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I’m twenty-five years old, and actually this is my first year at the Academy of languages, although I like a lot learning english since I was a child.
In my free time I like going out with my friends, dancing and watching serials such as How I met your mother and The Big Bang Theory both in VOSE.

Belly Dance
I would like to talk about a traditional Middle Eastern and North African dance that I have been practicing, the belly dance. First of all, I have to introduce some historic details. It has strong cultural roots in India, where it is a very popular dance. We call it belly dance but actually its name is raqs sharqi or raqs baladi and it has a different name in each part of the world where it is practised. Also in America there is a dance called tribal dance based on belly dance with some gothic elements that is becoming very popular all around the world as well.
Nobody knows the true story about the origins of belly dance but experts believe it did not appear as a cabaret show, the most probable origin could be linked to social aspects such as fertility god, childbirth, or religion.
The majority of the movements in belly dancing involve isolating different parts of the body (hips, shoulders, chest, stomach, etc.). The diversity of places where belly dance is practised adds variety to the movements.
Important movements are:
• Shiver or Shimmy – a vibration of the hips. This vibration is usually combined with other movements to create depth in the performance. It may be produced by alternately moving the knees at a high speed. It is also possible to perform this movement by using the muscles in the lower back. You can do it alternately up and down, side-to-side, or forward and back. The same movement can be performed using the shoulders and is sometimes called a shoulder shimmy.
• Hip hits – a strong movement of the hips away from the body. Dancers can perform this side to side, diagonally or even walking. This can also be performed by using other body parts such as the shoulders or chest.
• Undulations – fluid movements of the hips or the chest in a circular or rotating motion. The most well known movement of this type is probably the rotating of the chest forward, upwards, back and down, as if you were riding a camel.
Different styles also incorporate kicks and arm movements as an integral part of the dance.
Belly dance is very healthy and useful for women to increase their flexibility and to alleviate their menstruation or childsbirth pain. Famous artists, such as Shakira, use belly dance in their choreography.
Belly dance costumes vary from country to country. Sometimes the dancers are sober, they do not show their bodies for religious reasons but the most popular outfit in the western world is the bedlah style which includes a fitted top or bra (usually with a fringe of beads or coins), a skirt or harem pants, and a special belt adorned with beads or coins.
Props are used to dazzle the audience and add variety to the show, although some traditionalists are against their use. The most common are:

  • Finger cymbals (zills or sagats) or castanets
  • Cane
  • Veil Sword
  • Candelabra headdress (shamadan)
  • Fire sticks
  • Tambourine
  • Fan
  • Snakes (usually either pythons or boa constrictors)
  • Candles

I hope more of you now have an interest in belly dance and are thinking of taking classes. Finally, I would like to share some links with you to see belly dancing in action. I recommend Sadie, a traditional belly dancer, and Rachel Brice, who performs tribal dance.
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