|Egyptian Twist Studio of Bellydance
Bellydance Lessons and Performances with Helena (Juanita Smart)
AFAA certified Personal Trainer
|The dance form we call "bellydance" is derived from traditional women's (and men's) dances of the Middle East and North Africa.
While the bellydance is not intended to entertain men as commonly believed, its feminine movements make for a beautiful and fun
dance style that is enjoyable for everyone. Focusing on muscle control, balance and strength, the bellydance can be a fun way to
exercise while building self-confidence through self-expression in an art form that embraces all body types!
Lessons available for beginner to advanced levels, group, private and semi-private lessons.
Performances available for restaurants, resorts, community events, festivals, fund raisers, private parties, corporate events...
"Bellygrams" available for Birthday, retirement and anniversary parties...
Performance with a mini lesson available for showers, bachelorette and women's parties...
Bellydance performances are not just for Middle Eastern Restaurants! If you are looking for exciting and unique entertainment for
your restaurant, resort, winery, or other establishment, make your venue more memorable with a bellydance performance! Always
family oriented, Helena will bring the tradition, grace and beauty of the dance to your next event!
Please visit the "Class & Entertainment Information" page for more details and price listings!
Meeting the fitness needs of women in the Binghamton area for over 10 years. Personal Training and Fitness Counseling available
specializing in weight loss and exercise for women. *In-home training and bellydance lessons available locally* AFAA certified!
|Contrary to what many people believe, Oriental Dance (which is, in actuality, the correct name for "bellydnce") did not originate as
a seductive dance that "harem girls" did for their Sultan. Oriental Dance is just simply folk dance. In the same way that we might get
up and dance to our favorite music when we are out with friends, at a wedding, or other occasion, so people in the Middle East and
other parts of the world might get up with their friends to shimmy to their favorite music.
Most people believe that the two piece costumes are traditional "bellydance costumes". The fact is that the costumes we see today
are simply the invention of Hollywood and are not authentic to traditional dance wear of the Middle East. There was generally no
special dance "costume" to wear. People simply danced in their party clothes, just as we might dress up a little for a party or a
wedding reception. Dance was not seen as something to be "performed" by a professional. It was just something people got up and
spontaneously did, just like we do when we hear our favorite song and feel like dancing to it when we are out with friends.
Often, questions arise regarding "The Dance of the Seven Veils". Some people even claim Biblical reference to it. The fact is that
the Bible never mentions the "Dance of the Seven Veils".
Matthew 14:6 KJV "But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod."
Mark 6:21-22 KJV "And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains,
and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that
sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee." No mention is made of seven
veils. So where did "The Dance of the Seven Veils" come from? Most likely, the concept originated from Oscar Wilde's play,
"Salome" and inspired Richard Strauss to create an opera based on the story. From there, Hollywood made movies depicting
Salome and the seven veils, and today, the public believes it. Veils are actually props used by American dancers!
Wearing a jewel in the navel is also one of the myths of bellydancing. Belly piercings are a modern day invention created by
Hollywood. Navel piercings have never been recorded in ancient cultures for dancing or otherwise.
People often ask where the sword dance came from and many believe that it originated in the Middle East. There is no "Sword
Dance" authentic to the bellydance. However, in the Middle East, and some other parts of the world, there is a tradition of dancing
while balancing something on the head. This can include a tray, pot, glass, or candelabra. It is very possible that balancing a sword
would be a likely dancing skill. It would have been from a mix of cultures included in the Ottoman Empire. This would be Turkey,
Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and North Africa. The "Ghillie Callum" is a Sword Dance known as the ancient dance of war of the Scottish
Gael and is said to date back to King Malcolm Canmore (Shakespear’s MacBeth). Perhaps most cultures do have a "weapons"
dance of some kind that dates back to ancient war dances and sparring techniques.
The cane dance, or stick dance, however, is authentic to Middle Eastern Dance, in particular, the Saidi region of Egypt. Probably
one of the more "authentic" versions of the bellydance, today, cane dancing can be traced back to the combat skills of the Saidi
men in ancient days. Later, women used the stick to playfully "mock" the men while dancing, and has evolved into the women's
cane, or stick dance, that we see today, known as "Raks Al Assaya".
The bellydance is about dancing. Most of the movements have ancient symbolic meanings. Once used as a “fertility dance” offered
to the gods of fertility, the dance helped strengthen the muscles used during childbearing. It is family oriented and very appropriate
for community events and festivals.
|Click here for
information and to book
the Binghamton area's
Bellydance Ensemble of
the Southern Tier