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What You'll Get
- $60 for an eight-week belly dance program for beginners ($130 value)
Whether done for fitness or recreation, belly dancing is an activity with a history as rich and fluid as its movements. Read on to learn more about this elegant style.
Five Things to Know About Belly Dancing
1. “Belly dancing” is a distinctly American term. As an ancient dance style with myriad roots, the dance has gone by many names through time, but calling it belly dancing is unique to the U.S. The term owes its origin to the French, however, who unveiled the danse du ventre (dance of the belly) at the 1878 Paris Exposition.
2. Many of the moves are drawn from nature. In particular, the undulating core and figure-eight movements have been likened to snakes—an animal often associated with fertility and rebirth. Many belly dancers also perform barefoot, which some consider a way for the dancer to connect with the earth.
3. Belly dancing isn’t only practiced by women. In Egypt, men have been part of the belly-dancing landscape for many years. In Africa and other Middle Eastern countries, especially, the moves of male dancers more closely resemble the motions that ancient warriors and hunters made to shoo away scary sabertooths.
4. These moves are still evolving. The most popular modern version of belly dancing might be American Tribal Style, or ATS. In 1974, professional dancer Carolena Nericcio created the variation, which combines several traditions from around the world. Unlike traditional belly dancing, ATS isn’t a solo performance rife with improvisation, but rather a group act with distinct choreography.
5. Belly dancing works the abs. In addition to burning calories, belly dancing activates many of the muscles in the core. It also makes for a low-impact, squat-heavy workout that tones the thighs and buttocks.
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