There's been a vibrant Belly Dancing scene in Adelaide since the 1970s with migrants and refugees making a living out of the ancient art-form, by performing in restaurants, for events or teaching for fun and fitness.
Belly Dancing or Raq Sharqi comes from various styles of dancing in North Africa and the Middle East- it has its roots in tribal fertility ceremonies.
It's was romanticised in the 18th and 19th centuries, when Western artists depicted romanticised images of dancers in the Ottoman Empire, and again in the 1930s and 40s in Hollywood musicals. It's been sexualised at times too, but most Belly Dancing takes the attitude of empowering the female over the male. Female and male audience equally enjoy the performances in restaurants.
Hip hits -staccato movement of your hips out from the body (i.e. Shakiri's favourite move. The Columbian singer/dancer is of Lebanese descent)
Undulations -which are circular fluid movements of the hips. (These undulations are great for the torso and abs, hence Shakira's killer abs).
Belly Dancing is great for your health all round. It helps maintain weight, get toned and is even a good exercise for the prevention of osteoporosis. It improves flexibility especially in your lower back. Dancing with the veil builds strength in the upper-body and shoulders.
When booking a Belly Dancing class, it is also good to think about the kind of Belly Dancing you want to do. Would you like traditional? Would you like a fusion, perhaps tribal or even gothic or latino? Do you want to just have fun? Some centres offer you the different options and some specialise in a certain form.
Here is a list of places where you can try Belly Dancing in Adelaide.
Belly Dance Amethys teach Egyptian and Turkish Belly dance, also Tribal and Indian fusion. They offer beginners through to advance classes and are located in Gilles St in the City and also at Bridgewater.
Ahlam Belly Dance - teachers the traditional moves but they have a lot of fun classes including Bollywood. They are located at Glen Osmond Road, Eastwood.
WEA also run a course (they use the teachers from the Belly Dance Arabesque school)
So, if you are looking for a fun activity with the girls, an alternative form of exercise or just have an interest in dance and Middle East/North African cultures, Belly Dancing classes are all around you.