What is Belly Dance?

The origin of belly dance can be traced back to ancient civilizations. For example, evidence has been uncovered to suggest that in Pagan societies 6,000 years ago, women were seen dancing similar to the belly dance to celebrate their fertility. 

Belly dancing is considered to directly reflect fertility and fertility cults, such as in ancient Egypt, when the belly dance was performed with bare feet. In this way, the dancer's contact with the earth and nature is not cut off.  Like in many ancient cultures, belly dancing was performed in order to be closer to mother earth.

Moreover, belly dancing can be traced back even further to tens of thousands of years and to the Lord Of Dance “Shiva”, where the movements are sharp, concise, deliberate and definite, with absolute control of body, emotion, breath, mind and spirit.  In the same way, the dance shows all elements, from the earth, fire, water, air, and ether.  An expression of all elements, from sudden to flow, to lift and balance to passion and spread across the universe (space).

Belly dancing over the centuries has traveled across many empires and evolved to include many different rhythms and arrangements. For example, the Turkish belly dancing style is more extroverted than the Egyptian style, with the Lebanese style somewhere in-between the first two. 
Belly dancing became popular in the West with the influence of the Ottoman Empire, spreading across many regions from England to North America and Australia.

Although jumping and similar sudden movements usually are not typically used in belly dancing varieties found in the Middle East or Mediterranean countries.  The body is expected to be one with the rhythm and move fluently like water.  

In classical belly dance, the hips, abdominal, and chest movements are in the foreground, while the arms accompany the body movements and rhythm as an extension of the dance’s expression. Belly dance is not only an art performance, but it is also a set of exercises that are regarded as highly beneficial to human health. 

A belly dancing practitioner who practices regularly burns high levels of calories and develops, firms and tones muscles in the ever region of the body, because belly dance actively uses every part of the body. 

Belly dancing also increases the flexibility and agility of the person. The dancer or performing artist must always act according to the music and rhythm. In this way, the sense of music and rhythm also develops.

The Belly dance is renowned as the type of dance in which emotions are expressed and lived with passion. The costumes and techniques used to act as the elements of emotional expression; hence Belly dancing, fed by a history of thousands of years, is one of the most aesthetic dance types.