Belly Dancing
by Yosifah Rose

This is a workshop on Belly Dancing ("Raks Sharki" as it is known in Arab speaking countries, translated "Dance of the East").  Raks Sharki is an ancient dance whose origins are shrouded in uncertainty.  Most scholars agree that its early roots are in fertility dances related to Goddess worship. Authors of antiquity have described dancers performing movements characteristic of Raks Sharki in ancient Greece, Phoenicia, Assyria, and Egypt.  Today, many of the movements of Raks Sharki can be found in the social dances performed at family gatherings, weddings, and nightclubs throughout the Middle East.

Belly dancing is a low impact form of exercise that gently tones, strengthens, and stretches the body.  Like yoga, it requires meditative movement because it is a dance of isolation (isolating and controling various muscle groups). Participants of all ages are welcome. This is traditionally a solo dance, so partners are not needed. Wear socks or flat soft leather soled-shoes.

There are currently many different styles of "belly dancing" popular in the United States.  Yosifah's dancing is strongly influenced by both Lebanese and Egyptian Raks Sharki.  Yosifah Rose is a professional belly dancer and instructor.  For more information about Yosifah, visit her web site at for more information about Belly Dancing, visit


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