Hi, Thank you for visiting my site. Dancing has been my lifelong passion. This fascination with the Arts came from early in childhood, where theater gave me an outlet to express myself in ways few others could. I studied in the school of the performing arts in Cali, Colombia performing formal forms of dance such as flamenco and ballet.
Belly dance, I discovered purely by accident when dining at an authentic Lebanese restaurant. There I met my instructor, Zylona. An authenthic middle eastern belly dancer.
What Is Belly Dance
It can be argued that belly dance is the oldest form of dance, having roots in all ancient cultures in the orient from India to the mid-East, derived from fertility cults of the ancient world. Belly dance began as both a religious and erotic form of goddess worship in the ancient Middle East, mainly as a fertility ritual for childbirth preparation or parties preparing a young woman for marriage. The function of these goddesses was reproductive, not just in the limited sense of human beings, but in the greater sense of the planet itself. Before Islam and Christianity, when the Mother Goddess was worshipped, sex and childbearing were sacred. During this time, many societies were matriarchal, and belly dance was performed by women for women. Belly dance as entertainment for men is simply a misconception.
Ancient traditions can still be found in modern wedding customs, such as when the bride and groom hire a belly dancer for their wedding, and to take a picture with their hands on the belly dancer's stomach. This is an obvious reference to the dance's relation to ancient fertility cults.
Belly dance is inherently designed for the female body, emphasizing woman's natural bone and muscle structure with movements coming from the torso rather than in the legs and feet. Belly dance focuses upon isolating different parts of the body, moving them independently in sensuous patterns, weaving together the entire body. Eastern dancing is different to European dancing in the fact that they emphasize muscle control as opposed to the European "step" dances. The act of dancing with bare feet connected to the ground creates an earthy illusion emphasizing the intimate physical connection between the dancer, her expression, and Mother Earth.
The French who found the dance named it "dance du ventre", or dance of the stomach. The Americans in turn translated the French version into "belly dance". It is known in Greece as the cifte telli (also the name of a Turkish rhythm), in Turkey as rakkase and in Egypt as Raks Sharki. Middle Easterners also call it "danse orientale" to distinguish it from the "balady", or country, dance.
Belly Dance Props
Belly dance can incorporate many kinds of props in the dance such as snakes, swords, veils, and candles. These items have magical, protective functions for primitive peoples that can still be found in the folk dances of these countries. Snakes clearly relate to the ancient mystery cults. The snake is a complex symbol which represented both male and female principles, and also immortality in the form of the snake eating its tail.
Belly Dance With A Veil
Traditionally, veils were used by the women in the orient for discretion in public. It symbolizes flowing femininity and creates a certain exotic mystery. True veil belly dancing in oriental Belly dance occurred only within the last century and was strongly influenced by 20th century Belly dancers of the West. Today, the best veil belly dancing is not found in the Middle East, but rather by the belly dancers everywhere else in the world. Though Egyptian Belly damcers enter with the veil, it is not wrapped, and it is not used in the same manner. The American version of unwrapping the veil is actually considered a strip tease move by some Arabs (because you are *taking something off*). The addition of veil tosses, double veil, and other veil work is essentially an American development.
Belly Dance With A Cane
It has been suggested that the women's cane dance is a "parody" or "comedy" of the men's dance.
Belly Dance With A Sword
Modern belly dancers also perform sword dances, in the sense of sword balancing.
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