Belly Dancing

Topics: Belly dance, Dance, Ottoman Empire Pages: 4 (1154 words) Published: April 11, 2006
History of Belly Dance

Belly dancing is the oldest form of dance, with its roots that lie in all ancient cultures from the orient to India to the Middle East. We can trace its history back Mesopotamia over six thousand years ago, with Turks, Egyptians, and Phoenicians all claiming this dance as their own. Throughout history, this form of dance has been performed by women, for women. In villages, women would dance solely for other women during family and social gatherings. The women would gather in a circle, showing off their skill, grace, and beauty by dancing solo or with each other. When a girl danced for the first time, it was her passageway into womanhood. In other cases, belly dance was performed as an aid to birthing. The sisters of the women giving birth would assist the new mother by undulating and rolling their bodies in natural, curvy snake -like movements to help with the delivery of the baby. As part of her culture, belly dancing was taught to a woman from a very early age, which became a dance as second nature as breathing. These dances spread from Mesopotamia to North Africa, where women began to dance in marketplaces to earn coins for their dowry, and on to Rome, Spain, Italy, and India. Each region developed its own unique style of dance.

In America, belly dancing was introduced by the famous dancers of Little Egypt who performed at Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Americans were intrigued by the exotic music and body rhythms, eventually including them in many silent films made just a few years later. Dance styles and costumes were given a unique Hollywood flame which also influenced dancers in the Middle East, thus evolving the dance form to a new level. An example lies with the flowing veils used to enhance the beauty of the dance which hadn't been documented before the 1900s. Now it is popular throughout the world.

Belly dancing is natural to a woman's muscle and bone structure with movements deriving from the torso...
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