The Traditions of Belly Dancing – Part 1

The Traditions of Belly Dancing – Part 1

There is much confusion over belly dancing, where it originated from and what its true origins are. Some of this misunderstanding is because the dance dates back so far that the true origins are somewhat muddled and mixed up. Also, that belly dancing has transformed and mutated so much that the modern form of belly dancing that we all know today has taken influences from many countries and peoples.

For much of this blog we are referring to Middle Eastern Dance under one umbrella as belly dancing but of course this is not at all the case. Middle Eastern Dance is one of the earliest forms of recorded dancing, perhaps along with some Indian dances that date right back to ancient times.

The modern term belly dancing came from the West as a description of Middle Eastern Dance due to its movements. But these movements have their roots deeply cemented in the ancient past, but the dance form has fitted to the times it has been performed and worked its way seamlessly into new cultures.

The Birth of Women

There is a school of thought that since Eve, women have danced in some form or another. The movements have been generated that were natural to a female form and their energy. At their core, all female dances have somewhat similar moves.

An Egyptian Beginning

The Egyptians claim to have performed the very first belly dances, this is due to evidence of paintings of murals on temples and tombs. But there is similar evidence of such movements in early Polynesia and Africa that could also be described as a form of belly dancing. Egyptians today will claim that belly dancing originated in Egypt and that it is sometimes referred to as Oriental Dance.

This Egyptian theory may well be true, but perhaps a look at the oldest civilizations can throw even more light upon this debate. Roma gypsies traveling from the Punjab have also been cited with spreading dance wherever they roamed. So, they have been influencing many cultures and peoples in the way they danced.

You could say that the Middle Eastern style of dancing that is popular today is a mix of Roma gypsy, Egyptian, Indian, Mesopotamian and Persian sacred dances. To narrow our search down a little, we have to understand three aspects, namely the historical, cosmological and geological influences.

Two Roma girls dance during a gathering of the ethnic Roma minority in Costesti, 210 km (128 miles) west of Bucharest, September 8, 2011.

Understanding Oneself

To try to define original dance we must first have to have a grip on who we are, where we came from and how did we get to be here? How were the stars, planets and life created, as all this has a relevance and why dancing originated and why humans dance?

Where did rhythmic movement first start from? And where did its companion, music, pop up from? How did all of this come into existence? There are so many questions that it is difficult to know where to start with the whole thing and make some sense of it all. In part two we will attempt to answer these questions and get further to the truth of where belly dancing originated from.

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