Belly dance or Bellydance is a “Western”-coined name for a traditional “West Asian” dance, especially raqs sharqi (Arabic: رقص شرقي). It is sometimes also called Middle Eastern dance or Arabic dance in the West. (Source: Wikipedia)
Check out this YouTube video of Sadie’s Belly Dance Performance to get an idea about this dance style before we get into the details.
I started learning this dance form two months ago and I can’t get enough of it. Our awesome instructor Nina at Mobtown Ballroom makes it easy and fun. The basics start from how to stand and walk with grace, upper body movement, hipwork, arm and foot patterns. Drills strengthen our muscle memory and give way to natural, fluid movement. As we dance, a new sense of body awareness as well as a more grounded feeling within our dance and ourselves evolves.
Some of the information I’m sharing here is from different sources that theoretically could explain this dance style better than my attempt to explain.
Belly dancing gives the female body legitimization to be “round”, in contrast to modern Western cultural preferences for flat stomachs. The Belly Dance is identified by swaying hips, undulating torso, and articulated isolations employed in a range of dynamic and emotional expressions. Characteristic movements in the dance include curving patterns, undulations, thrusts, lifts, locks, and drops, and shaking or quaking body movements. – I can only refer to some of these at the moment as a beginner, but for sure it would take me years to build up the right strength, mussels and flexibility to be able to do all correctly.
Click here to see how beautifully this dancer moves with veil.
A veil is an article of clothing, worn almost exclusively by women, that is intended to cover some part of the head or face. In Belly dancing we use Silk or Chiffon with hand-movements adding flavor to the performance.
The focus is on isolated movements of individual parts of the body with little notice given to the footsteps. Arms and hands move fluidly, like serpents or ribbons in the air. Unusual strength and control is demonstrated in the belly area. For example, isolating your upper abs from the lower abs, …sounds difficult!! Yes, it is very difficult, and I’m still struggling to achieve that.
Check out this performance. “Queen of Pyramid 2010” – Belly Dancer Dovile from Lithuania
I feel it is very similar to Indian folk dance…you have to feel the free spirit within you…just loosen up and the body flows like fluid..imagine the beautiful silhouettes created while dancing, must be fun for the audience!:)
I came across more blogs while getting to learn about belly dancing. Read more. I was surprised to know – originally this dance style came from India, the gypsies first travelled west into Afghanistan and Persia. Then some of them migrated North to Turkey and then onto Europe. Others went South until they reached Egypt and other parts of Northern Africa.
To be continued…until I finish the advance level 🙂 so stay tuned!