Belly Dancing Is Fun

Belly dancing for many women is fun, fun, and more fun. The American female thoroughly enjoys the movements and the music. But when she mentions that she will be taking classes, often times it is not well received by family and friends.

Why?

It is because of malicious stories, false stereotypes, and misinformation about dancers and these falsehoods which defeat or brand potential students. Being a belly dancer in America does not automatically mean being a stripper or a prostitute. (Unfortunately, these viewpoints exist in Middle Eastern countries). Women enjoy dancing and this dance can offer an enjoyable physical outlet of dancing freestyle to music.

The challenge of accomplishing muscle control and certain athletic maneuvers is attractive. Belly dancing is not for everyone as it is considered a difficult and complex dance. For this reason, the faint of heart do not pursue it. Those who do love the challenges and have the necessary discipline and patience will accomplish and succeed learning this ancient dance art.

The cabaret style or night club dancing is the form of dance which takes much criticism because of the costuming and performing in public. It is the attitude of the dancer who selects being a performing artist and sets high standards as a professional dancer or lowers her standards to do otherwise. It is the individual who makes the choice, but unfortunately, all are blamed because of one.

Not every person who takes belly dancing is going to be a public performer. Generally speaking women take lessons for personal reasons.

Reasons for taking lessons:

  1. They may wish to dance for self-expression
  2. Explore other creative outlets such as costuming and making jewelry
  3. Dance with other women who also enjoy this dance
  4. Entertain a husband or a lover
  5. Lose weight, tone their figures, flexibility
  6. Gentle exercises for medical problems
  7. Pregnancy exercises, menstrual relief
  8. Cultural and historical interests
  9. Preparation of muscles for other dance activities
  10. Become comfortable with a female body
  11. Relaxation

There are many styles to choose from and the costuming will change accordingly. In America there are instructors for any style which is of interest to you. Americans can choose Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish cabaret, Middle-east folkloric and ethnic, and American folkloric.

You can be assured that once you make a decision to belly dance and receive support from other women you will be glad that you did so. A new world of creativity and making new friends will have you forgetting about the negative publicity. Millions of women worldwide participate in this dance. And the number one reason is “Fun”.

How Did Elvis Presley Influence Dancing?

Elvis Presley is well known as the King of Roll and Roll, but this man had an influence in the areas of movies and dancing as well. If you aren’t aware of his influence over dancing then you definitely need to keep on reading. It is hard to imagine that when Elvis first was on TV, appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show, shaking his hips to his music outraged many people. They felt his moves were too sexual in nature and they also believed that he was a white man trying to dance like he was black.

For a while it became quite a controversy for him to be on shows. In fact, many of the producers only wanted to show him from the waist up so that they wouldn’t offend their viewers. Even so, there was no stopping the following that Elvis developed in part due to his amazing dancing abilities. It seemed that people all over the world just couldn’t get enough of him.

His concerts in Las Vegas and other venues around the world always sold out. Many of those that came to see him made it clear that while they loved his voice they were there for many other reasons. Among them was the fact that they loved his dance style and it was wonderful to see him offering something so new and so energetic to the crowd before him.

Many teenagers loved this rock and roll man, and it also offered them a way to freely rebel against their parents. They also found his style of dancing gave them something new to work with that wasn’t a rehash of what their parents had been dancing to. The fact that they could call this their own was magical and it allowed it to really take of. There aren’t many people who were teenagers in that era that don’t remember dancing to Elvis music and loving it.

Many of the movies that Elvis played roles in included music and dancing as well. These roles set a new boundary for what could be seen on the big screen. It helped to pave the way for the public to take an interest in dancing at a new level as well. They were willing to take those moves that they saw from Elvis and try them out on their own in many instances as well.

Unfortunately, a great deal of the dancing that Elvis did wasn’t really appreciated until after his death. Many believe he was decades ahead of his time with the visions that he had. He wasn’t a rebel as so many critics back then labeled him. Instead he was an artistic genius. If you ask any great dancers or musicians out there today many of them will tell you that one of their inspirations has always been Elvis.

Today there are many people that try to successfully impersonate both the sounds and the dance moves of Elvis. You can find plenty of them in Las Vegas at shows as well as being offered for weddings. Of course it takes a great deal of skill to be able to pull this one off successfully. The critics are very tough on these impersonators so only the best of the best are hired.

There is no denying that the legacy of Elvis is alive and well today. There are so many remarkable things that he was able to accomplish in his lifetime. History will always remember him though as a man that was able to balance music with dancing, and who was creative enough not to let society or the industry limit his talents.

Just Show Up and Dance… The Positive Benefits of Dancing

When it comes to fitness and cardiovascular activities, dancing is often overlooked and underrated. The beautiful thing about many of the dance styles, types, or genres is this: you don’t need a partner. You only need yourself and the proper footwear.

Mary, for example, has always loved to dance. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to dance. Or, sway to the sound of music. While she saw it as dancing, others just saw her moving and “bopping” – without much rhythm or style – to the beat of music; a beat she heard in her head which oftentimes was not the beat others heard. In middle school, her band teacher told her that “she had no rhythm”. In high school and college, she drew snickers when she found herself on the dance floor – oblivious to people around her – just moving to her own beat. Back in the day, when attending a school dance or party, guys would come up and ask you to dance. Rarely, was she approached for a dance. Though shy, her love of dancing allowed her to become comfortable dancing with and by herself. Her best friend, who was considered a “good” dancer (and was always asked for a dance), said she looked like a chicken on the dance floor. That was long before the funky chicken dance became popular.

Fast forward, 40 plus years later, Mary is still swaying or moving to the sound of music. Often, in the privacy of her own home. It’s her primary form of exercise. Upon meeting her, I immediately noticed her strength, muscle tone, and agility (for a person in her late sixties) and concluded that she had a strict fitness regimen; perhaps, even a personal trainer. When I inquired, she informed me that she watches her diet and dances three or four times a week; sometimes alone – in the privacy of her own home; other times, she goes out. Always, though, she dances by herself, without a partner. She stated that she has always loved moving to music; and from early childhood -no matter her schedule – found time to “sway” to music even if she could only get in 15 or 20 minutes. Although Mary enjoys many genres, her favorite is reggae. She stated that reggae allows her to “sway” anytime and anywhere.

Dancing is considered a recreational activity and all too often overlooked and undervalued for the positive impact it can have on one’s mental and physical health, especially among active older adults and people with mobility challenges. Regardless of the dance style, type or genre that interest you (and there are many ranging from ballroom and tap to reggae and hip hop), there are numerous physical, mental, and social benefits. No matter your age and physical limitations, there are many reasons to dance. Here are my top three:

• FUN! When you relax and let yourself go, you realize that dancing is fun. The music, rhythm, movements – even when you miss a few or many steps – gives you a satisfying experience. For example, some dance genres, like Zumba┬« (a Latin-inspired, cardio-based, dance-fitness program), creates a party-like atmosphere that is exhilarating, easy to follow, and is great for the mind, body and soul. For me, the fun factor is magnified when the playlist includes some of my personal favorites.

• HEALTH AND FITNESS. Regardless of style, type or genre, dancing provides an opportunity to get a total body workout. The number of calories burned in an hour varies – depending on body weight and the intensity of the dance routine. However, at moderate to high intensity, dancing can burn roughly 200 calories per hour. It works major muscles and gives you a good cardiovascular workout. Dancing improves muscle tone, strength, endurance, flexibility, and agility. It increases range of motion and allows joints to move more freely.

• SOCIAL INTERACTION. Not only is dance an exhilarating form of exercise, it provides an opportunity to increase your social interactions with like-minded people in a fun, non-judgmental, and safe environment. It gives you a chance to increase your social connections while learning some new and exciting skills. Many lasting friendships and relationships started on the dance floor.

It’s never too late to start dancing. You don’t have to have rhythm or be able to jump, bend, or kneel. You don’t have to be good (whatever your definition of good). All you have to do is “show up and move” – whether your move is marching in place, waving your arms or swaying from side-to-side. You can even sit in your chair. It doesn’t matter whether you are standing or sitting, just move. Your body, mind and soul will thank you -now and in the future.