Arabian Belly Dancing was initially considered to be sacred as it was considered to be related to goddess worshipping. It is not quite possible to find the true origins of this dancing. Arabic belly dance is considered to be somewhat a misnomer as the dance involves more parts of the body than just the belly. Instances of belly dance have been traced back to the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia. The ancient form of this dance has been found in the engravings found on the ancient temples.
It is considered to be introduced in this region by the Arabs, but with the introduction of Islam, the dance was banned. Similar to these engravings in Mesopotamia, dance and music scenes have also been traced in ancient Grecian and Egyptian paintings in tombs. During the eight century, the Arabs came and settled in Egypt, which made belly dancing to be adopted in this region. And, it was here that the dance grew in techniques and styles and transformed into the newly known Oriental dance, which also came to be known as raqs sharqi.
In addition to these influences, the dance receives more impacts from different parts of Asia. The gypsy tribes from Northern India brought their energetic and flamboyant dancing and musical abilities when they moved into the Middle East. This mainly took place in Turkey, and the dance received gypsy elements to the tradition that were already strong and was popular by the name of Oriyantal Dansi.
Thus, belly dancing as an ancient tradition, was influenced by a number of styles that flowed in from different parts of Asia. However, the original elements of the dance involving the sensuous movements of the female body were always retained.
For the western world, it was not until the 19th century that the public came to know about Arabian Belly Dancing and the related customs from the Arab world. It was only the Orientalists, the scholars who had the curiosity and knowledge about Middle East.
Turkish Belly Dancing is an ancient dance form in Turkey and surrounding regions. The dance was preserved through the Middle Ages in the form of social dances in general public life and in the harems of Ottoman rulers. The dance has received strong influence from the gypsy
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