For centuries, the role of Oriental dance in Middle Eastern society has been that of a folk dance that people would do at joyous occasions such as weddings, the birth of a child, community festivals, and community events. It was a dance that men, women, and children did for fun, not a "performance" done to entertain an audience. Just as we might dance the waltz at modern-day wedding reception, so people in the Middle East get up with their friends to shimmy to their favourite music.
The dance is suitable for women of all ages, body types and fitness. The great thing about Middle Eastern Dance is that it is body-friendly. Unlike other dance forms, Middle Eastern Dance does not require leaping, hyperextension of joints, or abrupt movements. Students develop self confidence, body awareness and creativity and increase their fitness, flexibility and strength.
Middle Eastern Dance can promote good health in the following ways:
- increasing cardiovascular fitness including improved circulation and reduced blood pressure
- increasing flexibility and improving joint health
- increasing muscle strength and coordination
- burning calories - Middle Eastern Dancing burns 300-350 calories per hour
- weight loss
- reducing stress levels
- developing a healthy body image
- increasing social ties and friendships