The Traditions of Belly Dancing – Part 2

The Traditions of Belly Dancing – Part 2

The second and concluding part of our blog in the search to find the origins of belly dancing takes up on the theory of where we came from. As a fetus growing inside our mothers, we are subjected to the primal sound of a heartbeat and this mystery of life has been celebrated by dance rituals ever since time began.

Added to this, there are external cycles such as the stars, the seasons, new birth, growing old, and all these factors work to a cosmological rhythm. Heart beats, the way animals move, footsteps are all part of this rhythm and spiritual existence.

The Influence of Nature

Perhaps belly dancing can be part of all this spiritual existence, together with the majesty of nature that inspires humans to do what they do. The reasoning we try to allude to by this line of argument is that movement and rhythm come about by the human race observing and tapping into the world and trying to replicate it.

Human beings have intelligence, and therefore can create. The rhythms that echo nature and life and the sounds that the world makes can be replicated. Be it a stream gurgling or a waterfall gushing, mankind can turn these sounds into music and rhythm.

And with music it is natural to want to move in sympathy with the rhythms. Music is an inspiration to the senses that makes the body want to join in. Whether it is for pure enjoyment or for ceremony or even perhaps healing purposes.

Early Documentation

The earliest paintings of India, Greece and Egypt are to be found in sacred sites, temples and tombs. The paintings often depicted dance, and where they are to be found would associate dance with a spiritual activity something in a religious context. So, it is not stretching the theory too far to say belly dancing could have been formed as a religious activity of some sort or other.

These wall images point to the fact that dance has existed in the very early parts of civilization, and that the world of the religious and sacred was intertwined with daily life. In all of the main religions in the world today, dance has been at the very foundation. Starting with tribal style dancing it has been there as part of celebration or worship.

In Pagan times, dances were to celebrate the seasons, the crops, the divine and the animals. Also, to mark rites of passage, say of a boy becoming a man. To pinpoint exactly where belly dancing slots into this melee is extremely hard. In fact, it raises a question, do we really need to know the exact origins of belly dancing?

Without doubt Middle Eastern dancing was one of the earliest forms of dancing ever practiced. And as belly dancing and its movements were born from Middle Eastern dancing then all the evidence points to the fact that belly dancing was one of the earliest forms of dance. In conclusion we cannot date the very first actual belly dance, or actually say where it was performed, we just have to be content in knowing it was one of the very first forms of dance.

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