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.
- According to a Wikipedia article, there are many theories exploring the origin of belly dance:
- It has roots in the ancient Arab tribal religions as a dance to the goddess of fertility.
- It was always danced as entertainment, the movements of dancing girls depicted in carvings from Pharaonic times are typical of belly dancing.
- It was originally danced by women for women in the Levant, and North Africa.
- Egyptians do not consider it a respectable profession, and most belly dancers performing for tourists in Egypt today are foreigners.
- Dancers are not allowed to perform certain movements or do any floor work.
- Since the 1950s, it has been illegal in Egypt for belly dancers to perform publicly with their midriff uncovered or to display excessive skin.
- 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