Belly Dance As A Rising Passion In Singapore
Belly dance or oriental dance is an Arabic expressive dance form which originated in Egypt. It involves various convoluted movements of the torso, using the hips to punctuate the music or accent of a beat, a great deal of abdominal muscle control to express flowing and sinuous movements as well as shimmies, shivers, turns and spins to create an impression of texture and depth of movement.
Over the years, belly dance in Singapore is gaining groove and making a beat not just amongst the ladies, even men and children have been known to also take up lessons tolearn belly dancing. Besides the growing interest in the oriental dance form, initiatives and programmes from the government, the National Arts Council, People’s Association and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth such as the “Got to Move” project has helped to pique interest, promote dance performances and encourage the wider public to take up dance-related hobbies. As a result, belly dance classes are now being offered almost everywhere from gym or dance studios to community centres and even in homes. Belly dance lessons can also be conducted in masses or with smaller groups or even private lessons. Depending on which country the dance instructors learned from, most belly dance teachers in Singapore would cover the traditional Arabic, the Egyptian style or the Turkish style of belly dance in their belly dance classes. While the Egyptian style of belly dancing is renowned for its controlled and precise movements, the Turkish style of belly dancing projects a livelier, a more playful and energetic art form, showcasing its athleticism and the skilled use of finger cymbals.Some dancers are so dedicated and committed to their craft that they have undergone further training and belly dance lessons in Egypt or Turkey to pick up skills under the tutelage of a Master teacher. Some instructors in Singapore would also fly in some of these master teachers from time to time for their belly dance classes.
Contrary to common misconception, most students who took up belly dance in Singapore to learn belly dancing were not drawn to the dance for its seductive or provocative nature. Belly dance enthusiasts believe that belly dancing is a powerful artistic dance form; it represents liberation and confidence through beauty as well as gracefulness and is not merely about being sexy or explicit. Unlike other dance forms, belly dancing allows dancers to be their own leads, independent from dance partners. Although belly dance classes are usually dynamic, there is no need for a high degree of strength or athleticism. The numerous physical and mental health benefits associated with belly dancing have also helped it to gain popularity here. Belly dance lessons can help to correct bad posture, improves flexibility, the overall tone of body and keeps it in better shape. And through its fast, sharp and energetic movements, belly dance classes can also serve as a respite, a form of therapy to dance the stress away and help individuals to bond, to feel more empowered and more confident about their body. It is no wonder then that belly dance in Singapore steps out of the mirage and waltz to centre stage.