The Health & Fitness Aspects of Belly Dance:

It may look as though only the lower half of the body is getting a workout, but in fact the whole body and internal organs all benefit. Estelle says this massaging of internal organs has a rejuvenating effect, increasing the secretion of hormones, expelling toxins and helping to replace dead cells.

Belly dancing utilises body fat faster than any other known program. Thirty minutes of belly-dancing is equivalent to four hours of callisthenics. Unlike jogging or aerobics, blood pressure is not raised significantly. Some physiotherapists refer patients for belly dancing because the rotations and rounded movements free up the spine and joints in a non jarring way. It is also said to help with period pain and cramping.

Other minor health problems which may be helped with belly-dancing include bad posture, nervous tension, cramps, depression,constipation and poor circulation. Pregnant women find belly dancing excellent prenatal exercise because it strengthens the pelvic muscles and loosens up the abdominal area. There are other benefits basic physical ones.

Belly dancing allows for individual improvisation and interpretation, lowers inhibitions and improves a woman's self esteem and confidence. A common side effect is an improvement in her relationship.

MOVING MEDITATION Belly dancing combines physical, emotional and spiritual elements. Estelle, who teaches Beledi, or Egyptian bellydance says: `Its more than simply dance. It could be called the union of physics and bodily engineering at a high level, or a form of mind-body control. The beat of the drum sets the rhythm of the dance, which in turn sets the pulse and heart rate.

The Japanese, in the early period of their history when Zen Buddhism was beginning, formed a branch of esoteric philosophy called hara. It is the basic premise of hara that a point just below the navel is the `pressure valve' of one's being. They believe that if you keep this point relaxed you will have better control of your being by balancing yin and yang energies, or chi. Interestingly, the Japanese independently discovered this meditative aspect of Beledi dance around the same time the Egyptians were painting belly dancers on the wall of pyramids.

About the video

The Enchanted dance is a film about Egyptian BellyDance, in two parts, essentially a learn to Belly Dance video, running time is 90 minutes and it is available on NTSC VHS (USA version) & PAL VHS (Australian version). A soundtrack accompanies the video and a small leaflet on Costume Design comes with the video as well.

About the Dancer

Estelle is a highly experienced Belly Dancer from Australia, who studied many different versions of the dance, she has danced in seven countries, and has appeared on many television shows, from The Midday Show in Sydney to The Beat Takashi show in Japan, she has also appeared in feature films and danced on the some of the best stages in the world today.

About Beledi

Egyptian belly-dance was originally, called 'Beledi', which translates as `native dance'. Some of the oldest hieroglyphics in the great pyramids of Egypt, dating as far as 3000 BC, portray women In traditional. Beledi poses. 12 Classes of movements are known in the Beledi form of Authentic Egyptian Belly Dance. This is a wonder-fully beautiful way to loose weight and attain a new level in health and fitness.

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