Belly dance is the English name for what is really a variety of dance forms from different cultures. In Egypt, belly dance is raks sharki, in Turkey, rakkase and in Greece, the cifte telli. It is believed to be the oldest form of dance, with roots in ancient times when dance was originally a religious act, and religion and worship of the Earth Mother were integral parts of everyday life. Women dced in joyous rituals to ensure crop fertility and to placate and even titillate the gods.
As civilization grew in the ancient Ottoman empire (Turkey), in Maghreb (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), Numidia (North Africa) and Persia (Iran), religions evolved but the importance of dance remained. Temple priestesses performed dances with the same earthy pelvic movements as their ancient Earth-worshiping ancestors.
In the Arabic world, as in other patriarchal cultures, women lived separate lives to men, and the dance was passed from mother to daughter. Professional performers (ghawazee in Egyptian) emerged from the gypsy caste, minority communities and poorer classes.
These dancers refined and brought elements of their own to the dance, and it became an entertainment for the wealthy, as dancers were paid to perform in well-to-do homes.
This is how belly dance was discovered by Western society. As colonialists traveled to these countries, and were both scandalized and captivated by what they saw in the dance. The movements were copied and modernized, and there began a popular oriental fantasy period of cabaret performances in the West. Eastern and Western cultures mixed and new styles of dance were created. Elements of Western culture found their way back into Eastern society, and vice versa.
Today, there is still the same variety of styles within the broad collective of belly dance. Some dancers strive to remain traditional in their approach, while others embrace the modern influences of popular music and cabaret-style performance. However dancers express themselves today, belly dance remains a strong and vital link an ancient tradition, and what we know as belly dance today still remains connected to the ancient ‘dances of the hips’ performed by women thousands of years ago.
Belly dance lessons at Bellydance Temple draw on many styles of bellydance and students are encouraged to pursue the styles they enjoy the most.
Belly dancing is often perceived as erotic entertainment for men, but this is by far the biggest misconception about belly dancing. The dance originated as a ritual performed for women, and was a key part of fertility rites and marriage preparations. In fact, men were traditionally not permitted to see the dance. Women danced for each other, benefiting from the movements in childbirth and toning the back, legs and abdominal and pelvic muscles.
Belly dancing movements support the posture in correct alignment and can be beneficial for ironing out stiffness and pain from joint injuries or arthritis. There are no pounding, snapping movements as in many modern exercise regimes, which can be dangerous to the whole skeletal system and unsafe to perform by people of average fitness.
Belly dancing is natural to womens’ bodies. Movements emanate from the hara energy center (the navel) and often focus upon isolating different parts of the body in undulating, meditative patterns. The dance is a proud, elegant and sensual celebration – not an erotic or sexual floorshow.
Belly dancing classes at Bellydance Temple help women enjoy the health benefits of the dance and are safe for all fitness levels.
Classes are held at Kedi’s own Bellydance Temple. Kedi encourages students to feel comfortable and relaxed with her warm style. Students enjoy floor to ceiling mirrors, oriental rugs on the floor and the fresh ocean breezes at the sea-side location at Forresters Beach, on the New South Wales Central Coast.
Private and group bellydance classes are held by appointment, and class sizes are always limited to ensure students benefit from each session.
Tuition at all levels is provided.
Beginners – Build a repertoire of steps and moves as you learn choreographies and styles of bellydance.
Intermediates – Expand your palette and learn to use zills and the veil to create exciting dance routines.
Advanced – Focus on performance and stage craft for your own improvisations and musical interpretation.
Bellydance lessons for the New South Wales Central Coast and Gosford at Bellydance Temple
Belly dance lessons at Belly dance Temple in Forresters Beach on the Central Coast near Gosford feature live drumming, a friendly dance community and experienced belly dance teachers. Kedi, the pricipal teacher and belly dancer has been belly dancing for 12 years and teaching belly dance lessons for 6, and Bellydance Temple is the only bellydance school in the Central Coast and Gosford area producing professional performers and belly dance teachers.
Belly dance Temple has quality sound and lighting, floor length mirrors and a unique Middle Eastern ambience for belly dance lessons. A range of belly dance resources are used during belly dance lessons including recorded music, live drumming, videos of performers, printed choreographies and belly dance costume patterns. The learning experience is enhanced outside belly dance lessons with student parties, costume shopping trips, meeting and watching other belly dancers, restaurant nights and collaborations with other belly dance teachers and schools.