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Belly Dancing originated in the Middle East. It can either refer to a musical style or to the Egyptian traditional style of Belly Dance. The music is an urban folk style where accordion and saxophone are prominent features. The music is either composed or improvised. As a dance style, techniques are characterized by isolated movements executed by different parts of the body. It uses both fluid as well as staccato moves.
Belly Dancing is perfect for expressing your femininity, sensuality and vitality.
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This dance style has many names; Oriental dance, Egyptian dance, Arabic dance, Middle Eastern dance and many more, but the phrase belly dancing has worldwide recognition. While this dance is today a form of feminine sexual prowess, it was a celebratory dance used by women to entertain one another behind closed quarters.
Origin of the dance
Many regions of the world lay claim to inventing the dance, and to this day there is no credible evidence that indicates that belly dancing originated at a specific place. Since ancient history of the Middle East and Asian tribes indicate that some of the body movements associated with belly dancing had been practiced by their forefathers, it is possible that European travellers might have been mesmerized by the moves and decided to bring them home. Regardless of the origin, it has been widely accepted that women who performed this dance did so initially for the delight of other women. Belly dancing in ancient times was common in formal occasions such as pre wedding ceremonies, fertility rites and dowry celebrations.
Still widely popular in North Africa and the Middle East, modern belly dancing moves are conducted to rhythm with music from these regions. Any music tunes that resemble Hindi, Saudi, Egyptian and Middle East pop are a great backdrop for the dance.
Requirements for the dance
Clothing – The first impression of a woman who is wearing a beaded bra, beaded fitted belt and lose bottom skirt is that she is a belly dancer. That is what the dance has evolved to be but in ancient times, since the body was not to be displayed during dance, women dancers wore lose every-day clothing. A belly dancer wears generally colorful items of clothing today; veils, scarves, beads and coins.
Instruments – belly dancing is best enhanced by music or a specific type of rhythm. Some of the instruments that are used to bring out the characteristic tunes that accompany belly dancing are the kanun, which is a 4-string instrument, the dumbek, which is a goblet-shaped drum, the harmonium which is also referred to as a free-standing keyboard and the ney which is a flute instrument.
How to dance
The torso is the main part of the body involved in belly dancing but the articulations of the hips enhances the specific movements. For most women, this dance comes naturally due to the structure of the muscles and bones. A belly dancer must master the art of isolating each of her body parts so that it is possible to move each of them independently. With practice however, dancers can be trained on how to make their bodies flexible to achieve excellent dance rhythm and movement. As a dancer gets used to the style, it appears like the music is originating from inside the body.