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How did bellydance originate?





 Modern archeology is continuously using new techniques and technologies to shed more light on our past. Yet, at this time, no one knows the exact reasons for the original development of this dance. We do know itís been practiced for thousands of years by many different cultures for many different purposes. Itís been used in Goddess ritual, spiritual practices, childbirth preparation, communal bonding, celebration, entertainment, physical education, and simply for enjoyment.

Where did belly dancing begin?
 Again, no one knows for sure. There are indications that the dance was common in pre-Aryan India and ancient Egypt. However, new discoveries also support the theory that this dance is even older and was practiced in the Goddess cultures of neolithic Europe, Africa, and the East - 6,000, or possibly many more, years ago! .


FITNESS / HEALTH

Is bellydance good exercise?
 Belly dance is based on natural body movement. It is thorough and effective exercise for every part of the body. Because of this, itís great for all ages, sizes, and body types.

What other health benefits are there?
 Belly dance is truly holistic - a mind, body, and spiritual practice. It calms the mind and can transport us to a higher level of consciousness at the same time we are getting excellent physical exercise. This contributes positively to our over-all well being.

Is it hard to learn?
 The basic foundation movements are not too difficult for most people. The majority can get the hang of it within a few lessons. Getting to the point of comfortably doing a simple dance usually takes a month or two of lessons and practice. Getting good enough to perform publicly is another story. Itís harder and takes much longer to achieve, but itís sure fun along the way.

BELLYDANCE STYLES

Are there different styles of bellydance?
 Yes! But they all have far more similarities than differences. All true belly dance styles are based on the same dozen or so classic ďfoundationĒ movements. What determines style more than anything is the type of music thatís danced to. The three most commonly performed styles around the world today are based on Egyptain/Arabic, Turkish, or modern fusion/world beat music. BELLYDANCE COSTUMES

Do I have to wear a costume to learn bellydancing?
  Practice costumes can be pulled together from things you have in your closet. For example, elastic waisted skirts (especially long ones) can be fitted below the waist with a shawl or large scarf tied around the hips. Swim suit tops can be worn, or a blouse can be gathered up from the bottom and tied in a knot above the midriff. Dressing the part (and being able to see the hip and torso moves) makes the learning process easier and makes you feel like a Ďrealí belly dancer.

Are there different styles of bellydance costumes?
 There are many styles of bellydancing costumes, and that's part of the fun of the dance! The most widely recognized costume is the modern 'cabaret' style, consisting of many possible variations of a floor length skirt fitted on the hips (and/or harem pants), a hip belt, and a bejeweled or decorated bra top. A newly popular style is 'American Tribal Bellydance' costuming which utilizes layers of heavy ethnic fabrics and jewelry for an ethnic/fusion/Gypsy look. There are also practice outfits and styles that use Near and Mid Eastern folkloric elements. One of the best ways to get acquainted with the richness and diversity of bellydance costuming is to view photos, videos, and performances of dancers.