"It is the darkness that is the light, and the stillness that is the dancing"
This is the home of belly dance. A living world of Middle Eastern dance where you can immerse yourself in its movement and colour, its costume and history. So much more than dance and entertainment... its a unique living culture.
Greetings! Welcome to the world of Middle Eastern dance. It's Arabic name is 'Raqs Sharqi' (pronounced ra_s Shar_i ) in Arabic because the sound of the 'q' in Arabic is 'Qaulf” - (a deep throated glotteral stopish sound), meaning dance of the Orient; or raqs baladi, which relates more to the folkloric styles, meaning 'dance of my country' or 'dance of my people'. In Turkish it is 'Rakkase'.
Most of us know it as 'belly dance'... a name given to it by Americans who translated the name coined by the French, 'dance du ventre', meaning dance of the stomach. Still others know it as 'Oriental dance' which is the translation of the Arabic 'Raqs Sharqi'.
Dance is the movement of a body, as a means of expression, a non-verbal communication that can express more as a tool in certain situations than words. To express the abstracts, the subtlety of emotion and the extreme high's and low's of life experience. It is beautiful poetry in motion.
In this website you will be taken on a journey through all the aspects of Belly dance. I aim to provide you with all the information and inspiration you could ask for on this topic...
But most of all this web site is designed to allow you to fall in love with this dance and to inspire you to dance in love with yourself.
Belly Dance is the name given to a dance originating in the Middle East and in its original form, if that may be defined, is performed to Middle Eastern music. Belly dance is composed of isolated movements generated primarily by the core muscles of the body, combined with snake like arm and hand movements and it is increasingly taking on influences from western dance forms such as ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. Jumps, spins, travelling steps, sculptural poses, turns and beautiful lines are all included in this dance form.
Contortion also comes into belly dance like back-bends and splits, along with the incorporation of props that are balanced on the body of the dancer or used in particular traditional forms of this dance such as the cane in the Saiidi dance from southern Egypt.
Belly dance engages geometry that describes a higher order. The circle described by the hips, wrists, ribs and neck is a symbol relating to divinity, to perfection. The figure of eight or infinity symbol as it appears on the horizontal or vertical axis describes timelessness, continuity and unity.
It is playful and serious, a sensual dance. The Belly Dance has been described by Wendy Buonaventura as much like the intricate carpet designs from the East. Created from a fabric that does not hold itself in space or time, from the subtle energy threads of the body, an ethereal substance, that once woven and complete vanishes to the eye but lingers in the soul.
There is no one focus, every movement, every facet, be it sculpted pose or rhythmic execution, is beautiful in it's own and woven together these aspects create an overall tapestry that is itself beautiful as a whole; one pattern seamlessly choreographed into the next, laced together out of a variety of movements from slow, sensual, serpentine isolations to fast staccato accents and a drum roll shaking of the hips and belly.
"It was the suppleness of the serpent joined to the grace of the gazelle."
The movements draw on the wisdom and imagination of the body, it therefore means that any one can do this dance and that the dance vocabulary can be woven together in new and imaginative ways that are relevant to our day and age.
To re-enact stories past, as reminders of life's values and lessons, to breathe life into ancient myths and rituals, to illustrate a vision of the present or future, or just for the true pleasure of dancing one's body.
“To enter sacred time in the dance is to enter the eternal and timeless, which is identical with the here and now. To become one with all creation is the mark of the divine, and for man signifies paradise. This condition implies that the created world, and thus time and motion, are transcended, and the original union, stasis, is achieved.”
-Maria Gabriele Wosien : Sacred Dance
It cannot be said that this dance is easy to do, to execute the movements properly takes years of training, but the beauty is that there is no pressure, it is fun to do and once you've started you probably wont want to stop.
You have to let yourself go to the rhythms and emotions of yourself and the music, engage yourself wholly with it, the technical aspects cover only half of what it means to dance.
Take a moment to reflect on what brought you to this art form, what it is you want to learn from it, and what your intentions are in practicing it, for this focus will help you in mastering the art and in understanding, practicing and sharing it from your own personal space, it will allow you to understand and interpret this dance from a very individual view point which will strengthen your own character and enhance your skill in the dance.
Belly dance is wonderful for so many things...
We get as much out of the dance as we put in, so immerse yourself in it, become the Dance, be aware and conscious when you engage with movement and it will reveal secrets.
“In the dance man transcends fragmentation, which is the result of the mirror-trick that split the All into the many; and for the time of the dance he feels again at one with himself and the world around.”
-Maria Gabriele Wosien : Sacred Dance
Belly dance, is a mosaic of love, a dance for the goddess within, or however you relate to your own inner strength as a woman. It is a dance that inspires passion back into our lives if it has faded and reminds us to be aware of our bodies again, to be supple, playful and childlike, whilst simultaneously carrying and birthing the strength and power of womanhood.
It is a dance that honours the three stages of life, Maiden, Mother, Crone.
It can be danced and enjoyed by child and wise woman alike.
All information contained in this site comes from my own experience, training and study in South Africa and Egypt as well as reference from books and web resources most of which I have listed in the reference and recommended reading page.
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Su Haila offers belly dance class in all levels, size, shape and age. Contact Su Haila for more information or to join her classes via email: firstname.lastname@example.org …
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