Cup of Confessions: 3 misunderstandings about Belly Dancing

Hello my dear chocolate chip cookies!

If you’ve followed my blog for some time now, you’ll know that I’ve started belly dancing 2 years ago. The reason I love belly dancing is because it confronts you with yourself and your body. I’m in no way an athlete, nor do I have the perfect size. I have proportionally big shoulders, smaller hips and anything but a tight belly :p. I remember the first time that I started a belly dance class and was wearing a top revealing my stomach. While dancing, we had to look in the mirror and I remember that I was cringing each time I looked at myself. But I got over it, because there are so many different shapes and sizes in these classes, that it just didn’t matter. We are all women, trying to learn a beautiful dance style and we’re all embracing ourselves just the way we are. I’m not saying that I don’t want a tighter belly, but I now actually like looking at myself. I don’t cringe seeing the imperfections…

I think that about belly dancing, there is some misunderstanding, which I’d like to clear out…

1. You need to have belly lipids in order to dance

Yup, you read it, I’m not going to use the F-word, sorry. Many seem to think that you can’t shake your belly without having some lipid on your belly. I’d like to set that straight. Anyone, I repeat, ANYONE can do belly dance: no matter the age, body type or size of any part of the body… The dance can actually be adapted to your body type.

Take Didem Kinali, worldwide known Turkish belly dancer, has a super flat stomach. Her choreo’s are strong and feminine. Her movements are sharp and clear.

Elis Pinheiro is a Brazilian belly dancer known for her soft and elegant moves and strong hipwork with beautiful layers. She combines amazing arm movements with a lot of creative travels. She’s a huge inspiration!

Rachel Brice is one the first belly dancers that made me discover American Tribal. She’s super creative and uses a lot her upper body to dance. Her arms are quite long, which makes her snake movements the more intriguing, something that not everyone could pull off.

Tamar Bar-Gil is a beautiful lady, who brings joy and fun when doing her choreo’s. Her movements are creative and smart and really not super difficult, but well thought out. It’s a joy to watch her dance.

And yes, there are also male belly dancers. Watching Horus Mozarabe is hypnotizing and inspiring…

2. Belly dancing is only belly work

I’ve done hip hop in the past and I now also do latin dance and standard ballroom dancing. Every dance requires your whole body to move. There’s no such thing as only dancing with the belly: there’s hipwork, legwork, arm movement, shoulder, head, chest movement and of course belly work. The use of several layers with different body parts at once is called belly break. Combining these different layers is harder than you can imagine.

April Rose can do 5 layers (arms, hips, chest, knees, head) at the same time, it’s crazy!!! I barely manage 3 layers… Check out the vid below! She’s so talented!

3. The only real belly dancing is Arabic Belly dance

According to my half Lebanese BFF, the “real” belly dance is the Turkish belly dance. I prefer to say it as follows: the original belly dance may be Turkish belly dance, however it has led its own life in other countries: there is Egyptian, Indonesian, American Tribal, Baladi,… Soooo many different styles. Not acknowledging it, is like saying that only British English is the real English and that Australian and American English are not… Which style you like, I’ll leave that to up you to discover. To each his own…

Someone recently told me she thought belly dance was always the same, because it’s always the same type of music, always the same type of movement, referring to the upbeat Arabic belly dance moves. I totally disagree with that, because as I’ve explained there are still so many styles to discover and the beauty is that everyone does their own thing, whatever fits their personality and body best.

This is why I love belly dance so much. It’s so versatile. Belly dancing can brighten up a party, but can equally be mysterious and elegant. I’d like to go further and say that dancing is moving to music. And it’s up to us to hear the story in the melody. At least, that’s how it works for me.

what do you think of belly dancing? Are there things you associate with belly dancing that you’d like to talk about? Shoot ;)!

Hope you like this little read! Be sure to check the vids if you have time! The artists mentioned above are insanely talented!

Enjoy your weekend lovelies!


11 thoughts on “Cup of Confessions: 3 misunderstandings about Belly Dancing

    • sarahscupofbeauty says:

      I can vividly imagine :D. I honestly was surprised to find out that there was a belly dance club near my place, as I do live on the countryside… Sorry to hear there’s no dance group near where you life… Hopefully you’ve found some other dance style to enjoy! Thx for dropping by! xoxo Sarah

      Liked by 1 person

    • sarahscupofbeauty says:

      I’m glad I gave you more insight :D. It requires a lot of technique and it’s indeed a lot more than rolling the belly ^^. If you open up to belly dancing, you’ll find how versatile it is and how beautiful elegant and mysterious it can be. It could also be fun and upbeat.

      Liked by 1 person

    • sarahscupofbeauty says:

      This dance isn’t easy… I could dance for many years and still find layers to add to the dance. But that’s nice, because even if you suck at it, you will see progress over the years. I slightly cringe when I see my first show haha! But it’s nice to see the progress! xoxo Sarah


    • sarahscupofbeauty says:

      Hi Mack, you’re welcome :D! I also thought that initially about Belly Dancing… And I really think a lot of people do… There are often general assumptions about it. Like people say: You need a big belly to dance this kind of thing. And I’m like “really? Are you trying to tell me something?!” :p… I also sometimes feel like there are some negative things thought about belly dance… So I wanted to clear that out :D. Thanks for dropping by girl! Hope you’re doing well! Have a lovely week! xoxo Sarah

      Liked by 1 person

  1. LivingOutLoud says:

    Hi Sarah!
    It has been beautiful to follow you and read about your journey in dancing and the way it has helped you to learn to love yourself and embrace who you are. Dance has a wonderful way of transforming us from the inside out ❤
    I really enjoyed this post and am looking forward to visiting your links and videos with the different dancers. I love discovering new styles and watching people dance. It is so beautiful and inspiring.
    Every time I read your posts about dance, I feel more and more inspired to try belly dancing. I am a little scared for some of the reasons you mentioned above, but it might be a great way for me to bond more with myself. I moved to this new community where I do not know anyone and I have been trying to decide if I want to join a health club, try crossfit, or an adult ballet class, but maybe I will find a place to dance.
    Thanks for always being an inspiration.

    ❤ Alana

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sarahscupofbeauty says:

    Alana, I always look forward to your comments! You also always seem to find the right words! And I feel honored to be an inspiration for you. Those words mean so much to me! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. It encourages me to write more often about it! I still have many dancers and styles, I could talk hours about! I truly would encourage you to try it out. The first 2 times, you’ll feel weird seeing yourself. Many people dance with a normal top, but I choose to show my belly. Because seeing myself in the mirror not only helps improve the movements and isolations, but it also helped me get over the fact that I don’t have a model body. Some people think I should lose weight and some find that I look good the way I do. Thanks to belly dance, I’ve been able to let go of what others think. It’s more difficult than it sounds, right? Check out 2 of my teachers: (each very different in body type, but they both rock!). I think it’s important to work towards a goal. Yes, I’d like to lose some weight and have a more flat tummy, but it doesn’t mean I can’t love myself and cherish my body the way it is. We only have one body and we should think of it as something we need to cherish. I’ve stopped being hard on myself. I just want to live healthily, enjoy my life and spend time doing things that give me energy. And that’s what dancing does :). I feel like it does the same for you… Do what makes you feel happy, Alana! xoxo Sarah


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