Belly dancing is a form of dance that's looked at more as an exotic form of entertainment than anything else. In fact, belly dancing can be a great way to exercise, stay in shape and de-stress. Unlike many dance forms belly dancing is easy on joints.
A DANCE form that's not much appreciated in India is belly dancing - it is much more than just an exotic dance. Belly dancing has constructed an image of seductive, airless moves preformed by veiled women as part of a gratifying evening intended for men. However, only few know that it has numerous health benefits. Moreover, it is no more a dance form that is looked down upon.
Belly dancing only came into light after the pop diva Shakira’s pop number ‘Hips don’t lie’. Aanchal Gupta, the Founder and Director of Arts in Motion, Mumbai, has a lot to say about this sensuous dance. “Belly dancing is one of the best dance forms as it relaxes your muscles, mind and soul,” avers Aanchal Gupta. The benefit of belly dance is that it is apt for all ages and body types. There are believes that belly dancing is performed or leaned by someone with a flat belly, but this is far from truth. Having a small or large belly, doesn’t make any difference. “There are women who are aged 45 have joined belly dancing classes and have done exceptionally well,” says Gupta. Belly dancing not only helps the stomach area, it benefits the entire body. Aanchal says, “It is just because of the name that people think that belly dancing only exercises the stomach area. However, it exercises your arms, stomach, torso, hips.”Belly dance is a western term for a traditional Arab dance, which is actually known as raqs sharqi. Most of the movements in belly dancing involve isolating different parts of the body like hips, shoulders, stomach. Moreover, in some of the movements, the stomach is isolated in three parts, thus making your body flexible. Belly dance drills your abdomen area and the muscles around your stomach also remain supple. The pelvic thrusts teach you how to move your pelvic area and exercise the pelvic muscles.In majority of styles of belly dancing the attention is on the hip and pelvic area. Vibration of the hips is a popular and basic move in this dance. Belly dancing does not put much stress on knees and feet. “One can also increase breathing and raise their heartbeat, which in turn helps in building your cardiovascular strength,” says Aanchal. Moreover, Belly dance keeps the joints mobile and keeps you overall fit.“When women come here for belly dancing, they forget all their problems and dance to the tunes of the choreographer,” affirms Aanchal. Belly dancing is the most graceful and beautiful dance. “Belly dance explores your feminine side and helps to relax your muscles,” adds Aanchal.Apart from health benefits, belly dancing also helps during pregnancy. “The process of muscles isolation is also considered to be very useful during child birth. In belly dancing you contract and expand your abdomen, which is useful for a pregnant lady. It helps isolating your stomach muscles and makes it flexible,” says Gupta.While belly dancing is not readily accepted as a dance form by most of Indians, its health benefits should not be overlooked. Let’s not look at belly dancing as an exotic dance form that it performed in a revealing attire, instead let's look at it as a dance form that helps one to relax one's muscle, mind and soul.