Belly Dancing, or Oriental Dance, is an ancient dance. Each Middle Eastern tribe and region has their own style. What remains the same throughout all styles is the support of women and womanhood.
One aspect of womanhood is the miracle of creating life and giving birth. Belly dancing was passed down from grandmother, to daughter, to granddaughter. Women and girls were taught the various belly dance movements from childhood. Not only as a part of the form for entertainment, family occasions, and celebrations, but also to prepare the muscles needed for future pregnancy and childbirth.
According to Farab Firdoz, a Saudi Arabian dancer, the “belly” roll, flutter, and some parts of floor work were based on the movements of labor and childbirth (Morocco).
Belly dancing during pregnancy is a gentle massage for the baby in the womb. The slow, rhythmic movements not only prepare the mother-to-be for childbirth, but also prepares the baby as well. The bonding of mother and child is started in the womb.
Women of the tribe would encircle the mother going into labor. The tribal women would do languid hip circles, belly flutters, full body undulations, encouraging the mother-to-be to do the same. These movements not only reduced the stress of labor pains it also gently moved the baby into the birth canal in a loving caress (Morocco).
For more information:
Morocco. “Giving to Light”-Dancing the Baby into the World. You asked Aunt Rocky: Answers & Advice About Raqs Sharqi & Raqs Sgaabi. 2011ed. https://www.casbahdance.org/dancing-the-baby-into-the-world/
An expectant mother belly dancing with love and beauty is hypnotic and mesmerizing to watch!
For videos of pregnant dancers:
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