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The Benefits of Belly Dancing

Updated on November 2, 2013

Four years ago I decided to take advantage of a belly dancing class offered at my school, and I have been shimmying ever since! I have also developed a true appreciation for the talent and dedication of professional belly dancers. Belly dancing is very difficult, but it is also rewarding and offers many physical, social, and mental benefits.

Source

Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem

Belly dancing improves confidence in your body and ability. Not everyone shows her belly, or wears tight clothing. There are people of all shapes and sizes, and everyone is loved and appreciated. As long as the dancer is having fun, the audience will be having fun too!

By belly dancing, you can also significantly change your body. Your natural curves become more defined, and legs, but, hips, and arms become more toned. What's not to love?

Improves Posture

Belly dancing strengthens the entire core. With core muscles for support, there is less strain on the lower back. Especially when belly dancing, it is important to practice good posture, with the chest lifted, shoulders down and relaxed, and lower abs engaged. Once you become comfortable dancing in this posture, it should carry over into your every day life.

Develops Body Awareness

All dance a styles will help you develop a greater body awareness, but belly dancing truly gives you a greater awareness of your pelvis, torso, shoulders, and stomach muscles. Did you know that you can move your shoulders without moving your torso or your arms? Belly dancing requires the isolation of parts of the body that western dance styles often ignore.

Improves Rhythm

When I began belly dancing I had no ear for music, and could not stay on a beat to save my life. Though it was difficult at first to dance to a completely foreign set of rhythms, it forced me to listen to the music and to really feel it.

Improves Strength and Flexibility

Belly dancing moves require a huge amount of muscular strength through the stomach, back, legs and even arms. You would also be amazed at the flexibility belly dancing requires in the pelvis, rib cage, back and arms. A good belly dancing instructor drills ice drills for targeting important muscle groups, and for improving flexibility.

Core muscles are strengthened, creating a "corset" effect which enhances the curves of the waist and hips, as well as protect the back and spine from stress and bad posture.

Expands Cultural Awareness

The cultural influences of belly dancing are fascinating! Not only are there many styles and expressions of belly dance, but each culture adapts the dance and adds new influences. Sometimes there are multiple names for the same move, which can be confusing.

Belly dance also demonstrates tensions between the East and West, which is rather fascinating to see. You can find comments on most American belly dancer's YouTube videos about how Westerners are not really belly dancing, and that they are corrupting the art by over sexualizing it.

You'll Meet New Friends

Belly dancing is a wonderful way to meet new people! Expand your social group. Haflas are wonderful fun and everyone is encouraging no matter what your ability is.

Reduces Stress

Belly dancing is a lot of fun. It is a great, fairly inexpensive hobby. The biggest cost is sometimes travel, and costumes if you begin performing

Belly Dance and Maternity

While many people assume that the moves are intended to make women better at sex, it more likely developed as a way for women to have safer, less painful pregnancies and births.

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