belly dance history

Belly Dance:  The Oldest, The Most Beautiful, The Most Misunderstood

By Tracy Rhaj

My passion for belly dance began as a little girl when I knew about Middle Eastern wonders, such as music, art, and dance.  Since then, I have been fascinated with belly dance; its movements, energy, and uniqueness.

First of all, most aspects about belly dance are very complex.  Belly dance is the oldest dance, dating back to ancient civilizations before Christ. It was first used as a method to help induce labor, for worship, and for amusement; however, throughout the years, belly dance has continued to evolve. Rosina-Fawsia B. Al-Rawi, creator of Grandmother’s Secrets: The Ancient Rituals and Healing Power of Belly Dancing, defines belly dance:

Belly Dancing is a dance of (muscular) isolation, is which the various parts of the body are moved individually, independently from each other, yet, end up forming unity.  Strength for the movements is picked up by the dancer from her belly.  Little space is needed for belly dancing, for true space is body itself.  The movements of belly dancing come form the joints; the trunk finds itself softly, unlike European dances. Belly dance gives a woman the possibility to discover, learn about, and understand herself. (Al-Rawi 58-59)


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