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Belly dancing is an ancient dance that can boost physical and emotional health and prepare women for pregnancy.
Belly dancing is one of the oldest forms of ancient dance. This dance is believed to date back as far as thousands of years, with origins in Africa, the Middle East, and India. In ancient Egypt this dance for women by women was performed regularly, and is most known historically for association with fertility rituals and birthing ceremonies. This ritualized expression comes naturally to the female form and prepares the female body for the stresses of childbirth and pregnancy due to the fact that women learn to use and strengthen the muscles of the hips and pelvis area through dancing. Unlike other dance forms which can sometimes overextend the body or damage bone structure, belly dancing is a low impact weight bearing exercise that strengthens the muscles of the torso, back, and arms. Belly dancing is known by different names, some of the most common being: Raks sharki, Oriental Dance, Middle Eastern Dance, Raqs Beledi, Arabic Dance, and Egyptian Dance. All forms of the dance incorporate swaying hip movements, undulating torso, and articulated isolations of the hips, torso, and upper body. Common movements include: hip drops, hip circles, shimmies, and fluid arm movements.
Physical Benefits of Belly Dancing
Bellydancing imparts the grace and beauty characteristic of the dance form on the physical body, by offering a wide range of physical benefits to the dancer.
Besides beautifying the physical form through the physical movements, belly dancing has been known to also serve as “dance therapy,” offering spiritual and emotional healing to women who perform the dance regularly. Through the repetitive movements, inner tensions can release. Although there is no academic research concerning psychological and emotional effects, women who were victims of abuse, rape, recovering from eating disorders, or terminal diseases such as cancer, have attested to the fact that belly dancing played a key role in their emotional recovery. The dance has been known to build self-esteem and encourage positive body image, relieve stress, assist in encouraging and embracing femininity, and increase the joy and creativity of the dancer.