We get asked many questions on email regards all aspects of belly dance and with everything connected. Below an attempt to answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
For footwear you can go barefoot or with hermes dance sandals. For clothing, for bottoms you can wear Stretch leggings, yoga pants, or jazz-dance pants . On top a suggestion is Sports bra or other bra that offers adequate support. Also recommended is a Leotard or choli top so teacher can see your posture. A hip scarf or shimmy belt to emphasize and define hip movement.
Absolutely NOT! Belly Dancers come in all shapes and sizes and the beauty of this art form is that you can feel free and comfortable and around other women.
Yes! This is an excellent activity for toning the muscles used in childbirth. If you have any concerns though, please consult your doctor. I am not a doctor and if you are unsure they you might
be better off not dancing.
Many see it as a woman’s dance, celebrating sensuality and power of being a woman. Sohair Zaki, Fifi Abdou, Lucy, Dina, who are all popular dancers in Egypt, are above the age of 40. Many feel that you have limited life experiences to use as a catalyst for dance until you reach “a certain age”.
Whatever the costume, some kind of hip scarf is essential. This can be as simple as a scarf tied around the hips. It should be positioned below the hip bone. A triangular fringed shawl is great for practice or many ethnic looks. Coin hip scarves are nice for the sparkle and noise and are available through most dance suppliers.
The health benefits are both mental and physical. Dancing is a good cardio-vascular work out, it helps increase flexibility and focuses on the torso or ‘core muscles’. It is suitable for all ages and body types and can be as physical as the participant chooses to make it. Individuals would be wise to consult a doctor before starting belly dance, just as with starting any new exercise routine. It is also advised that one talks with the instructor to see what level his or her classes are geared for. Mental health benefits, for many belly dancers, include an improved sense of well being, elevated body image and self-esteem as well as a generally positive outlook that comes with regular, enjoyable exercise.
It is thought that the dance has been known through the oral tradition in Egypt since the pre-Islamic times. There have been many theories about the origins, but most evidence links it to the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa. Egyptian tomb paintings dating from as far back as the fourteenth century BC depict partially clad dancers whose callisthenic positions appear to be very similar to those used in belly dancing.