East 2 West Dance


Dance of the East
Belly Dance sometimes also called Middle Eastern dance or Arabic dance in the West.
                            

There are several different types of Belly dancing noted throughout history: Egyptian belly dance and Turkish belly dance. Egyptian belly dance is known for its restraint and elegance, whereas Turkish belly dance is playful and uninhibited.

Important dance moves seen in belly dancing are:

  • Shiver or Shimmy – a shimmering vibration of the hip
  • Hip hits – A staccato movement of the hips out from the body
  • Undulations – Fluid movements of the hips or of the chest and abdominal muscles in a circular or rotating fashion.

Brief History of Belly Dancing:

Belly dance was popularized in the West during the Romantic movement of the 18th and 19th centuries, when Orientalist artists depicted romanticized images of harem life in the Ottoman Empire. Around this time, dancers from Middle Eastern countries began to perform at various World's Fairs., often drawing crowds in numbers that rivaled those for the science and technology exhibits. The term "belly dancing" is generally credited to Sol Bloom, entertainment director of the 1893 World's Fair, the World Columbian Esposition in Chicago, although he consistently referred to the dance as "danse du ventre," of which "belly dance" is a literal translation. When immigrants from Arab States began to arrive in New York in the 1930s, dancers started to perform in nightclubs and restaurants the late 1960s and early '70s many dancers began teaching. Middle Eastern or Eastern bands took dancers with them on tour, which helped spark interest in the dance.

In 1987, a uniquely American style, American Tribal Style Belly Dance, (ATS), was created. Although a unique and wholly modern style, its steps are based on a melting pot of ancient dance techniques including those from North India, the Middle East, and Africa.

   

Many forms of Tribal Fusion belly dance have also developed, incorporating elements from many other dance and music styles including flamenco, ballet, burlesque, hula hoop and even hip hop. Gothic Belly Dance is a style which incorporates elements from Goth subculture.


Health Benefits of Belly Dancing:
Belly Dance is a non-impact, weight-bearing exercise and is thus suitable for all ages. It is a good exercise for the prevention of osteoporosisin older people. Many of the moves involve isolations, which improves flexibility of the torso. Belly dance moves are beneficial to the spine, as the full-body undulation moves lengthens (decompress) and strengthens the entire column of spinal and abdominal muscles in a gentle way.

 

















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