Enjoy the health benefits of belly dancing before, during and after pregnancy. Contact Science of Birth for an appointment.
I began to learn Egyptian belly dancing in 2000 and have been teaching it since 2005.
Learning this unique dance inspired me to research its historical and social context. So I began my journey exploring the history of female kind, researching matrilineal societies, how they used art in everyday life, their traditions and customs.
Belly Dancing - The Ancestral Mother of Art
Originally, there were sacred female dances in every part of the world, based on hip and pelvic movements. Dancing was the official form of praying, to move the body and the soul at the same time, as everything is one and united. The body was an instrument to rise spiritually as the dancers expressed a desire to leave their individual limitations and get closer to their Goddesses. (This technique is still used in some religions, e.g. sufi whirling).
Evidence shows a million year old female hegemony during the Paleolithic era: Stone Age 2.4 million years – B.C.: 11,500. Comparisons among different ancient language families, geological and archaeological discoveries, cave paintings, burial rituals and practices demonstrates the presence of such societies. These societies survived by gathering, fishing and hunting.
The deciding factor was the birth itself not the procreation and the family tree was traced on the maternal line. The matrilineal surnames were inherited from mother to daughter. These matriarchal societies were religiously motivated and their unwritten law was based on the Rights of the Mother.
If you would like to learn more about the mesmerising history of Belly Dancing please visit my BLOG!
Why the name "Belly" Dancing?
The name, Belly Dance is a mistaken label which came from the 19th Century by French soldiers. The reason why it is a mistaken label lies in the attributes of the movements.
The movements are hip, not belly based and in belly dancing not just the “belly” dances but the whole body is in continuous and harmonious motion.
Learning and applying the technique of isolation, meaning that the upper body (chest, shoulders, arms and hands) are able to move to a different rhythm from the hips using the dancer’s strong core muscles and the learned technique of isolation.
So, what is the real name of belly dancing?
The expression of Oriental Dance gathers together all of the dance styles from the Middle-Eastern part of Asia to North Africa.
The original, Arabic name of the style I practice is Raqs Sharqiرقص شرقي (the dance of the east) in Greece they call this style: Cifte telli and in Turkey: Rakasse.
General health benefits of belly dancing
Supporting a healthy posture
Belly dance helps to maintain a healthy body posture, caring for the joints and protecting them from injuries, which is why it is advised for women of any shape, size and age!
The basic posture of belly dancing is characterised by a long, neutral back, bent knees and with the pelvis tilted forward. This change of posture takes the weight off the spine, ankles, knees and other joins of the spinal column and strengthens the core muscles of this area.
Beneficial for orthopedic problems
The very characteristic isolated movements of belly dancing help to improve the back, neck and spine and solve postural and orthopaedic problems. Problems caused by for example, bad habits such as wearing high-heels or lack of stretching after training.
Improving blood circulation
Experience shows that blood circulation improves in the neck and head area, thereby improving the oxygen supply to the brain, so headaches caused by muscle tension may be prevented.
Strengthening arm and shoulder muscles
The use of arm and veil strengthens the whole arm and shoulder muscles. This dance is based on the isolation of body parts and women can gain a high level of flexibility.
Increase in Inner-wisdom
Belly dancers have greater body-consciousness and an increase in their inner wisdom by getting control over each of the movements and postures. After a few months, you can notice that you are walking straighter, pulling yourselves upright and holding your head up.
Belly Dancing your baby into the world
The ultimate Dance style for feminine health
Belly dancers work from the center of abdominal strength with significant use of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC).
Belly Dancing helps to relieve menstrual pain and discomfort.
Strengthens the pelvic floor muscles.
Enables women to experience a more conscious childbirth.
Belly Dancing is an excellent gentle restoring activity after birth. (Speak with your doctor about your re-start day)
Regular Belly Dancing can delay and decrease problems associated with menopause.
Regular dancing has a positive impact on emotions, making mood swings less frequent due to increased endorphin production.
The movements of belly dance are bonded with giving birth.
In some cultures, the following tradition is still alive. Women of the tribe dance around the pregnant woman to show her what sort of movements she needs to do to help labour and birth.
Morocco, a famous belly dancer witnessed a child birth in a Berber Tribe in 1967 and has written an article about it. Please, read the full article on her website.
The benefits of Belly Dancing for Birth!
Strengthens those birthing muscles.
Encourages baby into the optimal position for labor and birth.
Can relieve pregnancy associated back pain
Strengthens the legs for birth – which is extremely important to be able to maintain good stamina for the demands of labour!
Some experts believe that belly rolls can help to solve constipation and shoulder shimmies can provide relief from heartburn.
Belly Dancing relieves pressure, pain and positional discomfort during labour.
By Belly Dancing during labour you will remain active and upright which is the best combination for labour and birth!
The movements of belly dancing help the mother to not work against the contractions but to relax her lower abdomen, back, hip muscles and pelvic floor muscles and relax and follow the curve of contractions.
Positive impact on emotions and mood swings
I heartily recommend belly dancing for everyone who feels they can adopt this dance as a musical exercise which increases the circulation of feminine energy.
My Belly Dance classes are held at the Pavilion in Bournemouth every Monday 8.30 - 9.30pm!
For booking please click here.
Keeping fit during pregnancy is important if you wish to continue belly dancing or if you wish to begin learning it, please get in touch with me to arrange a free appointment as participation is subject to physical and medical fitness!
Flexible programs are available, both private and group sessions.
To find out more information about my Belly Dancing classes, please get in touch!
If you wish to take part in the whole Science of Birth initiative (antenatal classes, doula service and hypnobirthing) contact me so we can tailor the program to suit your personal needs and wishes.