Belly Dance: Dance of the Countryside

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Belly Dance

Belly dance is the western word for the Arab dance. In Arabic, belly dance is brays sharqi meaning, dance of the countryside. Belly dance also deals with the movement of the torso and abdomen, which are the most dominate characteristic movement of this dance. There have been many theories about the origin of belly dancing, but most evidence links it to the Middle East and Mediterranean countries. Some say it was originated by the Phoenicians; others claim that it was introduced into Egypt by the Turks. Egyptian tomb paintings dating from as far back as the fourteenth century BC depict partially dancers whose callisthenic positions appear to be very similar to those used in belly dancing. There are also no historical documentation exists for the origins of this type of dance and that is why I don’t mention much about the dates. But during the destruction of documentation and execution of dancers in Arab countries, they were exiled or flea to the America and European countries, therefore, the western civilization discovered belly dancing. During the world’s Fair, of the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago of 1893, that’s when belly dancing gained its national recognition. There were original dancers from several Middle Eastern and North African countries, including Syria, Turkey and Algeria, but it was the dancers in the Egyptian Theater of The Street in Cairo exhibit who gained the most fame. The rapid hip movements and the fact that the dancers were uncorseted, was shocking to the people of the day. In fact, there were attempts by many, most Anthony Comstock, head of the Newy Society for the Suppression of Vice, to have the Egyptian theater closed. In the late 1960s and early '70s many of these dancers began offering dance classes. With increasing exploration of the East in the late 1960s, many people became interested in everything Eastern, including dance. Many touring Middle Eastern or Eastern bands took dancers with...
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