[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hrough its hip movements and powerful shimmies, belly dance works on your core muscles and encourages you to embrace your curves.
Dance like the arabs
Belly dance is believed to have originated in the Middle East. But over the years, in the region, the dance form emerged as a `social dance’ that’s performed at family gatherings. As a performance art in its modern avatar, belly dance is infused with elements of Western dance forms. “The Egyptian version of the dance was originally considered sacred.
That changed with Egypt’s decision to promote belly dance to, in turn, pro mote tourism,” says Payal Gupta, director, Payal’s Dance Academy.
It was also referred to as the `dance of birthing’, being performed at fertility rituals by temple priestesses decades ago.Its dance movements were believed to help relieve a pregnant woman of her pain.
“One of the most natural dance forms for a woman’s body, belly dance is deeply connected to the womb. This, in turn, empowers a woman on a psychological level,” says Meher Malik, director, Banjara School of Dance.
When practised during pregnancy, belly dancing is believed to help the foetus move into the optimal position for birth. The dance’s smooth, fluid movements strengthen core muscles without applying too much pressure on them. “The dance technique has been used by Arabs for hundreds of years to condition women for child birth.
It helps activate the pelvic muscles and relieves back pain during pregnancy.It also increases blood circulation, thus helping the foetus get more oxygen. But certain moves such as shoulder rolls and hip circles need to be steered clear of,” says Chaitali Soparkar Kohli, a freelance belly dance instructor who also teaches the dance to expectant mothers.