As an artist my days are spent pretty much standing in front of an easel, with the occasional hip shake when an especially moving tune overcomes my concentration. That pretty much summed up my physical activity until now. I remember as a child in Iran having danced to many Arabic tunes during family festivities and celebrations, but until now exercise and belly dance where never associated as a great way to exercise and have fun.
My first exposure to this new concept was through an expert in the arts of yoga and belly dancing. Rachel Brice's Tribal Fusion combines belly dance moves with isolated muscle movement exercises. "Moshallah" Rachel is not only beautiful, but she can move like a serpent! I just kept staring at her thinking how much I would love to paint her in one of her exotic costumes!
Since then I have come to learn that belly dancing requires a great control of your stomach muscles and is a wonderful way to tone your entire body!
Belly Dancing is an ancient art dating back to about 2700 BC and has been practiced in the countries such as Arabia, Turkey, Tunesia, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Moroco and Iran. Many variations of this dance exist, spanning from the tribal to the folkloric. What started out as a celebration of harvest and religion through ritual song and dance turned into a very sensual dance which is generally accepted as a fun past time in the home among family members.
In 1889 Turkish dancers performed at the San Francisco Fair and the term danse tu ventre (meaning dance of the belly) thus belly dance was adopted. It is fascinating to read about the evolution of this dance and the evolution of the often very colorful costumes the dancers wear. If you are interested to learn more read Belly Dance by Keti Sharif
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