Belly your dance up !
Oriental by Danzza Dance Studio

Oriental dancing arose from various dancing styles which were performed in the middle east and north Africa.One theory is that belly dance may have roots in the ancient Arab tribal religions as a dance to the goddess of fertility. Others claim that in the pre Islamic Arabia, Arab women were the first people to perform this type of dance as part of religious rites to Hubal, the moon god. A third theory is that belly dance was always danced as entertainment. 


Belly dance was popularized in the West during the 18th and 19th centuries, when orientalist artists depicted romanticized images of harem lifestyle in the Ottoman empire. Around this time, dancers from Middle Eastern countries began to perform often drawing crowds in numbers that rivaled those for the science and technology exhibits. It was during this period that the term "oriental" or "eastern" dancing is first used.


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 much of belly dance there is a focus upon the core muscles of the body producing the movement rather than the external muscles of the body. 


Belly dance is a non-impact, weight-bearing exercise and is thus suitable for all ages, and is a good exercise for the prevention of osteoporosis in older people. Many of the moves involve isolations, which improves flexibility of the torso. The legs and long muscles of the back are strengthened by hip movements.