Ancient Art of Belly Dancing

What is belly dancing? How did it originate? Is it the dance of the belly or is it the dance of empowerment, healing and birthing?

In the ancient times women danced for each other because they felt safe and intimate in each other’s company. Women have a common bond with each other because they understand each other and they understand the female body. Women danced to express the joy in their body. They also danced for Gods as an offering in exchange for their prayers to come true!

The art of belly dancing is the ultimate dance of a woman where the unity of the body, mind and spirit occurs. The isolation of each part of the body; the head, the shoulders, the torso, the abdomen, the belly and the hips makes the body fit and strong. In addition the co-ordination of the legs while travelling and the arms keep the movements fluid and graceful. The movements are generally very geometric and above all natural. The movements are circular, infinity, horizontal, vertical wave like undulations which are serpentine.

The breasts of a woman are a source of pleasure and nurturing. The hips are the strength of a woman and her belly the source of creation. Belly dancing was used by women to make their bodies fit and solid for child bearing and at times this dance was used to increase fertility. When the energy moves, it creates space in the body, releases stress, disease and adds a sense of joy that comes from the spirit.

As it is said, we absorb music in three different ways; a) through the ears which is using the auditory sense, b) through the body, which uses the kinaesthetic sense where we feel the emotions and c) thirdly through the spirit and that is when our soul is communicating with us.

The belly dance allows women to unleash their inhibitions and release stressed emotions. To have a fit body, it gives women a sense of power. This is a dance of womanhood. A young woman is generally more appreciated for her youth and her agile and firm body. However the beauty of this dance emerges from the maturity and wisdom of a woman and it adds to the dimension of her dance, because a mature woman dances with more confidence and experience. To be able to embrace our bodies fully, regardless of the shape or size results in self acceptance. This dance is not about body size or shape although through practice, the body becomes slimmer and shapely but it is about celebration of life, since in ancient times women danced to express their joy and beauty. This is the beginning of empowerment.

Through most of history, women have been dominated by men for economic reasons. Men were more action oriented where women were more emotion oriented. Women took care of their families and paid attention to the unity and well being of their families through love. Men were hunters and women were care-givers.

The beauty of this dance enticed men and captivated them to feel the desire, to get connected to the harmony and love exuded by women. As women performed this dance for men they used seduction to add an element of sensuality. Women used this dance, as a power tool, through their curves and vibrations to quench the thirst in men. Even at times of subordination women balanced men’s swords on their heads at men’s feet to illustrate surrender. Later on the mystic seduction occurred. The rich and powerful men such as kings wanted the women to dance for them as a form of entertainment. Of course since then the art has evolved.

Once able to use the energy of the body, the body itself, the mind and the spirit in a balanced and graceful way, it would take us to a higher dimension and awareness. We become confident, vibrant and strong beings.

Armineh Keshishian

© Copyright 2011 Amineh Keshishian. All rights reserved