Get in Shape With Belly Dance

[rev_slider alias=”bellyfit”]

 Belly Dance and Fitness are two forms of self-expression that most people would not put in the same sentence, let alone in the same group. Did you know that belly dancing is a beneficial workout for many major muscle groups? Belly dancing is becoming popular due to its positive health effects. It is also known for building muscles in the abdominal region, arms, the back, and thighs! In this post, you can learn about the benefits of belly dancing as a form of exercise and how to stay fit through belly dancing!

Who Can Benefit from Belly Dancing?

  1. Women Preparing for Childbirth
  • Did you know that belly dancing is the perfect form of fitness for expecting mothers?
  • Belly dancing movements called raqs sharqi are ideal for preparing for childbirth. These exercises strengthen a woman’s abdominal muscles needed during the childbirth process.
  1. Women Experiencing Menopause
  • Women currently experiencing menopause can also benefit from belly dancing!
  • Belly dancing can serve as fitness for women and reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
  • Belly dancing increased blood circulation which benefits women going through “the change,” and can also boost self-confidence and self-image.
  1. All Women!
  • Belly dancing is ideal for any woman who is interested in expressing themselves through dance, using dance as a form of fitness, toning their muscles, and fixing their posture!

 What Are the Primary Health Benefits of Belly Dance as Fitness?

  1. Abdominal Toning
  • As many people know and assume, moving the belly is critical to belly dancing. The movements of the stomach that are completed in belly dance are perfect for tightening up those abs!
  • What woman doesn’t want to tighten up her stomach muscles anyway? Plus, it’s much more fun to take a belly dancing class than doing push-ups!

 

  1. Helps with Your Posture!
  • Raqs sharqis movements, popular belly dance moves, tone ligaments and vertebrae that are critical to having good posture.
  • Belly dance moves also increase flexibility through hip drops, circles, and figure eight movements.
  • Belly dance moves involve a repetitive gentle movement of the hips which helps the body to produce synovial fluid, which is needed to lubricate the body’s joints.
  • When completed correctly belly dance moves can also prevent future back problems.

 

  1. Lose Weight through Belly Dancing
  • Many people also lose weight by belly dancing!
  • Belly dancing is great for burning calories and can burn up to 300 calories per hour.
  • A combination of belly dance classes with a healthy diet and other aerobic exercise can put you on the path to successful weight loss. You won’t need to drink another protein or other meal substitute shake again!

 

  1. Mental Health Benefits
  • Many women also enjoy belly dancing due to the fact that it usually serves as a stress reliever.
  • The repetitious dance moves can be subtly calming, and release tension. By releasing tension in muscles and reducing any pains and aches, stress can also be reduced or eliminated.

 

Why Not Take a Belly Dancing Class?

Regardless of why you are interested in taking a belly dancing class, belly dance classes can serve as an aid to improving your overall health, tone your muscles, fix your posture, and reduce your stress levels! Belly dance has also been recommended by doctors for individuals in rehabilitation from an injury, due to its both mental and physical health benefits. Belly dance classes are highly recommended for both expecting mothers and women going through “the change,” as it provides unique benefits to each group. If you are interested in trying out a belly dance class and experiencing the health benefits for yourself, you can view all available dance classes on the website www.dancingmeow.com. Check out available classes and register today!

Please follow and like us:
error

Belly Dancing “Westernized”

[rev_slider alias=”bellywest”]

The Influence of Western Culture on Belly Dancing

Belly dance was not always seen as a “sensual dance,” however shortly after belly dance styles were introduced to America, many new forms of belly dance developed that were immediately considered to be scandalous. As with cultural music, food, and other cultural ideas, some cultural concepts do not translate well across international borders without changing. The same is true for belly dancing. The original meaning behind belly dance was quickly forgotten, and the primary reason for belly dance in America became entertainment. The original idea behind belly dance was to support expecting mothers and was performed as a fertility dance to bless the mother and child in the mother’s womb.

The History of Westernization of Belly Dance

The ideas for belly dance in America dates back to the 1800’s and 1900’s when Vaudeville theater was popular among the people. Vaudeville dancing displayed similar elements to belly dance including costumes, music, and “sensual” moves and dance steps. Some state that inspiration for American belly dance stemmed from the Vaudeville theater movement.

Belly dancing in America increased in popularity after the 1893 Chicago World Fair, when belly dance was performed in one act called “The Streets of Cairo.” Dancers performed belly dance routines the Middle East and North Africa. Reactions to the performances were both positive and negative as some members of the audience loved it and others were horrified. Some considered the dance highly inappropriate due to the expressive movements of women’s hips and torso. During this time period, corsets were commonly worn by women, and thus seeing a woman’s exposed belly was likely considered highly sensual.  As the 1900’s progressed Hollywood enhanced and encouraged the idea of belly dancing as a sexual dance. This further contributed to the taboo that belly dancing still has in some areas today, and especially in the west.

More recently, belly dance has been seen again in a more positive light and is not seen exclusively as a sensual dance. The feminist movement in the US in the 70s and 80s saw belly dancing for what it truly was, the idea that dancing can empower women. Belly dance still, however, is primarily seen as a woman’s dance in the west, and many still hold negative views about what belly dance is all about due to their lack of accurate resources about belly dancing!

Western Belly Dance Styles Today

Today belly dancing is seen in a better light, than when it first gained attention at the Chicago World Fair. Although belly dancing is still commonly misunderstood, it is beginning to become popular in the US among women. Women who enjoy belly dancing are interested in the original culture behind the dance and are interested in belly dance as fitness. Belly dance is not seen only as a dance for fun, for entertainment and for socialization. It is also being valued for its heritage and for its fitness benefits, much like Zumba, the now-popular Latino-style dance. Learn more about belly dancing, styles, moves, and its benefits by following our blog at www.dancingmeow.com. You can also register for belly dance classes by clicking on the “classes” tab on the website and finding a belly dance class that is suitable for you! You can come by yourself and make new friends, or you can bring a friend. Belly dancing is great fun and exercise for women from all over the globe!

Please follow and like us:
error

The History and Evolution of Belly Dancing

[rev_slider alias=”bellyorigin”]

From Thousands of Years Ago Until Today!

Belly dancing is most commonly identified in pop culture through its creative costumes, mid-drifts, and coin belts and scarves, as well as its iconic use of the belly in dance moves. Although the west may have developed a view of belly dancing as being a sensual dance for men, the origin of belly dancing is quite different.

Belly Dance Background: Ancient Form of Preparing the Mother for Childbirth

Belly dancing has origins as an ancient form of preparation for childbirth. Belly dancing was originally a dance for fertility. Sisters and other close female family members performed the belly dance around the pregnant woman to wish her and her baby well on their journey together. They also encouraged her to perform the belly dance herself. Belly dancing was believed and is still believed to have positive effects on the woman’s ability to remain strong during labor and childbirth.

How We Identify What We Call “Belly Dance”

The term “belly dance,” was actually a term that was developed later, but is now more widely used than some of its original names. In the beginning, belly dance was most commonly referred to as “Raqs Sharqi.” The term belly dancing has actually developed from a translation of the French term “danse du ventre.” Some historians state that belly dance has origins that date back to more than 6,000 years ago. There is a debate about where belly dance originally developed. It is believed that belly dance originated from the Middle East and Africa, and in particular, in Egypt and Turkey. It is also believed that belly dance may have been influenced by traditional Indian dances and may also have some origins in India. Some movements seen in belly dancing are also seen in Indian dancing such as head movements.

Belly Dance as a Form of Socialization

Belly dance’s background can also be traced to having roots in social events, such as weddings. In both the Middle East and Egypt belly dancing has been a part of rituals at weddings. In Turkey, belly dancing has been used also a form of entertainment, as it is now used in the west in entertainment as well. Even though belly dancing sometimes is now given a “bad name,” for being a dance to entertain men, its origins were about celebrating the fertility of women. Belly dancing serves many different purposes including celebrating the fertility of women, socializing, entertaining, and is also performed at weddings, even today.

Belly Dancing Today

Even today, the style of belly dancing and what it is used for depends on where the dance is performed. For example, in Morocco, traditional belly dancing is seen as a spiritual dance that recognizes earth, wind, fire, and water.  In North Africa, and particularly in Egypt, belly dancing is seen as a dramatic expressive form of dance, while in the west, belly dance has developed as a form of entertainment. Currently, however, there is a movement in the west to reclaim belly dancing for its original purpose: to bless the woman as she prepares to bring new life into the world. Now, belly dance is also seen as a form of fitness and self-expression. If you are interested in learning more about belly dancing or are interested in taking a belly dance class you can view available classes in the area at www.dancingmeow.com.

Please follow and like us:
error