Belly Dance is primarily a torso-driven dance, with an emphasis on articulations of the hips. Unlike many Western dance forms, the focus of the dance is on relaxed, natural isolations of the torso muscles, rather than on movements of the limbs.
Many experts believe that belly dancing is the oldest form of dance, having roots in multiple ancient cultures from the Orient, India and Middle-East. Probably the greatest misconception about belly dancing is that it was intended to entertain men. Historically, belly dance was a ritualistic dance usually performed by women for other women, during fertility rites or parties preparing a young woman for marriage and, in most cases, the presence of men was not permitted.
Belly dancing is natural to a woman’s bone and muscle structure. The dance often focuses upon isolating different parts of the body, moving them independently in sensuous patterns, weaving together the entire feminine form.
It is generally practiced barefoot, thought by many to emphasize the intimate physical connection between the dancer, her expression, and Mother Earth.
It is beneficial to the spine, as the full-body undulations help lengthen the spine and strengthen surrounding muscles. It is also an excellent prenatal and postnatal exercise that tones many of the muscles used in childbirth.
Danced to a variety of music genres form Arabic pop to Egyptian Saidi to modern Tribal Fusion, Belly Dance is also a multi-cultural experience of feminine expression.