The artist is the dancer and her music is the inspiration for her every move ...

Nazie at the Dance from the Heart show, Va.

Belly dancing, just like other genres of dance, is an art form. There are specific movements that are learned and the type of music dictates the rhythm and speed of the dancer. Many experts claim that belly dancing is natural to a woman's bone and muscle structure with movements isolated to the torso rather than the legs and feet. Belly dancing is generally performed barefoot and the body moves in independent patterns that weave together to make one unified ensemble. According to belly dancing instructors, being barefoot symbolizes the intimate physical connection between the dancer, her expression and Mother Earth. The costume the dancer wears is one of the most important elements in any dance. Most costumes are colorful, flowing garments accented with veils or scarves. Finger cymbals, (made of brass) are common accessories to accompany the music in the dance. Exotic jewelry (including belts that have coins attached) not only enhances the costume's appearance, but also allows the fast vibrations of the dancer's torso to be seen and heard by an audience. According to Atea, a widely recognized expert in classic and modern belly dancing styles, belly dancing can serve as a peaceful art for the dancer's personal enjoyment. In her article, "Creating Inner Peace with Oriental Dance," Atea explains that balancing the mind, body and spirit is vital to being happy and healthy. Oriental dance (along with yoga, acupuncture, and meditation) gives an individual the balance needed to overcome stress and anxiety in our hectic society.

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