Danse du Ventre: The Middle Eastern Dance of Fun and Fitness

Celebrating the natural beauty of the female form, belly dancing is beneficial to both the dancer's mental as well as her physical well-being.

Dancing in the Foothills - Bastet Productions 2007
Dancing in the Foothills - Bastet Productions 2007

Belly dancing is a lot of fun. The freedom of expression of the danse du ventre allows a woman is revitalizing. The exotic swaying of the arms, undulating hip rolls and shoulder shimmies of the dance are all natural movements of the human muscle-skeletal structure. Belly dancing provides a woman with the opportunity to rediscover and celebrate her own body’s natural form and capabilities.

Positive Body Image

Traditionally the ideal body image for a belly dancer was female. Today men are also seeing the benefits of belly dance. Thus, the new preferred body-type for a belly dancer is human. A good belly dancer will have her audience so engrossed in her performance that the audience will forget if she is over or under 30, pretty or not-so-pretty. Belly dancing celebrates the human form of each and every person. Belly dancing builds a woman’s healthy body image and self esteem.

Stress Reliever

Performing the intricate moves and dance steps of a belly dance necessitates great concentration. The dancer must focus on her performance routine thus relieving her mind of the worries and cares of her everyday world. As she dances she stretches and exercises her muscles. The combination of the mental and physical exercise the dance requires, makes belly dancing an excellent stress management technique.

Physical Benefits

The origins of belly dance date back to ancient Mesopotamia. Traditionally the dance was to hone a woman’s muscles to prepare her for pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum recovery. Modern belly dancing still utilizes the muscle groups in the abdomen, pelvis, spine and neck. It would be interesting to know if the women of ancient times also laughed as much as women today do when they first attempt the subtle moves of the belly dance.

 

In addition to aiding with the stages of childbearing, the other physical benefits of belly dance include:

  • Improved posture – due to strengthened back muscles, improved self-esteem and reduced stress levels
  • Weight Loss – belly dancing burns up to 300 calories per hour
  • Improved circulation – especially to the internal organs
  • Improved abdominal tone and strength
  • Strengthened pelvic and gluteal muscles
  • Prevention of lower back problems – strong abdominal muscles reduces the strain on the lower back muscles
  • Improved hip flexibility
  • Enhanced flexibility and suppleness
  • Prevention of Osteoporosis
  • Aids digestion – must be all those belly rolls!

Belly dancing may not be suitable for everyone. As with all exercise forms, the advice of a medical practitioner should be sought before attempting to belly dance.

Reference:

  • Cooper, Laura A. Belly Dancing Basics. NY: Sterling Publishing Co., 2004

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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