Belly dance immediately reminds one of elaborately dressed voluptuous women sensuously swaying to the music. Read about belly dancing origination, its significance and variants.

What Is Belly Dance

Belly dancing reminds one of the elaborately dressed voluptuous Middle Eastern females, with their midriff exposed, swaying very sensuously to the music. The dance was originally called ‘Raqs Sharqi’ and is known to be among the oldest dance forms. The term ’belly dance’ is actually the Western name used for this Arabic style of dancing, which is said to have originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago. In European countries, belly dancing is also referred to at times as the Oriental dance.
Though having accrued from the Middle East, the belly dancing is now popular in other parts of the globe as well such as Africa, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and so on. Interestingly, the moves in belly dancing differ in the various countries the world over. However, the common factor is that almost all belly dance forms comprise isolated movements of muscle groups in the body, of which the abdomen movement is most famous. A lot of people will find this surprising to know that belly dance is also performed by males.
Significance of Belly Dancing
·        A lot many experts state that the reason why Belly dancing is normally performed barefoot is because this feature underscores the intimate physical association between the dancer, her/ his expression and Mother Earth.
·        Belly dance serves as an alternative form of exercise. Belly Dancing tones the performer’s muscles and enhances control over one’s body muscles.
·        Being just like an invigorating workout, the belly dance moves is such that they help the performer learn how to isolate and then work their body muscles during performance. This custom-made dance form creates a proper technique of exercising by integrating stretching exercises to increase flexibility.
Types of Belly Dancing
From the time of its origination till today, belly dancing has undergone a massive change. Belly dancing shifted with travelers to foreign lands, it got metamorphosed a bit to get gradually accepted by the people and culture there. As a result, we see different types of belly dancing in vogue in different parts of the world. Some important ones are mentioned below -
This is Egyptian country or folk dance and is also spelt as Baladi. Beladi is traditionally performed during marriages, festivities and at home. Most Egyptian dance teachers include Beladi into their classes.
Saidi hails from the folk traditions of Upper Egypt. Apart from Beladi, this is another variation of the belly dance that is generally included into Egyptian dance classes. The dance form is playful and also comprises stick dancing.
Ghawazee has cropped up from Egyptian Gypsy dances. The movements are swift with ample hip movements.
Fellahi is related to the farming communities of Egypt. This dance form is graceful, gentle and comprises a lot of shimmies and repetitions.
This is a Turkish dance, which is also popular in Greece. Karsilama is performed by couples or a troupe in a line. It is cheerful and full of fun comprising a lot of jumps, dips and shimmies.
Kalegi / Khaliji
Kalegi or Khaliji is another variant of the belly dance and is performed by women in the Persian Gulf. This is a joyful social dance and makes substantial use of the costume as prop.

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