Everything you Need to Know About Belly Dance


February 4, 2012MiscellaneousNo comments

Belly dance is a unique form of dance characterized by sharp, rolling movements of the hips and abdomen. The true origins of belly dancing are debated among enthusiasts. Belly dancing is based on one of the oldest social dances in world history, originating in North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Belly dancing is both a beautiful form of dance and a great way to exercise. It’ll help you stay in shape and allow you to express your personal creativity. Belly dancing is enjoyed by many people all over the world. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of belly dancing is the isolated movements performed by the abdomen.






These belly movements may be circular, rolling, angular or vibrating. The basic steps involve the use of circular movements by the hips with a shimmy for the shoulders. Belly dancing would require one to be really flexible. The costumes are rather bold for the ladies. This is often combined with face veils and hip belts.
Several different styles of belly dancing are popular in the United States today. There are two basic forms of belly dancing: “raqs baladi” and “raqs sharqi.” Raqs baladi is social belly dancing performed for celebration by both males and females of all ages. These belly dances are usually performed during social gatherings such as weddings and parties. The second form of belly dancing, raqs sharqi, is a more theatrical version and is the most popular form of belly dancing
performed in America today. It is also performed by both male and female dancers.
1.Raqs Sharqi
 The term “raqs sharqi” means “dance of the East” or “dance of the Orient.” Raqs sharqi is the Arabic name for what Americans refer to as belly dance. This Egyptian form belly dancing is lighter, with many movements performed on the balls of the feet. Upper body movement is abundant, with plenty of arm waves and shoulder shimmies.
As it is a “show business” style of belly dancing, raqs sharqi dancers tend to wear bright, glitzy costumes with lots of sequins and beaded fringes. Elaborate, close-fitting dresses are often worn with deep slits on the sides to draw attention to the legs.
Music for raqs sharqi is composed using a wide range of instruments, in order to give dancers a wider selection of movements. The music, originating mostly from early Egyptian-Classical styles, consists of simple Arabic pieces to more modern Turkish tracks.
2.Raqs Baladi
 Raqs baladi refers to a particular style of belly dancing. The term translates to “native dance” or “country dance” in Egyptian Arabic. Raqs baladi is most known to be an Egyptian folk dance. Baladi is the most ancient form of Egyptian solo dance. Raqs sharqi is a by-product of this original style of Egyptian dance.
Raqs baladi is a social dance performed for fun and celebration by men and women of all ages, usually during festive occasions and social gatherings such as parties and weddings. It is an improvisational dance integrated with the rhythm of the music. Baladi dancers traditionally wear an ankle length, baladi dress with a coordinating hip scarf.
Baladi music consists of several distinct sections, although not every piece of baladi music has all the sections. Musicians as well as dancers typically improvise within a loose framework, which makes the style truly original.
3.American Tribal Style Belly Dance
 A recent movement in the United States, American Tribal Style belly dance (also known as Tribal or ATS) is a modern style of belly dance consisting of ancient dance techniques from North India, the Middle East and Africa. Tribal is often performed at community events such as festivals and parades.The preferred costume of Tribal dancers tends to be large tiered skirts or wide-legged pants, short blouses with plunging necklines, visible, elaborately decorated bras, hip scarves, turbans, and silver jewelry. Dancers often tattoo their faces and apply heavy makeup to the eyes.
The main characteristic of Tribal belly dance is group improvisation, although tribal does feature solos and duets within the group. There is often a group of dancers in the background, allowing a featured soloist to be spotlighted in the front.  Tribal dancers often use finger cymbals.
Several American Tribal Style Belly Dance troupes exist in the United States. “FatChanceBellyDance” is one of the largest  ATS dance troupe companies, formed in 1987 by carolena Nericcio. The company provides lessons, videos, music, costumes and more.

Some videos of belly dance:



How to belly dance:
Basic Steps
This is fast up and down hip movement. These are the steps where in you can do shimmy. Slightly raise your right knee and then let your right hip snap upward. Then raise your left knee snapping your left hip forward.
You can either shimmy both hips one after the other or one hip over and over by lifting and dropping a single knee.Shimmy, but with a Shoulder. This is shimmy but with shoulders. Try this out. Lean forward a little bit and then pull your right shoulder up. After you pull the shoulder up, dip it down in front of you.
Once it falls back in its original place, do the same thing with your left shoulder.
Make sure that you isolate and then move your shoulders without moving your chest.
This is absolutely imperative while you want to know how to belly dance step by step.
Slide is another of the steps you need to know when you are pondering as to how to belly dance for beginners. For the slide, start off with a feeling that your hips are on a horizontal plane. Now with hips and abs tucked in and knees slightly bent, slide your hips to the right and then left. Remember that hips should always move from side to side and never up and down, akin to a shimmy.
Simply put, this is a full rotation of your hips. The hip circle is done like this-Tuck in your hips and abs. Taking a small step to your right, push out your right hip. Move the hip slightly back on the path of a big circle, leaning forward just a bit. You need to continue the circular movement, so for that, push out the left hip, as if to complete the circle. End the move by leaning back, gently pushing both the hips forward.
Read more on belly dancing moves.
If you want to learn how to belly dance, this is a must know. The Arabic walk is a way to move in a group as well as in a solo performance. Arabic walk starts with snapping a side of your hips, while the other side will remain steady. Now, you would let that snapping motion let your other leg to move to a side or ahead. An important thing to remember here is that  you would always step using the leg opposite of the hip you snap.
The earlier ones, except shoulder shimmy was all about hips and legs, apart from the shoulder shimmy. Lets do another step  using arms. Hold your arms at shoulder height.
Ensure that your shoulders are tucked in and back.
Now move your right up and then back. This will start at shoulder and will move on to the elbow, the wrist and then ultimately your fingers. Repeat this with your left hand and try and keep the move as fluid and smooth as possible. When this movement is done in continuation, it resembles a slithering snake! Congratulations! Mission how to belly dance accomplished! All you need now is a little practice and improvisation. There are a few other steps like hip twist and undulation, which you would get to know as you go along! If you think self  learning is not your cup of tea, join a class and learn. It was hopefully not very tough to understand these steps and the beginners can surely pick these steps. Believe it or not these steps are great for toning muscles, working out the whole body and improving self confidence.

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