Belly dancing is a complex dance form usually associated with the middle east. But the dance has a history of its own. Its history runs across many cultures and countries. From a dance of expression, it has also become popular as a fun way to keep fit.
A lot of the dance movements are connected to fertility rites, which is visible in the hip movements. It is believed the dance was brought westward from India to Egypt, Persia, and Turkey. The dance was performed by the Egyptian travel dancers also known as the ghawazi dancers. The Arabians called it Raqs Sharki, or an oriental dance or a ‘dance of the East’. During the Ottoman Empire, the dance was performed by both men and women.
Little Egypt is a popular stage name used in those days. The dancers performed in public stages and at weddings. It became a form of entertainment and cultural dance. Over time the dance moves evolved and started adapting making it a dance of celebrations.
Belly dancers usually wear a fitted top with a flowing bottom and a low hip belt embellished with coins, jewels, and sequins. Some dancers even use props. The dance uses mainly three movements, that is the Shimmy, Undulations and Hip Hits.
Shimmy includes the movements of the vibrating hips, from side to side creating vibrations. The undulations are rhythmic chest movement and a flowing hip movement. Hip hits are sharp and pulsating movement of the hips which make it seem as if the hips are moving away from the body.