"It is the darkness that is the light, and the stillness that is the dancing"

TS Elliot


Belly dancing

What is belly dancing?

This term has grown from a Western perception and interpretation of dance forms originating in the area we call the Middle East. I think it is appropriate for the west to have it's own name for the dance we see amongst us today for it is a modification and evolution of ancient eastern dance styles.

Typically this dance form brings to mind images of what I would term classical oriental, what some call, cabaret style belly dance, what in Egypt they call 'Oriental dance', “Raks Sharqi” which is a westernisation of their own dance due to the incorporation of ballet moves and postures... a glitzy, showy representation of a dance that has it's roots in the more earthy folkloric and trance dance styles of the Middle East.

This sensual dance is an art form. It involves the isolation of different muscle groups, with a strong focus on the core muscles to produce and perform a dance that is particularly feminine in nature.

It requires discipline and training, imagination, the ability to improvise, attention to detail and the understanding of, and ability to convey feeling through movement and facial expression, especially the eyes.

On this page and elswhere on the website we are going to delve into what belly dancing is, its origins and various styles, the myths and stories surrounding it, using props and where and when you can experience this magical dance form at festivals and workshops around the world.

It is an ancient language, articulating stories of essence through the medium of the body. It is a dance for you. Belly dancing has had a rocky history, as have all dance forms, with the changes in our religious dogma.

Dance has been shunned and reborn throughout the ages, redefining itself, existing on behind closed doors or in secret spaces and today dance is just as strong and important as it has ever been, refined and distilled to the callings and requirements of it in this age.

This is why I feel Middle Eastern dance is so special because it has survived many ages and the eclipsing of religious, cultural and social beliefs that has forced it through many changes, and yet here it is today, thriving beyond it's borders in the hearts of so many.

Styles of dance

I have listed below several dance styles and related topics. Where you see a link this will open a new window to a page on that particular dance style. I'll be adding to it over time. if you have a suggestion or would like information on a dance style that is not listed then I'd love to hear from you... just send me a message using the form in the right margin.

Comments

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