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Belly Dance

Belly dance is a term for traditional dance, sometimes called Middle Eastern dance or Arabic dance in the West. The term "Belly dance" is a misnomer as all parts of the body are involved in the dance; the most featured body part in raqs sharqi being the hips. Belly dance takes many different forms depending on country and region, both in costume and dance style, and new styles have been invented in the West as its popularity has spread globally.

Steps and Technique

Most of the movements in belly dancing involve isolating different parts of the body (hips, shoulders, chest, stomach etc), which appear similar to the isolations used in jazz ballet, but are often driven differently. In most belly dance styles, the focus is on the hip and pelvic area. Important moves like below:

Shimmy - a shimmering vibration of the hips. This vibration is created by moving the knees past each other at high speed, although some dancers use contractions of the glutes instead. Dancers also put one leg to the side and then shimmy is performed by vibration of the leg which bears the weight. Shoulder shimmy is also an important element of belly dance.

Swinging arms - important expressive means in belly dance and highlights the beauty and flexibility of the dancer. In many cases hands are used to frame around the the moving part of the body to stress the expressiveness of that part.

Hip punches - basic move. Helps alternate the weight on the legs and create impression of the swinging pelvis.

Undulation - rotating movements of the chest forward, up, back and down create impression of riding a camel.

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