with fringe of beads or coins), a fitted hip belt (again with a fringe of beads or coins), and leg coverings that include harem pants or skirts (straight, layered, circular, or paneled). In the U.S. a "veil" may also be used; this is a three-and-a-half to four-yard piece of fabric that is used in part of the dance to move about and frame movements for the dancer. In the 1940s King Farouk of Egypt employed Russian ballet instructor Ivanova to teach his daughters, and it was she who first taught the great dancer Samia Gamal to use the veil to improve her arm carriage. Most Egyptian dancers use the veil as an opening prop which they discard within the first few minutes of their routines, while many Western dancers will use the veil for an entire song. Recently added costume options include full beaded dresses, called baladi dresses.


A recent movement in the U.S. called American Tribal Style Belly Dance, or ATS, represents everything from folklore-inspired dances to the fusion of ancient dance techniques from North India, the Middle East, and Africa. Created in the early 1990s by Carolena Nericcio, founder of FatChanceBellydance in San Francisco, ATS has a format consisting of a vocabulary of steps that are designed to be performed improvisationally in a lead-follow manner. Pure ATS is performed in a group, typically with a chorus of dancers using zills, or finger cymbals, as accompaniment. The music can be folkloric or modern, and the costume is heavily layered, evoking traditions of any or all of its fusion of cultural influences. Tribal-style belly dancers Tribal Style Belly Dance or American Tribal Style Belly Dance (commonly knows as ATS) is a recent movement in the USA that has addressed the feminist philosophy of empowerment of women through Belly Dance. ...


Multicultural trends that have shaped Western and U.S. belly dance are still at work. Ever evolving, this versatile dance keeps absorbing a blend of influences — modern fashion, film and television imagery, the world of rock and hip hop, underground subcultures, and many other contemporary influences. The term used to describe the hybrid forms of belly dance is "belly dance fusion", including "tribal fusion". One of the newest belly dance fusion trends is Gothic belly dance that incorporates many belly dance styles and motifs and seeks to express the darkness of the unknown that has inspired the music, philosophies, and lifestyles of the Goth subculture. NYC goth band The Naked and the Dead (1985). ...


Male belly dancing

Male belly dancer in Istanbul Turkey.
Male belly dancer in Istanbul Turkey.

There is much debate over where and when men became part of the belly dance world. Many believe that men have no place in this art form, which is frequently and erroneously believed to be historically female. However, dancers such as Morocco (Carolina Varga-Dinicu), Tariq Sultan, and Jasmin Jahal have produced ample evidence to the contrary, including historical anecdotes indicating that male eunuchs who guarded the Ottoman Sultan's harems were often dressed up to dance for the palace women. (See Ottoman Empire's rakkas). Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x1544, 233 KB) Summary Belly dancer in Istanbul Turkey, November 2004. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x1544, 233 KB) Summary Belly dancer in Istanbul Turkey, November 2004. ... A eunuch is a castrated human male. ... Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) دولت ابد مدت Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (The Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (1683) Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Söğüt (1299-1326), Bursa (1326-1365), Edirne (1365-1453), Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah...


No longer mere "set pieces" or props for the women, male belly dancers are becoming more visible. Whether there are or should be differences – in costuming, attitude, and the dynamics of choreography – between male and female belly dancing is a subject of debate among both male and female dancers.


Well-known male dancers in the U.S. from the 1970s onward include Bert Balladine, John Compton, Adam Basma, Ibrahim Farrah, Yousry Sharif, Aziz, and Amir. Some of these dancers are American-born, others were immigrants from the Middle East and Europe. Basma and Farrah were born in Lebanon. Sharif (who comes from Egypt and relocated to the U.S. in the early 1990s) was a member of the Reda Ensemble, the first national dance troupe in Egypt. Directed by Mahmoud Reda, a former gymnast who represented Egypt in the Olympics, the Reda Ensemble has existed continuously for over four decades. Other male belly dancers across the globe have made an impact on this dance form, most notably Horacio Cifuentes, who has infused his ballet background with various types of Middle Eastern dance to create an impact on both male and female belly-dance styles.


Given the recent boom in interest regarding belly dance, a new generation of male dancers has embraced the form. As with female dancers, many of these "next-generation" male dancers go by a single name. Most of these men are straight and consider belly dancing as just another art form.


Health and belly dancing

The benefits of belly dance are both mental and physical. Dancing provides a good cardio-vascular workout and helps increase both flexibility and strength, focusing on the torso or "core muscles", although it also builds leg strength. Many belly dance styles emphasize muscular "isolations", teaching the ability to move various muscles or muscle groups independently. Veil work can also build arm, shoulder, and general upper-body strength, and playing the zils can build strength and independence of the fingers. Belly dance is suitable for all ages and body types, and can be as physical as the participant chooses. As with starting any new exercise routine, people would be wise to consult their doctor before starting a belly dance regimen and to talk with the belly dance instructor to find out the level of difficulty in the classes. For many belly dancers, the practice offers mental health benefits including an improved sense of well-being, better body image and self-esteem, and the generally positive outlook that comes with regular, enjoyable exercise.


Anecdotal evidence suggests that the practice of belly dancing may benefit women preparing for childbirth, as the movements strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles and the woman becomes more familiar with the way her muscles work. The hip-circling movements used in the dance may relieve some of the common discomforts of labor.[1]


Belly dancing and weight loss

Besides being an art form, belly dancing has been adapted as a health program. Since it gives a complete cardiovascular workout and strengthens the abdominal muscles, it is gaining popularity among men and women who want to lose weight. An intense sixty-minute session may burn around 330 calories. Since one focus of belly dancing is to gain strength and flexibility in the abdomen, the dance form is said to be one of the quickest ways to achieve firmness and reduce the paunch.


Prohibition of belly dancing

Belly dancing has been banned or restricted in some jurisdictions. In Egypt, there was a ban on foreign belly dancers for a year, until it was overturned in September 2004. [2] Palestinian National Authority culture minister Attallah Abu al-Sibbah has indicated that he plans to ban belly dancing. [3] Anthem: Biladi Capital East Jerusalem[1] (desired) Largest city Gaza[2] Official language(s) Arabic Government  - President Mahmoud Abbas  - Prime Minister Ismail Haniya Constitution Drawn in 2003   - Independence none   - Declared November 15, 1988   - Recognized not yet  Area    - Total 6,220 km² (169-th)   2,402 sq mi   - Water (%) 3. ...


Belly dancing in pop culture

  • The first stanza of Eminem's song, "Ass Like That" begins, "The way she moves, she's like a belly dancer". Also, the background music used is Arabic-influenced.
  • Bellydance has recently been made widely popular by Shakira, who uses belly dance moves in addition to latin dance moves and modern dance. She also bellydanced at the 2006 Video Music Awards in New York for her hit song, "Hips Don't Lie" which features Wyclef. Her ethnic backround being part Lebaneese highly influences her bellydance style.

In poetry, a stanza is a unit within a larger poem. ... Eminem (born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972) is an Academy Award-winning American rapper and occasional actor. ... Ass Like That is a song by the rapper Eminem, released in 2005 as a single. ... The Arabs (Arabic: عرب ) are an ethnic group found throughout the Middle East and North Africa. ... Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (born February 2, 1977) is a Colombian Latin pop singer-songwriter. ... The MTV Video Music Awards were established in 1984 by MTV to celebrate the top music videos of the year. ... Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Album cover of 2000s The Ecleftic Wyclef Jean (born October 17, 1972 in La Plaine, Haiti) is a rapper, producer, and member of the superstar hip hop trio The Fugees, known now for a series of high-profile hit singles. ...

Notes

  1. ^ In the Belly of the Goddess: Belly Dance for Pregnancy and Birth: [http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/October05/childbearing.htm
  2. ^ Washington Times: [Egypt allows foreigners to belly dance] September 5, 2004.
  3. ^ The Guardian: Bellydancing out, cinema in, says Hamas April 6, 2006.

The Washington Times is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1982 as a conservative alternative to the Washington Post by members of the controversial Unification Church. ... September 5 is the 248th day of the year (249th in leap years). ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ... April 6 is the 96th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (97th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Sources

  • Donna Carlton (1995). Looking for Little Egypt. Bloomington, Indiana: International Dance Discovery Books. ISBN 0-9623998-1-7.
  • Belly dancing
  • Serena and Alan Wilson (1973). The Serena Technique of Belly Dancing. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
  • Julie Russo Mishkin and Marta Schill (1973). The Compleat Belly Dancer. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company Books. ISBN 0-385-03556-X

See also

These should be the most basic topics in the field--topics about which wed like to have articles soon. ... This is the main list of dances. ... Little Egypt was the stage name for two popular exotic dancers, Ashea Wabe who danced at the Seeley banquet and Farida Mazar Spyropoulos, who appeared at the Street in Cairo exhibition on the Midway at the World Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. ... ZIL is a three-letter abbreviation with multiple meanings, as described below: Zork Implementation Language (ZIL) is the language which Infocom used to produce their works of interactive fiction. ...

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Belly Dance Star Soraya, International Belly Dancer, Belly Dance Video, DVD, Egyptian, Arabic Theme Party ... (2693 words)
Belly Dancing is as majestic and regal as classical Ballet but, differs because it offers it's practioner's a total experience, a sense of well-being, joy, freedom and most importantly, is a celebration of the femmine soul and inner spirit through movement.
A belly dancer is proud of her costume, and it is crucial to wear the most elaborate and elegant dress to convey class and professionalism.
Belly Dance is a dance of the heritage of Middle Eastern culture that transcends a wide variety of nations reflecting a common art with different variations and styles.
Belly dance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2155 words)
Turkish dancers are known for their energetic and athletic style, and particularly, until the past few years, their adept use of finger cymbals, also known as zils.
The term "belly dancing" (believed to be a mis-translation of the term for the dance style Beledi or Baladi) is generally credited to Sol Bloom, entertainment director of the 1893 World's Fair, the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Hollywood didn't help any by only having three roles for a belly dancer (that of slave to be saved, background dancer for the main characters to talk, or deceitful woman who uses her wiles to trick the main character) which created stigmas involving belly dance that many dancers and instructors are working hard to overcome.
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