Oriental Dancing

It’s been a month that I’m taking Oriental Dance classes at the Nameless Dance Academy in Beirut. And until now, it was quite a surprise.

I never thought that it would be this hard, that there is so many techniques and steps and that it demands lots of practice to be able to perform few consecutive steps in a fluid, elegant and beautiful way. Being able to isolate the different parts of the body (hips, shoulders, chest, stomach) is not an easy exercise and having a correct posture can be quite tricky.

Some history and interesting facts about Oriental or Belly Dance

  • According to a Wikipedia article, there are many theories exploring the origin of belly dance:
    1. It has roots in the ancient Arab tribal religions as a dance to the goddess of fertility.
    2. It was always danced as entertainment, the movements of dancing girls depicted in carvings from Pharaonic times are typical of belly dancing.
    3. It was originally danced by women for women in the Levant, and North Africa.
  • In Egypt, 3 main forms of the traditional dance are associated with belly dance which are called by different terms. These are folk dance, classical dance, and cabaret dance. The terms often used are: Sha’abi, Baladi/Beledi, and Sharqi.
  • Although Western dancers view Egypt as the Holy Grail of belly dance, belly dancers in Egypt are not well regarded.
    1. Egyptians do not consider it a respectable profession, and most belly dancers performing for tourists in Egypt today are foreigners.
    2. Dancers are not allowed to perform certain movements or do any floor work.
    3. Since the 1950s, it has been illegal in Egypt for belly dancers to perform publicly with their midriff uncovered or to display excessive skin.
    4. State television in Egypt no longer broadcasts belly dancing.

Belly Dance and Health

Belly dance is suitable for all ages, and is a good exercise for the prevention of osteoporosis in older people. Many of the moves involve isolations, which improves flexibility of the torso. The legs and long muscles of the back are strengthened by hip movements.

It is said that Belly dancing has recently been re-popularized by Shakira. Check this video of her in May 26 Beirut concert, doing some very nice belly dance moves.

Why I like it?

I found that belly dance classes are fun, stress relieving and can help lose weight. I don’t think I’m gonna use much of the steps I’m learning in a restaurant or pub in Lebanon but it will certainly enhance my oriental dancing style. I really find it pitiful that most Lebanese girls rush to learn Latin dance and despise Oriental dance. Maybe it doesn’t go well with the prestige?

For me it was a revealing and fun experience and it would be nice if I can be able to copy some Shakira moves soon :P.

PS. No jokes of when I’m gonna do a “wasleh” will be accepted 😛 can’t take them anymore! LOL

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14 Responses to Oriental Dancing

  1. layalzgh says:

    i love belly dancing it is sensual, and a real celebration for soul and body (coz u need to feel the music) and it is special ! i used to have a class at uni for dance and i chose it for the belly dancing 😀 and like u said it is stress relieving and so much fun! and i always ask why lebanese girls join latin dancing and not oriental (belly dancing)!
    nice post! 🙂

  2. Aline C says:

    After I saw Shakira dancing at her concert I had a sudden urge to learn belly dancing 😛
    You’re right though, it’s hard and needs lot’s of practice!!!
    Interesting post!

  3. Chantal says:

    You made me miss my belly dance courses 😦
    I’m going back once I finish my finals!!
    As you said it’s kinda hard, but It’s a great experience at the same time, you’ll loose a bit from your tummy and ur hips will be nicer 😉
    This is a post I wrote a while ago:

  4. Aline C says:

    I’ve been Belly dancing for around 4 months now, it’s SOOOOO much fun!!!! 🙂 Love it!
    ke7 at the girls whos “prestige ma byesma7lon bil oriental dance”. Ino tango is fun, but not as fun as a derbake and moving to its beat!

  5. Toomextra says:

    Its funny what you said about Oriental dacing not being cool and not going well with the prestige, my friends here in switzerland they would die to learn belly dancing and go to an oriental night, too bad that in lebanon, home of belly dancing, people find it not cool and prefer dancing Salsa.
    Plus if you see all the belly dancers in egypt they are all chubby and this is why it’s beautiful, you dont want to see an anorexic moving her waist like that ! lol anyway good initiative and carry on . :)))

  6. Toomextra says:

    I just read my comment it sounds weird, i didnt mean to say that you’re chubby :s Sorry (we never met lol ) but what i mean is even if you don’t lose weight, Oriental dance makes any women look beautiful.

  7. Toomextra says:

    I find the last comment even more weird and wrong, sorry, i am sure you understand what i mean, french is my first language. LOL

  8. Marie says:

    LOL I totally get what you mean Rana, no worries! Yeah I don’t think that you can lose much weight (seeing all the chubby belly dancers :P) but it helps enhance the shape of the body if you practice a lot.

  9. Toomextra says:

    Yes of course it’s a physical acitivity afterall, you can erase my comments if you want, they are polluting you’re great post 🙂

  10. hipmix says:

    Beautiful post! I’ve been belly dancing for a few years and actually have a website for dancers – it’s basically an online magazine for the belly dance community. I encourage you to check it out! http://www.hipmix.net is the website. I hope you will blog more about your experiences!

  11. globalnuance says:

    Hey! great post. Searching in vain for a place to take belly dancing in Beirut. Where did you take your class? Thanks!

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