World Belly Dance Day Date in the current year: May 11, 2024

World Belly Dance Day World Belly Dance Day, also spelled World Bellydance Day, is observed annually on the second Saturday of May. It was created to raise awareness of the ancient art of belly dance and dispel common misconceptions surrounding it.

Belly dance is a type of dance featuring movements of the hips and torso that emerged in the Middle East. Unlike most Western dance forms, belly dance focuses on isolation of the torso muscles rather than limb movement. It typically includes staccato movements of the hips, chest, rib cage and shoulders, fluid movements of the hips and abdomen, and hip, rib cage and shoulders shimmies. These torso movements can be supplemented with steps, spins and turns.

In Egyptian Arabic, this type of dance is called raqs baladi, which can be translated as “dance of the country” or “folk dance”. The term “belly dance” is a translation of the French term danse du ventre that originated in the mid-19th century, when belly dance was popularized in Europe.

There are various forms and styles of belly dance depending on the region and country where they developed. They differ both in dance style and costume. The Egyptian style of belly dance is arguably the best-known one outside the Middle East, largely due to Egyptian cinema of the mid-20th century. Today, various artists incorporate belly dance in their performances, sometimes mixing it with other dance styles (for example, Shakira likes to mix belly dance with Latin and Afro-Colombian dances).

Belly dance is very inclusive. It can be performed by people of all genders (yes, by men too!) and body types. Belly dancing is by no means easy and requires a lot of training and dedication to achieve moves that are seemingly easy and effortless, but at the same time it is a great exercise for people of all ages and levels of fitness. It helps improve flexibility and strengthen the back and abdominal muscles.

The sad thing about belly dance is that it has been repeatedly sexualized in Western art and media as part of exotic depictions of the Middle East. Because of this, belly dancing has gained a bit of a dubious rep just like pole dancing, which many people primarily associate with striptease. In reality, belly dance originated as a social dance performed at gatherings and celebrations by ordinary people wearing their ordinary clothes, so belly rings or revealing outfits definitely aren’t a requirement. World Belly Dance Day was created to dispel this and other misconceptions about belly dance and promote this beautiful art.

The origins of World Belly Dance Day are unclear, but it has been celebrated every second Saturday of May since at least 2013. This amazing holiday gives a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the art of belly dance, its long and rich history and notable practitioners.

There are many ways to celebrate World Belly Dance Day. You can read about the history of belly dancing or watch a documentary on belly dance, browse belly dance performances on YouTube or attend a live performance near you, look up a dance studio that teaches belly dance and sing up for a trial lesson, and spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #WorldBellyDanceDay and #BellyDanceDay.

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International Observances, Cultural Observances, Unofficial Holidays


World Belly Dance Day, World Bellydance Day, international observances, cultural observances, unofficial holidays