Belly dancing, once thought of as nothing more than an ancient art, has recently exploded in popularity in both the dance and fitness industries.

Belly Dancing - sideshowmom, morguefile.com
Belly Dancing - sideshowmom, morguefile.com

Maybe it was pop singer Shakira showing off her belly dancing hip shakes during her concerts, or maybe it was the appearance of Bollywood-style dance numbers on popular dance competition television shows. Regardless of what kicked off this modern renewal of belly dancing, hip shimmies and abdominal undulations are here to stay.

Belly Dancing for Fitness

Belly dancing incorporates these basic movements: hip rotations, hip shimmies, hip isolations, snakelike head and neck movements, serpentine arm movements, and abdominal undulations. These moves are combined in different ways to create an allover flow of body movement, so "belly" dancing is really "whole-body" dancing and is a fantastic way to firm and tone all major muscle groups while having fun.

A belly dancing workout also burns a large number of calories while remaining low impact, and it's a great way to strengthen the abdominals, obliques and back muscles without putting any strain on the dancer's back.

Belly dancing increases circulation, tones muscles, improves flexibility and balance, provides aerobic exercise, and promotes deep belly breathing (as opposed to shallow chest breathing) which reduces stress, increases relaxation, and provides more oxygen to cells and internal organs.

Belly Dancing as Dance Craze

Not only is belly dancing fun to watch, but it is just as fun to perform. Unlike many other forms of dance which are comprised of a strict sequence of moves with each individual movement performed in precision, belly dancing has no defined "rights" and "wrongs." Each woman is encouraged to be limp and flexible to the music, to find her own way and adopt her own style. This freedom makes belly dancing a very appealing dance form, especially for those new to dance.

Belly Dancing for Relaxation and Meditation

A woman belly dances first of all for herself, to awaken her creativity, to reveal her inner potential, to celebrate her body, and to express her emotions. Belly dancing is a kind of active meditation which focuses and centers the mind, releases stress from the body. It creates balance, harmony, physical energy, and psychological empowerment in the dancer.

 

Belly Dancing is for Every Body

Unlike other forms of dance which require dancer to be reed thin in order to look "right" and to perform all of the movements correctly, belly dancing is suitable for any woman's shape and size because it is an art form which embraces the curvy feminine form and al of its sensuality. It is a woman's curviness that gives belly dancing its true meaning. In Eastern tradition, thin women were not seen as fit for belly dancing because it is the full belly, the softness of flesh, and the ample round bottom which made belly dancing so sensual.

Getting Started Belly Dancing

Choose any music you like. Although eastern music is associated with belly dancing, any music which inspires the dancer is great music to belly dance to. Grab a hip scarf. The only costume beginners need is a belly dancing hip scarf and a form-fitting top. Find a teacher. There are dozens of belly dancing instructional videos online that can help beginners to get started. For more in-depth instruction, dancers should find a local dance studio which teaches belly dance, because working with a live instructor is the best way to master the art of belly dancing.

Belly dancing allows women to express their creativity, get in touch with their femininity, reduce stress and get a serious workout all at the same time. It's no wonder belly dancing's popularity has the west by a storm; belly dancing offers many health benefits while delivering lots of dancing fun. Readers may wish to read How to Belly Dance to get a step-by-step introduction on how to learn this fun form of dance.

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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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