Belly dancing is a well renowned dance throughout the world it is commonly referred to as oriental dance and in many Arabic speaking countries it is known as “Raks Al Sharks” which means the “Dance of East.” The role of belly dancing in the Middle East has been that of a folk dance for occasions such as weddings, births, community festivals and other events that would bring people together to a party.
Belly dancing was performed by women for women. Arabian women considered the dance to be sacred. As the word “belly” suggest the dance was taught to girls at an early age in order to strengthen their abdominal muscles in preparation for child birth. Muscle isolation techniques, through abdominal movements like hip circles and belly rolls, makes the mid section of the body seem as if it was dancing and hence the name “Belly Dancing” originated.
Traditionally the dance is performed in bare feet with smooth flowing movements which may incorporate techniques from the Middle East. Belly dancing is danced in Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran and Morocco. Each country has its own techniques and styles. Belly dancing has been known for more than 2000 years. Its music and costumes have changed but the basic movements have remained the same for centuries.
Belly dancing in modern times has become popular for women of all ages and all across the world. There are variety of dancing styles including baladi, classical, modern Egyptian cabaret and tribal. Belly Dancing may accompany different genres of music, the expression of interpretation of each playing an important role in the dancing movements, but all styles of the dance begin from a series of basic core moves and isolations incorporating every other muscle group.