Belly Dance Basics
Oriental Dance, also known as belly dancing is one of, if not the most sensual styles of dance. It is also one of the most beneficial forms of dance there is healthwise. In addition to the great calorie burning affect of belly dancing there are other health benefits that this form of dance has become famous for over the centuries.
Belly dance has a long and proud history dating back to the dawn of civilization. This style of dance has in its history been used as both an act of worship and an act of seduction. Not always in exclusion of the either as this form of dance is believed by some religions to be a boost for fertility of newly wedded couples.
Belly dance is a style of dance that doesn't require participants to be in optimal physical condition in order to begin. In fact, the low impact nature of this form of movement makes it an excellent choice for those who are not in ideal shape to begin with. This form of dance works the muscles gently with the jarring effects of impact aerobics and other exercise methods. It also works the belly, which is often the problem area for many who aren't in the best of shape. You should also find that you will strengthen your back through belly dance as you progress. This will also help with almost every aspect of your physical fitness routine. More importantly for those who are a little (or a lot) out of shape is the belly dance burns an average of 300 calories an hour. This means that if you practice one hour a day you are burning over 2,000 calories per week.
For those who celebrate their womanhood, there is no better form of dance to express that joy. Belly dance has a long history as a celebration of being female. From being used in ceremonies in the temple to being used to entice and seduce the unwitting belly dance is a celebration of simply being a girl.
If you are afraid to begin your belly dance lessons in a class full of other men and women you can always opt to purchase videos and DVD lessons. There are many of these lessons from which to choose, even lessons that focus on the mental and/or healing aspects of Oriental dance if that is where you feel you need to focus your efforts. Belly dancing is a great deal of fun in addition to being a decent form of getting much needed physical activity.
If you plan to belly dance, you should understand that the costume is part of what sets the mood or the tone. While you do not need all the bells and whistles, the general consensus is that baring your midriff puts you in the state of mind that is most suitable for belly dancing. For this reason it is recommended that you wear clothes that bare your belly such as low-rise yoga pants and a sports bra or some other belly-baring shirt for your practice sessions. This also helps your instructor see if you are making the moves correctly.
If you decide to partake in belly dancing classes, congratulations! You will be joining an historic group of women that date back to what many believe is the very beginning of time. You should also have a new hobby that is both entertaining and healthy.
Selecting The Proper Dance Shoes
If you've ever been to a wedding or prom in uncomfortable shoes you know the importance of this process. You absolutely must select comfortable shoes if you plan to be dancing for a long period of time. Having those gorgeous knock me dead heels is all well and good for the picture portion of your evening but when you're dancing you will want to be wearing shoes that you can actually move around in without wanting to cry. Besides who really wants to risk a mascara river for the after prom party?
If you want to be sure whether or not your prom shoes will be comfortable for the big dance event try dancing around the house in them at all hours of the day and night. Make sure that there is no pinching, rubbing, or blistering as a result or your will spend the vast majority of your prom night sitting on the sidelines rather than dancing with your date. The same holds true for weddings. Pictures are all well and good, so is making that stunning entrance. At the same time there is nothing quite like being the last one standing when it comes to the dance floor.
I am a firm believer in cute shoes. I am also a firm believer in having comfortable feet. Recommendations for heel height are that 2 inches are actually the best for providing arch support and foot health in addition to comfort. Yes, this means that this height is actually recommended over wearing flats. You'll also want to make sure there is plenty of room in the toe area so that your foot has a little breathing space without allowing room to rub and potentially blister. In other words a snug (but not tight) fit is preferable to shoes that fit loosely. You should have your shoes for the big event properly sized.
If you just can't seem to part with the gorgeous 4 inch stilettos you found on sale as the perfect companion for your prom or wedding dress, then you should at least consider a back up pair of shoes that will be much more comfortable once the entrance has been make, the pictures have been taken, and you lose all sense of feeling in your feet. It is quite difficult to make complicated dance step when the voice in your head is screaming "Ouch! Ouch!" with every single step you make. Your shoes will actually affect almost every once of enjoyment you experience for the evening there is no reason you should wear uncomfortable shoes and be miserable for an evening that is supposed to be fun.
You might want to check out dance stores in an around your hometown and see what they have to offer. They make shoes that are first and foremost designed to be danced in. They also make some very sassy shoes that are completely appropriate for formals and would be quite suitable to wear to a wedding or prom. You can find these shoes online though I recommend against this as you just can't get them properly fitted online and it doesn't matter how great they are designed if the shoes do not fit properly, they are quite likely to hurt your feet. The important thing is that you take the time to find shoes that you feel will be comfortable for dancing without sacrificing the look you are attempting to put together.
I Hope You Dance
There are many things in life we can do to show emotions and let others know how we feel. Some people sing, some people write poetry and prose, some retreat within themselves and hold it all inside. Others dance. Dance has for centuries been a way to express a wide range of emotions. It is an excellent outlet for the emotions that at times our minds simply cannot process. Dancing is a method in which you can work through those emotions and to some degree move on with your life in spite of emotional upheaval.
Believe it or not, many people believe that belly dancing (or Oriental Dance) brings not only emotional healing but also physical healing for some conditions. Dance is well known as a form of exercise but belly dancing is a type of dancing that is body friendly. This means that you do not need to be in the best of physical shape to enter into this sort of dancing. You will not have to worry about stress on your joints due to high impact moves that other forms of dance require. You should also note that the movements in oriental dance these moves are smooth and natural.
Among the health benefits you can experience through Oriental Dance are improved circulation, lower blood pressure, improved joint health, and the burning of calories. Some believe that in addition to the health benefits mentioned above that Oriental Dance can also help improve whiplash symptoms and back problems. If you are considering belly dancing to address these sorts of symptoms you really should consult with your doctor before doing so and make sure that you have a highly qualified instructor.
When it comes to Oriental Dance, physical healing isn't the only sort of healing that is often experienced. Many dancers also find themselves letting go of the stress and tension in their lives as well as some quite traumatic issues that have been in their past that may continue haunting them long after. For this reason, Oriental Dance is sometimes recommended for treatments of emotional issues as well as physical ailments.
There are vides such as Healing Dance that will allow you to learn some of the basic moves at home. However, if you have the resources within your community there is really nothing that can replace taking dance lessons with a group of women. You will find that these women come in all shapes and sizes and from all sorts of financial, physical, and spiritual backgrounds. It's a solidifying experience to join with other women for the sake of physical and/or emotional healing such as an Oriental Dance class will provide.
In addition to the Oriental healing dance there is also the African healing dance. This is a little more high impact in nature and focuses on healing through expressions of joy. This is a very uplifting form of dance and one well worth considering if you would like to focus on feeling happy and energetic and renewing your joy for living but prefer something that offers a little more impact than the Oriental style of Dance for healing.
There are also healing water dances or hydrotherapy that are often used in helping people with specific injuries. These sessions are low impact though there is some degree of resistance offered through the water for great results. You should make certain however that if you are considering this sort of dance you have a qualified instructor and if possible one on one attention.
For many common ailments, there is a good chance that some form of dance exists that could aid you in recovering from your ailment. Additionally, there are often classes offered for groups in your area. If you are considering learning to dance in order to improve your quality of life or just your enjoyment of life in general, I for one hope you dance.
The Incredible Importance Of Dance
Throughout the history of the world, dance has played a vital role in some of the most important and life altering celebrations and ceremonies that have existed. Battles have been fought and won immediately following weapons dances, Kingdoms have been one and lost and celebrated with dances. Kings and Monarchs have been crowned then celebrated with dances, and marriages have been consummated with dances of another kind.
Dance has always been at the center of important events until recent history when it would seem that dance and the importance of dance to morale has been lost somewhere in the process. Dance these days seems to be limited to certain people in certain circumstances or only to those who engage in the art of dance for the entertainment of others rather than the simple joy of dancing for the sake of dancing.
Dance is one of those things that should not be a footnote in the journals of the history of the world. When mankind looses the ability to dance for joy, there really is no reason for the race of mankind to continue on. The ability to dance, as an outward expression of emotion is one of those rare things that separates a man from a beast.
Though the importance of dance seems to have been misplaced in the last century or so, we are seeing a rebirth of sorts for the love of dance and finally beginning to understand some of the more important issues that dance addresses. It is far more than something meant to entertain spectators. It should also entertain those that are doing the dancing.
In addition to the entertainment aspect of dance, which should not be diminished, dance is also a physical activity. We live in a world where the expected lifespan of our children, is shorter than the lifespan of those who are already adults. The primary reason for this is a lack of physical fitness and an over abundance of weight. We need to lead by example and show our children that it is important to do little things that get us off our seats and moving around. Dance is a great way to do exactly that.
Beyond this however, dance has other fitness benefits. By increasing your muscle tone and your blood flow by dancing you are giving your heart a 'battery boost' so to speak. Doing this on a regular basis will lead your heart to be a much healthier heart than if you were to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Dance also relieves stress and releases endorphins if your working up a good sweat so to speak. This makes you feel happy and relieves and reduces instances of depression.
Another great benefit of dance to those who care is the fact that it increases muscle tone and gives your body a longer and leaner look over time and with consistent, disciplined training. Some have also noticed a renewed sense of grace and constantly increasing self-confidence.
Of course, if these reasons aren't enough to convince you of the important role that dance can play in your life as well as in society then perhaps you should just get out there and dance. Try it out, see how much fun it is to dance for no reason other than to dance and then try to explain why we as a society do not need to engage in such activities a little more often.
Ballroom Dancing Is Making Waves
Until recently, ballroom dancing often brought about mental images of elderly couples dancing two inches from their walkers. However, in recent years, ballroom dancing has developed a new, hipper, sexier image and people of all ages are standing up and paying attention.
Movies such as Strictly Ballroom and Shall We Dance have contributed greatly to the newer kinder image that ballroom dancing is developing in the United States. As an art form, ballroom dance is a beautiful sight to behold. Particularly when watching those participate on a competitive level.
Because of the rigorous training that is involved in competitive ballroom dancing, many couples that participate often consider this to be a sport more than a style of dance or manner of artistic expression. The term DanceSport is often used in reference to ballroom dancing in the International Style.
There are many styles of dance that fall under the banner of ballroom dancing. Some of these dances are often considered to be the most beautiful to watch as well as among the most sensual styles of dance on the planet. Only you can decide for yourself if ballroom dance is something that might interest you. I do, however, encourage you to take stock of the various styles and themes before unilaterally deciding to rule out all ballroom dance as a possible interest.
Under the International Style of ballroom dance there are two main categories of dance. They are Standard and Latin. The Standard style is typically hallmarked by Fred and Ginger sort of attire. By this I mean that the style of dress is very formal with men in coats with flowing tails and vests while the women wear very elegant gowns as part of their costumes. Latin dance is far more sensual in music, mood, and attire. Men wear tight fitting garments and women wear very little.
Not only is the style of dance between Standard and Latin very different but also the styles of dance. In Standard ballroom dancing you will find the following dances: the Quickstep, the Slow Foxtrot, the Tango, the Viennese Waltz, and the Waltz. The Tango for many is the highlight of the Standard event while others have a deep appreciation for the technical qualities of the many Standard dances of ballroom dancing.
For the younger generation, the Latin portion of competitions is the eagerly anticipated event. The style of dance is very exotic and emotional as well as incredibly beautiful to watch. The mood this style of dance brings not only to the dancers but also to the audience is almost palpable. The fan favorites of Latin dance include the Cha Cha, Paso Doble, the Rumba, the Samba, and Jive dance. This form of dance is certainly in keeping with the idea that dance is quickly becoming a sport. The energy required for these dances is phenomenal as is the fitness level required in order to wear the costumes.
The American standard when it comes to dance is a little different than the International Style. The two categories for American Style are Smooth and Rhythm. There are other differences as well. In International Style the couples are required to remain in a closed formation. For American Style ballroom dance these requirements are somewhat relaxed in order to allow for creative use of footwork. The step patterns for Latin or Rhythm dance are also slightly different than in the International Style of ballroom dancing though the sensuality of the music, costumes, and movements are very much the same.
The smooth portion of the American Style of ballroom dance includes the Foxtrot, the Tango, the Viennese Waltz, and the Waltz.
In American Style Ballroom dance the Rhythm portion of the dance includes the following: the Bolero, the Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, the Mambo, and the Rumba. The audience still enjoys the intensity of Latin dance and Latin influence though there are other influences as well. These are still a much anticipated audience favorite in most competitions.
As you can see, ballroom dance has taken on a new intensity in recent years. If you have preconceived ideas of what ballroom dance really is, it is time you saw for yourself how sensual this style of dance can really be.
Dance For Fun
We all have things in life we love to do. Some of these things we love more than others. Dancing is something that many of us, as we age, forget to make the time to enjoy. However, dancing is one of those simple pleasures in life that can also remind us to smile, to play, to spin around until we get dizzy, and most importantly to enjoy the simplicity of having fun without the worry of work, family, or finances getting in the way.
It costs very little in most homes to simply turn the radio on, draw the shades and dance. You can dance with your significant other, your lifelong partner, and even your children. You do not have to worry about anyone watching and if they are watching you should take pity that they are spending their time worrying about what you are doing rather than dancing around and enjoying life to its fullest.
Native Americans had the right idea when it comes to dancing. Let the beat be your guide and simply dance. They danced as a means of worship, to express submission to their gods, to exalt their gods, to display their joy, and as an outward expression of grief. They danced for love and they danced for war. Dancing to them was as natural as walking is to many of us and important means of expressing themselves not only as individual people but also as part of a larger and unified group.
If you have never danced for fun, it's time to check out the various styles of dance and see what appeals to you as a style of dance. There are many types of dance and many different styles of music for those various styles.
Line dancing is a style of dancing in which dancers line up and dance together by making the same dance steps at the same time. It has swept not only the nation but is quickly making its way around the world as an excellent source of dancing fun. It's also a great way to socialize and meet new people. While line dancing was primarily limited to country music in the beginning it has quickly made its way into other styles of music as well. Many bars, dance halls, and clubs will offer line dancing lessons on slow business nights in order to encourage extra business. Line dancing can be enjoyed by both men and women.
This style of dance has a rather long history and has experienced a good degree of evolution over the past couple of decades. While it was once reserved for hoe downs and such square dancing is quickly becoming a hobby for many people across America and a great way to spend an evening and get to know others who share this hobby. This style of dancing is best enjoyed by couples and can be such great fun if you let your hair down a bit while participating.
Belly dancing can be enjoyed by men and women though it is most commonly associated with women. Unless you include the appreciation that goes alone with watching rather than participating and in that case the men may actually outnumber the women. Belly dancing is a very exotic and erotic form of dance that is almost always an audience thriller. It may take years to perfect your belly dancing moves and many study this style of dance their entire lives but it is a great physical activity that is a lot of fun.
Dancing for fun is not only the best reason to dance by far, but it is far too often not the reason that people dance. People dance for competition, for exercise, and for many other reasons but not nearly often enough do we make the moves simply for the pleasure of doing so. If I could make one suggestion to everyone reading it is this. Go out and dance for the sheer joy of dancing.
Why Not Dance
There are some religious taboos when it comes to dance other than religious reasons why on earth would anyone not want to experience the mind and body renewing energy that results from dancing? Truthfully, not all dancing involves the wearing of pink tutus and many forms of dance are quite masculine in nature so preserving masculinity cannot in any way be an adequate excuse for not dancing.
When it comes to dance there are many interesting and amazing styles of dance that span the globe. From the weapon dances of old (which are a perfect display of virility and masculinity though not widely practiced today other than in ceremonial dance) to the grace and beauty of ballet or ballroom dancing there is almost certain to be some form of dance that should appeal to almost anyone on the planet.
Native Americans had an excellent attitude and ideals when it comes to dancing. They danced for almost any reason and let the beat of the drum serve as their guiding spirit. Native Americans danced for worship, for rain, for joy, for grief, and to prepare for war. Their dances were heartfelt and as much a part of their individual natures as it was their tribal identities. Dancing was an essential part of their culture and heritage and is still passed on today though to a much smaller degree.
While some religions discourage dance, others embrace dance as a form of worship and commitment to their deities. Some encourage dance as an expression of praise. Others dance for the joy of the blessings and bounty of their gods or in submission to their gods. Regardless the fact remains that dance plays a vital role in many of the world's religions. If you are a believer, I can think of few better reasons to dance than to express your beliefs in a physical form.
Some people dance simply because they like music and enjoy watching other people dance. There are all kinds of fun dancing styles that can be practiced alone, as a couple, or as a part of a much larger group. In the United States line dancing and square dancing are excellent ways to dance as part of a larger group as well as many types of competitive dancing and as part of a ballet company or other type of competitive or professional dance company. Couples dancing to some degree includes square dancing but other forms of dance such as ballroom dancing as well. Singles dancing is pretty much reserved to competitive dancing and often requires years of practice in order to perfect. Some people devote their lives to this sort of dancing and still never manage to make their mark on the competitive dancing circuit.
Dancing for fitness is another wave that seems to be taking the world by storm. There are many ways that this can be done and it is quite effective among those who would otherwise not exercise at all as well as those who simply love to dance. It is getting out of your seat and moving around to the music. Find a nice driving beat, close the curtains, and dance until you can no longer breath. It's a great way to get that much needed exercise while having fun and not even realizing that you are (gasp) exercising. Mind over matter is a great thing. If it doesn't feel like exercise then there is no reason for your body, mind, or spirit to protest, right?
Dancing is becoming somewhat of a novelty sport around the USA and around the world. Reality television shows such as "Dancing with Stars" and movies such as the one with Richard Gere-Shall We Dance have made ballroom dancing popular and attractive to the average person who would have never considered this form of dance before. With so many wonderful reasons for a person to dance why on earth wouldn't you want to dance?
Learn How To Dance
If there is one thing in life that is sure it is this. No one is born knowing how to dance. We all have an inner sense of rhythm and quite frankly some have it and some simply do not. It is true that not everyone is meant to dance competitively and some will never refine their skills enough to make their way out of the mosh pit. However, there are those who have that inner sense of balance and rhythm. With proper instruction and the right inspiration these people have the potential to become phenomenal dancers.
Learning how to dance is a process that works differently for different people. Some learn best by one on one instruction. Others manage to learn simply by watching others dance. Some require a little bit of competition in order to properly motivate themselves to push their limits and really give dancing their all. The good news is that there are dance lessons and classes that are appropriate for all different learning needs when it comes to dance.
That being said, in order to dance on a competitive level it is quite likely that you will need to incorporate a little bit of all different methods of teaching and learning for the best possible results. There is nothing wrong with watching others dance and learning and deriving inspiration from the moves they make. You can also discover flaws, weaknesses, and mistakes by watching others dance and learn from those as well.
That being said, you will never learn as much from merely watching other dancers or instructions on a video tape as you will in a classroom or one on one environment. Dance is fluid and there are certain technicalities to the steps but there are other things involved that mark the difference between a dancer with some degree of technical skills and a truly great dancer. Some things have to be pushed and prodded from within you and only a qualified instructor can really accomplish that.
The thing is most, who want to be dancers, should not settle for simply learning how to dance. They need to learn how to feel the music and use the music and their bodies to tell a story. That is what dance is about. Not the execution of even complicated movements. Dance should be an emotional outlet more than anything else. This is the way dance has been throughout history. It is only in the last century or so that we have turned dance into a sport rather than an art form and it has lost some of its potency as a result. Those who truly understand that real dance is delivering a message rather than delivering movements however are the successes that simply can't be matched.
If you wish to learn to dance, you need to carefully consider your reasons for doing so before deciding on your method of learning. I strongly recommend a little of all the different methods. One thing to keep in mind however, is that if you learn from more than one instructor you will be chided for needing to unlearn bad habits. It's an ego thing I believe. Most instructors prefer rank novices so that they do not have to 'unteach' any bad habits. Otherwise, you should choose the instructor that you feel will not only teach you how to dance but also encourage you to dance to the fullest of your potential. Those are a little more difficult to come by.
Dance Dance Revolution
Those who aren't big fans of gaming systems may not realize that Dance Revolution is actually a video game for the Playstation 2 gaming system that actually has taken the industry by storm. It was one of, if not the very first attempts of the gaming industry to combat the idea that playing games robbed children of the physical activity that is so important to their overall health and well being.
The solution was to introduce a game in which the players were scored based on their ability to dance according to the directions of the game. If you haven't tried this game, let me be the first to tell you that it requires some fancy footwork and more than some degree of tunnel vision. The really cool thing about this game is that you can adjust the level of difficulty and combine games with friends who have the same game for a competition. Competition with yourself is all well and good but the idea of crushing your friends with your dance talents is even better.
This is a game that happens to be crossing generational barriers however and making quite a splash in doing so. Mothers and fathers are competing against sons and daughters and the wagers are quite fantastic. I know I've been known to win a week or two off from washing dishes as the result of a rousing round of friendly competition. The irony is that I'm not really that good at the game. It is a great deal of fun though and I feel less guilty about letting the kids play this game for an hour than I do about allowing them to play some "all your base are belong to us" sort of game for an hour.
The wide popularity of the game should be completely obvious in all the 'knock off' versions of this game that have already flooded the market. I do expect to see more games along this line in the near future particularly with the new Nintendo Wii system making waves for the physical nature of many of their games. The hope is definitely that the Playstation Dance Dance Revolution. We have already seen follow up with Dance Dance Revolution 2, Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, and Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova. I can only predict that Playstation will attempt to bring this successful line to the ailing Playstation 3 in the near future.
As far as the workout reality of this game goes you will find that it offers an excellent aerobic workout and great exercises for your legs. The arms are really up to you to a large degree. If you chose to approach in a river dance sort of method your arms are likely to receive quite the excellent degree of a workout that your legs will receive. However if you put everything into your dance moves then the revolution will be all the calories you burn as well as the strengthening and toning you manage as a side benefit.
While very few of us consider video games to be a great source of health or fitness, this game may be the one exception to the rule. Who would have ever thought you could get all of these things and so much more from playing a video game. Next thing you know they'll come out with Mountain Dew that is a health drink.
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