Belly Dancing

The Sensual Art of Energy and Spirit
By (author) Anette Paffrath
By (author) Jean Pütz
By (author) Pina Coluccia

Other books by this author

Belly Dancing
The Sensual Art of Energy and Spirit
By (author) Anette Paffrath
By (author) Jean Pütz
By (author) Pina Coluccia

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Pages : 192

Book Size : 8 x 9

ISBN-13 : 9781594770210

Imprint : Park Street Press

On Sale Date : February 14, 2005

Format : Paperback Book

Illustrations : Full color throughout

Belly dancing is pure sensuousness and has enchanted people since ancient times. Yet beyond its erotic aspects, belly dancing offers many physical and emotional benefits. Belly Dancing covers all aspects of this ancient art, beginning with its origins and mythical connections to the moon goddess. Practical instructions with photographs and guidance in costuming are included.
Description

About Belly Dancing

A comprehensive guide to the art of belly dancing

• Covers the origins, mythology, and history of the Middle Eastern dance, including its physical and mental health benefits

• Contains practical instructions with easy-to-follow photographs

• Includes recipes for perfumes, cosmetic creams, and food from the Middle East

Belly dance is pure sensuousness and has enchanted humans since ancient times. Yet beyond its erotic aspects, belly dancing offers many physical and emotional benefits. On the physical level it helps with muscle stiffness, autonomic nervous system disturbances, mobility of the abdominal region, and strengthening the back, which in turn enhances the body’s overall posture. Belly dancing also relieves menstrual problems and has been shown to be extremely useful during pregnancy and childbirth. On the emotional side belly dancing increases the libido and has enabled women to overcome self-esteem issues and regain healthy feelings of sensuality and sexuality.Belly Dancing covers all aspects of this ancient art, beginning with its origins and mythical connections to the moon goddess. The authors provide practical instructions and easy-to-follow photographs for the most important dance movements as well as guidance in costuming and related accoutrements. Additional information on foot reflexology and Indian chakras aid the further understanding of the art. The book also contains recipes for Middle Eastern perfumes, cosmetic creams, and food as well as suggestions for musical accompaniment.
Excerpt

Book Excerpt

Now We Dance

Belly dance is not a room-filling dance. Movements spread in rhythmic waves across the body--the body itself becomes the space for the dance, and the dancer dances with and within her own body. This is entirely different from classical ballet, during which the dancer moves her body across the room, jumping and turning to create the illusion of weightlessness; the dancers appear to fly and float across the room.

In contrast, belly dance is a very grounded dance. The basic position from which movements originate connects the dancer with the earth. Belly dance gets its beauty not from strength but from the ability of the dancers to have good contact with their bodies and to play selectively with their muscles. That is why shimmies appear so easy and effortless, especially among experienced dancers.

For belly dance, it is important to put proper weight on the feet. The bulk of the body’s weight rests on the edges of the feet. The feet stay flat on the ground. They are spread at hip-width and parallel to one another. The feet point forward with the knees slightly bent. The knees extend beyond the feet and are parallel to one another. The knees should roll neither in nor out, as this would unduly strain them. Keeping the knees facing forward ensures the hips stay loose and flexible. The pelvis sits on the hip joints; the hip bones are level side to side. The spine rises upward from the pelvis. The shoulders drop back slightly. Imagine that a string is tied to your chest, pulling it forward; this raises the torso and widens the chest cavity. The head is similarly suspended on a string and straight, with the chin slightly raised. Breathe steadily, with the breath flowing deep into your pelvis.

First Steps

Starting position is the basic position. During this exercise let your arms hang loosely at your sides, or you can place your arms on your hips to feel the movements more intensely. You can also hold your arms as if you were carrying a big round balloon in front of your body. When circling your hips, pay attention to keeping your knees as steady as possible--they should not move with the hips. The hip circles come from the hips, not from the knees. Many women have trouble at first when learning to initiate movements from the hips. That is why we also recommend trying this exercise in pairs: have another dancer hold your knees to keep the legs quiet as you gain a sense of the range of motion of your hips.

Kicking with Your Hips
Kick your hips to the left or the right as though you were trying to push someone aside. This movement can be strong and forceful. Then kick your hips forward (3) and back (4). Some women are embarrassed by this movement, as they find it pointedly sexual. But this important movement loosens the pelvis and is an expression of your vitality. Still, if you feel uncomfortable with this you can leave it out for now and return to it later, when you feel more comfortable with the dance movements overall. Repeat hip kicks ten times.

Swinging Hips
The hip swing results from intense legwork and weight shifting. To perform hip swings, first shift your weight to your right foot. Lift the right heel, keeping your weight on the ball of your right foot. This movement swings the right hip upward (5). The left leg is slightly stretched, but the knee is not straightened all the way. Place your right foot back on the floor and shift your weight to your left foot, then to the ball of the left foot. When the left heel raises, the left hip swings up (6). The right leg is slightly stretched. Repeat this sequence ten times.

Lifting the Hips
During vertical hip lifts, the hips alternate moving up and down, like the bowls of a scale. This movement is driven only by the pelvis. Both feet remain firmly on the ground. You can vary the levels of these vertical hip lifts by going deeper into your knees or by rising to the tips of your toes. Again, repeat hip lifts ten times.

Circling the Hips
During the small hip circle, the hip moves independent of the upper body, which remains straight and at rest. The thighs support the movements of the hip. Picture yourself standing inside a square. During circling, concentrate on touching the corners of the square. Picture squares of different sizes to vary your movements between small and big circles. Start with small circles and gradually increase the size.

If that goes well, move from the hip circles inside the square to small pelvis circles. It helps to picture your pelvis as circling a ball in a ball bearing. Circle right (7) and left (10). Picture a small spiral, your pelvis inside the spiral and circling out, until the movements are big. The pelvis now moves along the outer edge of the spiral. Then reverse direction and return to the inside of the spiral until the movements of the pelvis are small again. Repeat hip circles ten times in each direction, and spiraling three to four times.
Table of Contents

Table of content

Belly Dancing
The Sensual Art of Energy and Spirit


Belly Dance: Connecting to the Earth
Flowing Energy in a Grounded Body
The Origins of Belly Dancing
The Goddess as Dancer: Ishtar, Artemis, Aphrodite
The Goddess and Sexuality
Belly Dance as the Dance of Birth
Harems and the Belly Dance
Prejudices against Belly Dancing
Understanding the Myth

Belly Dance as Self-Experience and Self-Expression
The Interactions between Body and Soul
Hara: The Source of Strength below the Navel
Belly Dance and the Natural Rhythms in a Woman’s Life
The Sensual, Creative, and Erotic Aspects of Belly Dancing

Physical Benefits of Belly Dancing
The Basic Stance: Grounded, Relaxed, Full of Breath
Strength and Grace: The Pelvic Floor
Preparing to Dance: Warm-up Exercises

Now We Dance
First Steps
Moving the Hips
Moving the Chest
The Language of the Hands
The Arms as Graceful Companions
Enticing Head Movements
Shimmies
Fundamental Dance Steps
Dance Combinations
Rhythms for Belly Dance
Clothing That Enhances the Dance
Veils
Belly Dance: An Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual Exercise

A Middle Eastern Feast for the Body
Diving into Exotic Scents
Preparing Delicious Food:
A Middle Eastern Buffet

Resources

Author Bio
Pina Coluccia worked as a nurse for seven years before opening a belly dance school for all ages. She gives weekly seminars on belly dancing at German universities. Anette Paffrath is a belly dancer and psychotherapist who has researched the beneficial effects of belly dancing on psychological blockages, fears, and menstrual discomforts. Jean Pütz is a well-known author and television personality in Germany. He was an engineer, math and physics teacher, and political economist for 30 years before entering the world of journalism and communications.
Reviews

Reviews

Book Praise

Book Praise

"Belly Dancing is something of a mini-feast for the senses. Overall, it is an excellent portrait of a sensual art form that is culturally rich, inclusive, and empowering." Branches of Light, Spring-Summer-Fall 2005

"This introduction to belly dancing places a welcome emphasis on the spiritual roots of the form."
Branches of Light, Spring-Summer-Fall 2005

“This comprehensive guide covers all aspects of this ancient art, beginning with its origins, mythology and history of the Middle Eastern dance, and including its physical and mental health benefits. The authors provide practical instructions and easy-to-follow photographs of the most important dance movements, as well as guidance around costuming and related accoutrements.”
Axnet News, June / July 2005

“Beginners will welcome this clear examination of belly-dance routines and meaning.”
The Midwest Book Review

“Dispelling the myths around this ancient art form, the authors trace the history of dance, explain its culture and health benefits, and introduce the basic movements, all in striking full color.”
Spirit of Change, July/August 2005

"I love the idea of Belly Dancing because it is one of the only forms of dance that is made for real women. Skinny little stick women look funny doing this dance but regular sized women suddenly look graceful, elegant, and confidently sexy. It’s a great whole body exercise and it’s fun too."
Tami Brady, TCM Reviews

"The combination of simple language, clear design, and glossy, colorful photos of contemporary dancers and ancient art makes Belly Dancing an appealing read--perfect for a rainy weekend with a little classic Turkish music playing softly on your stereo."
Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Book ‘em, May 12, 2005
Back Cover

Back Cover Copy

DANCE / EXERCISE

Belly dance is a form of pure sensuousness that has engaged and enchanted humans since ancient times. In Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and other cultures of the East, priestesses in service of the Goddess opened their vital energy centers through dancing, receiving divine wisdom and channeling that wisdom to others. Ancient Egyptian priests mimicked the movement of the planets through the movements of their bodies. It is thought that women of these cultures gave birth by dancing their babies into the world.

Women are once again looking to belly dancing to discover the power of their bodies and to receive the physical and emotional benefits that arise from the dance. On the physical level, practicing the dance strengthens the lower back, mobilizes the abdominal and pelvic regions, tones the muscles, and enhances overall posture. Belly dancing also relieves menstrual problems and has been shown to be extremely useful during pregnancy and childbirth. On the emotional side, belly dancing has enabled women to overcome self-esteem issues by allowing them to embody myriad facets of femininity--sensuality, nurturance, independence, strength--while at the same time increasing their libido and helping them to develop or regain healthy feelings of sensuality and sexuality.

Belly Dancing covers all aspects of this timeless art, beginning with its origins and mythical connections to the ancient Goddess. The authors provide practical instructions and easy-to-follow photographs for basic dance movements along with guidance in building movement combinations, exercises for opening the body’s energy centers, and suggestions for costuming and musical accompaniment.

PINA COLUCCIA worked as a nurse for seven years before opening a belly dance school for all ages. She gives seminars on belly dancing at numerous German universities. ANETTE PAFFRATH is a belly dancer and psychotherapist who has researched the psychological benefits of belly dancing. JEAN PÜTZ is a well-known author and television personality in Germany. He was an engineer, math and physics teacher, and political economist for thirty years before entering the world of journalism and communications.|

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