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Belly Dance History

How did belly dance originate?

Veiled Belly Dancer

Veiled Dancer - Alexandria, Egypt 3rd-2nd century BC, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The truth is ... nobody knows how or why the belly dance started as a dance. Modern archeology is continuously using new techniques and technologies to shed more light on our belly dance past. Yet, at this time, no one knows the exact reasons for the original development of belly dance. We do know belly dance has been practiced for thousands of years by many different cultures for many different purposes. The belly dance has been used in Goddess ritual, spiritual practices, childbirth preparation, communal bonding, celebration, entertainment, physical education, and simply for enjoyment.

Where did belly dance originate?

Again, no one knows for sure. There are indications that belly dance was common in pre-Aryan India and ancient Egypt. However, new discoveries also support the theory that belly dance is even older and was practiced in the Goddess cultures of neolithic Europe, Africa, and the East - 6,000, or possibly many more, years ago!

Read more articles on belly dance history:

"What Is Belly dance And What Should We Really Call It?" by Atéa

"The Goddess Is Dancing" by Christina Sophia

"The Phenomenon Of The American Belly Dancer" by Atéa

Return to the frequently asked questions about the belly dance.

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