In my hub, Busting Out From Prudish to Erotic, I described a book I'd written in 3 editions. Here, I will include one chapter from the adult version of my book, which I have named If You Like Sex, Read This Book! This is Chapter 13.
One of the best aphrodisiacs is dance. Performed solo, it is an opportunity to express oneself in a sensual way. When done socially as a couple, it provides a chance to interact physically in a safe manner that doesn’t put too many demands on the participants.
Over the past half century, social dancing in America has faced decline. It used to be taught in public schools, but with the advent of freestyle, where the couple makes up their own moves and does not touch each other, it was considered less necessary. Social dance experienced a revival during the Disco era, and as a result, many universities and community centers offer what is now referred to as “ballroom”; they teach standards like swing, waltz, cha-cha, and two-step, and in addition, newer dances such as the disco hustle. Some also offer square dance lessons.
Folk dance is another form that has experienced a recent revival. Contra dance, which is like square but predates it, is taught at the actual event; newcomers arrive half an hour early and are instructed regarding the basic moves. English country dance is also taught this way. Contra dance sponsors special all night dances with midnight potluck feasts, while English country hosts elaborate balls. Both have camps that last a weekend, or an entire week. They also accommodate other forms of folk dance, such as Scottish and Zydeco. Sites are located all over the US and in numerous other countries; to locate one, contact the Country Dance and Song Society (116 Pleasant St. Suite 345, Easthampton, MA 01027-2759: phone (413) 203-5467: web address http://www.cdss.org/).
One major problem in America is, most men don’t like to dance. Traditionally, men were the ones who asked women, and he led while she followed; this caused an issue for those who were rudely rejected, or were poor leaders, either because they were not taught lessons, or lacked natural grace. Rather than risk public humiliation, they find it easier to simply avoid dance altogether.
I recently ran a poll here on HubPages, asking men who hate dancing what can be done to encourage them. Based on their responses I came to the conclusion that if their wives / girlfriends flaunted seductive moves, the men would be more likely to join them, especially if she made him look good on the dance floor. An unattached man was also more likely to approach a woman who did this. They’re cool with a woman taking the lead in dancing; the woman can even ask the man. (The way to do so is, instead of saying, “Would you like to dance?” she should tell him, “I’d love to dance with you”, since if he really wanted to dance, he would have asked her; however, he might be willing to make an exception in her case.)
These tactics work for individual cases. To increase men’s interest in dance as a whole, public schools need to once again make it mandatory to include it as a part of physical education, along with having a strict no bullying policy. The students may moan and groan over this, but they will be immensely grateful come prom time! It is also a skill they can use on many occasions throughout life.
So how does a woman acquire seductive moves? Take classes! This chapter describes two fabulous venues towards this end.
Belly dance is one of the most ancient dance forms on Earth. While it is mostly done by women, occasionally men perform it as well. It dates back over 6000 years, having origins in several countries throughout the world; mainly the Middle East, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and India. Even New Zealand and Hawaii have their own renditions of belly dance. Among New Zealand Maoris, the male version is referred to as Haka, and the female variant the Poi dance; in Hawaii, both genders perform the Hula. In all nationalities and modes, it is a uniquely sensual form of expression.
The proper name for belly dance is Raqs Sharqi; literally translated from Arabic, this means “Eastern”, or “Oriental Dance” (some also refer to it as “Traditional West Asian dance”). It was first introduced to the United States during the 1870s by Middle-Eastern immigrants. Americans named it “belly dance” because of the way the women moved their non-corseted torsos.
Raqs Sharqi was not widely known until twenty years later, when some enterprising people, including Thomas Edison, made films of belly dancers. Some of the routines were quite extreme, including a dancer using her teeth to balance a chair. Belly dancing was considered shocking to Victorian sensibilities; they assumed the women who performed it had loose morals. Hollywood did much to change opinions by creating films featuring it, including famous movies such as Cleopatra, The Sheik, and Salome. Even today though, many Americans see it as sleazy. However, it is important to bear in mind this dance form comes from cultures that view sexuality as positive, in the right context. In Middle Eastern countries, it was originally invented to assist women in childbirth; then it went on to be performed at fertility rite festivals. Dance has long been an important part of Arab culture; it was American Christian puritans who saw it as decadent and sinful. Originally, the women performed completely covered; the scanty garments they wear today are Hollywood creations. Either way, the main issue is that Raqs Sharqi is a healthy and wholesome activity which can be enjoyed by all; there is nothing shameful about celebrating sexuality when it is done by responsible mature participants.
Over the centuries, belly dance has evolved from an obscure dance form in relatively isolated countries, to a craze that has taken over much of the world. In modern times, there are two factions. The Fusionists blend the Egyptian, Lebanese and Turkish styles. They wear various types of outfits, including dressing all in black (modern-day Goth) and dance to a variety of music types; burlesque, flamenco, even hip-hop. The non-Fusionists believe in maintaining its cultural origins, including costumes and music. Since the form comes from so many countries, ultimately, there is no right or wrong culture; choose whichever one suits you best. There are also numerous shops which specialize in Raqs Sharqi implements; if you can’t find an outfit there that suits you, you can order online.
Besides enjoying yourself in a sensual way, belly dance offers multiple health benefits. Because it is a weight-bearing, non-impact type workout, it is great for people of every age, including the elderly. Listed below are five ways it improves one’s physical state.
It improves muscle tone and posture. Contrary to the name, belly dance works virtually every muscle in the body, not just the belly. The drops, rolls, and figure eights performed by the shoulders and hips strengthen the torso muscles, and keep the spinal cord flexible, preventing back trouble. Belly dance is a weight-bearing, low-impact exercise, so this strengthens bones, averting osteoporosis, and the risk to injury is low as well. It works the legs, as you do the walking and twirling steps, and it even exercises the arms, which are often neglected in workouts.
It prepares women for childbirth. As I stated earlier, belly dance was originally designed to assist women in childbirth. Pelvic rocking, which is one of many movements of belly dance, is taught in natural childbirth classes, and is also used to facilitate healing after birth. Belly dance can even help get the baby into position for birth, and induce labor. Using the pelvic muscles in every way imaginable strengthens them, which makes labor easier.
It helps with digestion. Working the abdominal muscles and moving the torso in multiple directions helps to move food along the digestive tract. It is often not realized how important workouts are to digestion, but people who are unable to exercise often have to massage their stomachs for this purpose. Any basic regime helps digestion, but belly dance is especially good towards that end.
It relieves stress. Burdens of daily life cause us to tense our muscles. Belly dance gently stretches and relaxes them, easing the cumulative effects of chronic tension. Since the dance form accentuates femininity, it improves the self-esteem of women as well. It also helps men get in touch with their feminine side.
It helps you lose weight. Belly dance burns between 270 and 360 calories per hour, depending on how vigorous the dance is performed. The effects are improved when combined with a healthy diet and a variety of other types of exercise, such as aerobics and swimming.
Belly dance has so many benefits, it has even been recommended by some doctors as treatment for injury. Those who wish to undertake it can find a school in their local area by visiting http://www.bellydanceclasses.net/ , which lists schools in every country. However, as with any exercise, it needs to be done in a proper way. Starting off slowly, warming up before beginning, and stretching after your workout, prevents soreness and complications from overuse of muscles.
Another type of dance one can indulge in to enhance sexuality is Burlesque.
As an art form, Burlesque had its beginnings in Italy in the early 1600s. It was a comical form of drama, music, and literature; much of it a parody of well-known works. Over the next few hundred years several countries throughout Europe came up with their own rendition; eventually it made its way from England to America in the mid-19th century.
Today, Burlesque refers to a style of dress, music, and dance, which emphasizes a woman’s sexuality. It involves bawdy variety shows, cabaret dancing, and strip tease. Traditionally Jazz and Big Band music from the 1940s are used, though it ranges from classical to 1960’s Go-Go music. Its popularity declined after the 1960s, but it has experienced renewed interest in the 1990s, and now many dance schools teach it. Women who take classes in Burlesque dancing report that it has helped them lose inhibitions, improve their body images, and increased their self-esteem. As one client put it, “The classes taught me how to be a woman”.
Suppose you saw a burlesque show on TV, perhaps a scene in an old movie, and it impressed you enough to try it. Where and how do you start? Is it difficult? Do you need any special talents? The good news is, most women can do burlesque.
To begin, simply take lessons. You can find classes in your area by typing “burlesque” into a search engine. If no school is near you, or you want to get a head start, following are some pointers you can practice on your own.
It is also available in Kindle version. Here, you can sample the first three chapters on Amazon.
First, decide what kind of Burlesque dance you wish to do. There are two routine types; the traditional style which involves removing clothing (if you remove only a few items, that makes your dance that much more enticing) and the chorus type, where you remove only your top and dance in lingerie.
Now, try some dance moves. For a shimmy, alternate moving each shoulder back and forth in a figure 8 formation. Putting your hands behind your back or in your lap will give you a coy look; extending your arms like a belly dancer will create a glamorous look. To do a booty shake, step out of your high heels, and standing on the balls of your feet, bend each knee alternately, shaking your hips in the process. Whenever you walk, make sure you step directly in front or behind your other foot, to tantalizingly swing your hips.
Make sure you can easily remove your clothing. It is also important to maintain a straight posture and avoid crunching; sit in a chair if you need to bend over. Always begin your strip routine with a strut, to entice your audience. Start with a glove peel by using your opposite hand to slowly slip off one finger at a time, then remove the glove, twirl it, and toss. Remove only as much clothing as you’re comfortable doing.
Regarding music, all you need is a good dance beat. Nowadays, any type is used; Goth Burlesquers even dance to heavy metal! Just make sure you can keep up; if the music is too fast, you’ll look harried.
Most of all, have fun! Remember to flirt with your audience; smile, wink, moan, gasp, be as seductive as possible. The purpose of burlesque is to entice, entertain, and bring out the woman in you, so go for it! Before you know it, you’ll have fabulous moves all your own!
Perhaps now you are now ready to invest in some clothing and props. You’ve taken some lessons, maybe even worked your way up a level or two; maybe your class is about to do a show. But what should you buy first? With so many options available, it can be confusing. Here are some items you can start with.
Basic Burlesque outfit. This involves a bustier or corset. The top should boost the bosom while nipping in the waist, and have lots of decorations and trim to the point of being gaudy. It should be worn with a skirt or frilly shorts. The skirt can be a tutu, short, or long; if it’s long, a wide cut, flowing chiffon will add much to your dance act. Another option is a showy push-up bra with matching panties.
Stockings. Fishnet stockings are practically standard in the burlesque world. Sheer nylons of any color will also do the trick, especially if they have a seam running down the back. It is best to get stockings held up with a garter belt that shows, rather than panty hose. Stockings are sexier, plus you don’t have to worry about them riding down during your dance.
High heeled shoes. The shoes need to have heels to help you obtain a sexy posture; they also lengthen the appearance of your legs and emphasize your womanly figure. However, they must be comfortable! If the heels are higher than you can handle, they actually defeat their purpose. It’s best for beginners to start off with a three inch heel with good support (i.e., no stiletto heels until you’re ready). Also, it’s a good idea to avoid pointy-toed shoes altogether, since they scrunch your toes, making them painful. One way to tell if your shoes will be comfortable for dancing is if you can safely run a short distance in them. Also, if you’re going to be taking them off during your act, sling backs are the best bet.
Elbow length gloves. These make you look elegant, plus you can remove them in a glove peel as part of a strip tease. In a truly sensual dance, they may be the only thing you remove. The gloves can be of solid fabric, or they may be sheer or of lace. Wear rings over the gloves only if you’re not going to remove them, in which case, they should be large, gaudy cocktail rings that are easy for your audience to see.
Props. This can be a variety of things; a feathery fan to flick or coquettishly hide behind, a boa you can sling around while swaying your hips, maybe even a can of confetti you can set off! A fan is probably the best prop to start with; you can add as many to your prop collection as you wish.
A good idea is to think of the many creative additions you can make to your routine, whenever you add a new item of clothing or prop to your assemblage. For example, while wearing a long wide chiffon skirt, twirl around a lot; with a short tutu, shake a tail feather or do lots of shimmying. Most of what you need can be found in lingerie shops, or stores that sell burlesque clothing and items. Some dance schools even teach students how to make their own items, like pasties.
Burlesque styles range from the 1800s to the 1960’s, and there’s even a current Goth style! Choose whichever era you want, cultivate your particular style, and go for broke!
Perhaps you’re daydreaming about being a burlesque star yourself. How far can you realistically expect to go? While becoming famous is difficult, you can still loads of fun in the process.
Learn the history of burlesque. This is important, so you know what’s really involved. It is also best to study its stars, viewing them on YouTube, and reading up on their lives and how they developed their stage presence. What worked for them will most likely work for you. Also, observe the glamor queen movie stars from a previous era; even though they weren’t burlesque, you can get ideas from them.
When taking dance lessons, include belly dance, ballroom, modern, and ballet.
These will give you the flexibility, strength, and skills to do really well as a stage performer. You can also incorporate those elements in your routine.
Look for reputable venues. A strip club is not the place to go to for a quality career in burlesque dance. After all, the best performers remove very little clothing. The best way to search for legitimate locales is to ask instructors at the schools where you attend. After you’ve obtained a list in your area, visit them and see how the shows are run, to make sure these are places where you’ll want to work. Burlesque includes acting and humor in its shows, so it’s important to know all that is involved.
Make friends with other dancers. You can connect with your fellow classmates, and also talk with the dancers at the places where they perform. Ask them what it’s like to be a burlesque dancer, and see if it’s what you would enjoy. Perhaps you can even join their troupe someday.
Take a job as an apprentice. Most likely, you’ll begin as a “stage kitten”, one who sets up and takes down props for the dancers. This will help you learn much about what’s involved in burlesque. Even though many of these positions are volunteer, it will enable you to make connections. Be sure you look good and act cute while you’re on stage, so you’re part of the act, and people notice you. This will help you advance. Other jobs are selling merchandise, promoting the club, and sewing costumes.
Invest in top quality lingerie. This is for you to wear all the time. The best way to put on good quality burlesque acts on a regular basis is to begin thinking of yourself as a burlesque beauty off stage. “Dressing up” all the time makes you carry yourself in a different way; eventually, you develop a type of self-pride, which will show when you do your act. The lingerie can be worn around the house, or under your business clothes when you go to work (see if your co-workers treat you differently!).
Whatever styles you choose to undertake, and regardless of your aspirations, dance is a fun, sensual way to maintain physical health and can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Exercise should be a pleasure; people are more likely to stick to a regimen if they look forward to doing it. Not only will Raqs Sharqi and Burlesque accomplish this, they will do much to improve the overall quality of your life.
Where to Buy
Belly Dance Store https://www.bellydancestore.biz/index.php
Corset Story http://www.corset-story.com/
Dahlal International http://www.dahlal.com/
eBay Belly Dance http://www.ebay.com/sch/Belly-Dancing-/152362/i.html
Love Burlesque http://www.loveburlesque.com/burlesque-clothing
Would you consider taking a class in belly dance or burlesque?
© 2015 Yoleen Lucas