Many see a belly dance or a dance performed by a woman with curving movements of the hips and abdomen as an exquisite treat that should be set apart for special occasions only. However, the assertion would look preposterous to those who have already learned how to “turn the key” with their hip movements and control “the wave” with their arms, those who can shake their bellies playfully to the music’s rhythm and project their emotions through dance. The above perform belly dancing on a regular basis for pleasure and keeping fit because the benefits of a belly dance are both physical and mental.
Some may ask a question: What is so special about the swinging of the hips? One can pick up a Hula-Hoop and let it twirl. As a matter of fact, a belly dance is not by any means limited to the swinging movements. A truly oriental dance comprises a variety of movements ranging from the multilevel “figures of eight” to “turns of the key” to shimming one’s hips and shoulders or/and rolling one’s belly muscles. Compared with the rotating of a hoop around one’s waist, a belly dance is not merely a kind of physical exercise, rather, it is an art.
Belly dancing provides a good cardio-vascular workout, focusing on the torso. It can effectively help to increase the blood circulation in the pelvis minor while building the muscles of the lower abdomen. All the issues are supplied with plenty of oxygen as you do your dance. You can get rid of your premenstrual syndrome for good by doing a belly dance regimen regularly. Uterine spasms can be relieved by steady breathing that accompanies the dance. A well-balanced functioning of the backbone can ease the tense muscles which cause headaches.
Besides, it is thought that belly dancing can significantly raise one’s chances of carrying to term and giving birth to a healthy infant. Belly dancing helps increase both flexibility and strength of the muscles which are not usually engaged in a woman’s daily routine. But the muscles become of special importance for a woman with child.
A number of myths about the benefits of a belly dance emerged because the dance is a late arrival at this country. Some say that a belly dance is suitable only for those with abdominal deposits. In other words, a belly dance is something for the fat girls who are desperate to use it as a last resort for knocking the body into shape. In actuality, a belly dance is arguably the most harmonious and feminine way of keeping fit. You can judge for yourself: performing the “figures of eight” with swinging movements of the hips can help build your waist elegantly slim; shimmying is guaranteed to break down the “orange peel” and improve the workings of your intestine at the same time, thus enhancing the appearance of your skin. Striking wavelike motions in the shoulders can strengthen your pectoral muscles and “straighten out” your backbone. People will surely take note of a way your gait has changed.
You are bound to acquire an improved sense of well-being, better body image and self-esteem by dancing the Dance of the East. Your weight, your height or the elasticity of your hips will make no difference whatsoever in this case because a woman’s individuality is the keynote of a belly dance. Even a standard set of basic movements of belly dancing differs in each particular case.
Let us assume that you took the first step. You enrolled in belly dance classes or bought a DVD to do some dancing at home. It is time you got a proper costume. For starters, it would be ideal if you could get sport pants, a fitted open top and ballet shoes. Please bear in mind that you will be allowed to perform a belly dance barefoot only when are able to keep full control over your body. An inexperienced barefooted belly dancer is prone to accidents. Your can wear your oriental costume for the third or fourth lesson.
Pay a visit to a special store if you can afford a proper outfit. Basically, a long light paneled skirt (a “mermaid”-style skirt) and a fitted top will do. A fitted hip belt with a fringe of beads or coins is a must. A warm-up is part of any lesson. A belly dance instructor will teach you how to warm up your muscles and tendons and straighten your backbone correctly. Once you learn the basic steps and techniques used in belly dance e.g. circular motions isolated in one part of the body, you will be able to move various muscles or muscle groups independently. Then an instructor will help you use all the elements for making up a dance of your own. You can memorize the techniques and call it a day. By that time you will have been fully prepared to continue training sessions independently.
A variety of props can be used for belly dancing:
- A veil (a piece of fabric) that is used in part of the dance to move about and frame movements of the dancer.
- A candlestick or candelabra (shamadan) that is part of belly dancing traditionally performed during a wedding party in Egypt. A lit candle at the top of a dancer’s head symbolizes the purifying force of fire. It is thought that a dancer who cannot perform the shamadan is not an accomplished dancer.
- A cane that symbolizes mystic power a woman holds over a man. A bamboo cane is decorated with beads and tassels, and therefore it sits firmly in the hand and helps improve the dancer’s arm carriage.
- A sword that is part of belly dancing which is the epitome of recalcitrance bordering on extraordinary sexuality.
Translated by Guerman Grachev