Published in Fitness NOW Feb. 2006
Beautific Bounty of Bellydance
A kinesthetic story of culture and history, bellydance is an enlivening, sensual, and fluid dance form. In it’s archaic practice, generations have passed it down, sharing this lovely language of the body. The emphasis of movements are from the core/center of the body. These movements are slow, fast, sharp, soft, staccato, flowing, circular and rhythmic as we interpret the music. Through this sacred dance we increase our body awareness, develop gracefulness, and strengthen our muscles in a playful, creative way.
Raqs Sharqi means bellydance in Arabic. This style of dance has unique variations because its geographic origins scan the Middle East, northern Africa, Turkey, and Greece. It’s considered to be the oldest form of dance extending back thousands of years.
Traditional bellydance was performed to live music and involved the community. The dancers and musicians have an intuitive interplay between the musical rhythms and the kinetic instrument the body becomes in the interpretation of the music. Bellydancing was a way to celebrate life in all aspects from divination ceremonies and rituals to honor life’s passages including labor and birth dances, to marriage and death. Some say women would dance to prepare their bodies for childbirth because the moves strengthen the pelvic region. Although men bellydance, it is still an expression of the feminine mystique.