Belly dance is designed for the female body, with an emphasis on abdominal muscles, hip moves, and chest moves. 




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 Eastern Dance



Raqs sharqi/baladi , is the Arabic national dance that we have come to know simply as belly dance.


Belly dance has nothing to do with cooking or cuisine, however, it is such a typical subject in the Middle East that I have decided to include it in my website.




Belly dance is designed for the female body, with an emphasis on abdominal muscles, hip moves, and chest moves.  It is a dance characterized by smooth, flowing, complex, and sensual movements of the torso, alternated with shaking and shimmy type moves. The focus is on isolated movements of individual parts of the body with little notice given to the footsteps. Arms and hands move fluidly, like serpents or ribbons in the air. Unusual strength and control is demonstrated in the belly area.

Belly dancing is natural to a woman's bone and muscle structure with movements emanating from the torso rather than in the legs and feet. The dance often focuses upon isolating different parts of the body, moving them independently in sensuous patterns, weaving together the entire feminine form. Belly dancing is generally performed barefoot, thought by many to emphasize the connection between the dancer and Mother Earth.

The movement vocabulary of bellydance is a mixture of styles from many countries in the Middle East region, Lebanon, North Africa, Egypt, the Arabian Gulf and Turkey. Each country has its own style and costuming changes from place to place and from time to time.






Harem comes from the word "charam" (ch as in scottish loch) which means "forbidden". Men who were not part of the immediate family were forbidden to enter the women's quarters when they visited their friends. The intent was to protect the women of the household from strangers. 

When festive occasions would arise, the women would celebrate with other women, and the men would have a separate party with other men. The two genders did not mix. In the afternoons, after feeding their men , women would sometimes gather at the homes of their sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, or grandmothers to enjoy some time together. In these informal get-togethers, they might take turns getting up and dancing for each other. 

In ancient Egypt it was associate with religious ceremonies and social events. Even today, it is still the custom for the bride and groom to hire a belly dancer for their wedding.  Egypt is considered to be the source of belly dance.


To the ancient Egyptians, dance was an essential part of their culture. People from every social class were exposed to music and dancing. The laborers worked in rhythmic motion to the sounds of songs and street dancers entertained passers by. Dance troupes were available for hire to perform at dinner parties, banquets, lodging houses, and even religious temples. Some women from wealthy harems were trained in music and dance. However, no well-bred Egyptian would consider dancing in public, as it was the privilege of the lower classes.

In later years, the image and function of belly dancers became a less-than-glamorous one as belly dancing became one of the seductive arts used by prostitutes.


Belly dancing costumes are colorful, flowing garments, accented with flowing scarves and veils. Costumes typically consist of a bra and hip-belt set worn over a floor length skirt. 


Instead of the skirt and bra, a dancer may wear a gown called a baladi dress topped with a hip-belt or a hip-scarf.  Brass finger cymbals (aka zills) are common, dating back to 200 B. C. as well as exotic jewelry, including belts made of coins that, in earlier days, comprised the family's wealth so that it might be portable in the event the woman needed to move quickly or flee.


Other accessories used during the dance are swords, snakes, vessels and even huge candelabras, complete with flaming candles. Indeed, the costumes add to the appeal.




Belly dancing has gained popularity in recent years . Some are turning to it as a way to exercise and reduce stress. It's been said that the movements help massage away tensions.

I was drawn to bellydance since youth, but decided to learn how to move in that intensely feminine way that is "bellydance" only 4 years ago.


Tal (see pictures), my former teacher and present friend, opened mystical doors for me to the world of belly dance. For me, Tal is the best dancer of them all, and I have seen a lot.



Tal was born to belly dance.







Belly dance use almsot all body muscles and has the ability to move various muscles independently. Belly dance can help us to build arms, shoulders, belly, legs and torso . 


Belly dance gives us a cardiovascular workout, strengthens our abdominal muscles and helps women preparing for childbirth, as the movements strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles .





  Me, in class







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