Belly dance is a type of Middle Eastern dance. Originally a “solo, improvised dance involving torso articulation,belly dance takes many different forms depending on the country and region, both in costume and dance style, and new styles have evolved in the West as its popularity has spread globally.
The term “belly dance” is a translation of the French term “danse du ventre”, which was applied to the dance in the Victorian era, and probably originally referred to the Arabic tribe Ouled Nail dancers of Algeria, whose dance used more abdominal movements than the dances described today as “belly dance”. It is something of a misnomer, as every part of the body is involved in the dance; the most featured body part is usually the hips.
In Arabic, the dance is known as “Raqs Sharqi” (“Eastern Dance”) or “Raqs Beledi” (“Country Dance” or “Folk Dance”).
Belly dance is primarily a torso-driven dance, with an emphasis on articulations of the hips.Unlike many Western dance forms, the focus of the dance is on relaxed, natural isolation of the torso muscles, rather than on movements of the limbs through space. Although some of these isolation’s appear superficially similar to the isolation’s used in jazz ballet, they are sometimes driven differently and have a different feeling or emphasis.
In common with most folk dances, there is no universally codified naming scheme for belly dance movements.Some dancers and dance schools have developed their own naming schemes, but none of these are universally recognized.
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