Belly Dancing is a western-derived form of traditional Eastern Arabic Dance. It was promoted and invented by a promoter r and presented to audiences at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. While based on several different styles of authentic Middle Eastern dance, the costumes and many of the props were invented in the west.
The most iconic picture of a Belly Dance Girl was painted by Jean-Leon Gerome, a French painter and sculptor during the 19th century. He was among the first to depict a version of the costume now worn by western-style dancers.
The bedlah is the name of the outfit worn by belly dancers. It is comprised of a fitted top and a hip belt that covers a skirt or harem style pants. These outfits are usually embellished with embroidery, beads and coins and can be very expensive to buy. Many dancers have theirs made to order.
In the Middle East it is fairly uncommon for local woman to become belly dancers. In Egypt, most of the dancers are western women and the profession is looked down upon by Egyptian society. Egypt has strict regulation for what dancers are allowed to wear, and they are not allowed to show much of their skin.
These dancers usually wear a long lycra one piece gown. In other Middle Eastern countries, the costumes are quite a bit more revealing and tend to show much more of the dancer’s body.
Today, especially in the US, belly dancing is seen as a great way for women to get fit and tighten their core muscles as much of the dancing involves very controlled movements of the stomach, leg and back muscles.
Would You Ever Try Belly Dancing?
Most people don’t think of men when they hear the words “belly dancer”. But wouldn’t you know it, when I took a belly dancing class last year there was more than one man in the class. At first I thought that they were in the wrong class and was confused as to why they were there.
Actually, I didn’t even know if I wanted to be there. Taking the class was my friend’s idea, but I ended up really liking it as well.
It turns out they were just as good at the moves as the women, if not better at times. After the class was over, I wondered how many other people knew the art of belly dancing. I took some time looking on the internet for people in my area who performed belly dancing, but didn’t find many results. What I did find was a local restaurant that had a belly dancer who performed once a week during their dinner hours.
I was intrigued, so I decided to invite my belly dancing friend out to the restaurant to find out more. It was great to see a professional belly dancer perform outside of the classroom. A few of the moves were familiar to us, but there were many techniques used that we didn’t learn from our beginner class.
During dinner, my friend wanted to get up and dance with the performer, but I didn’t think it was good idea. That didn’t stop her though! We had a great time that night and I can’t wait to learn more about belly dancing.
My First Experience With Belly Dancing
Can you believe that I just came back from my first belly dancing class? It was so much fun and I can’t wait to go to my class next week. I never thought that I would be someone who would ever go to a belly dancing class, but after seeing the performance of a professional belly dancer a few months ago I knew I wanted to try it out.
I talked with one of my good friends and she agreed to go with me to the class, though she wasn’t sure she would like it or be very good at it.
I didn’t know where to look to find a place that offered a belly dancing class, but once I found a listing for a dance studio, I quickly found out that they offered a class we could take. And the bonus was that the studio was pretty close to my house. The class we decided on fit great into our schedule because it was right after work and is only once a week.
Another person that might be happy about my new belly dancing skills is my husband. I didn’t tell him that I was taking belly dancing classes I just thought that one day I would surprise him and show him all of the new moves that I was learning.
We didn’t learn too much this first week, but I can’t wait to practice everything that I did learn and to try new belly dancing moves next week!