Belly dance works well with a woman’s muscle and bone structure, requiring movements that come from her core instead of from her feet and legs. She learns to isolate different parts of her body so she can move them, independent of each other, as part of the sensual dances she performs. To accentuate her connection to Mother Earth, she dances barefoot.
The first public belly dance was performed at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876. This form of dance was learned and performed mainly by women whose nationalities historically learned and performed the dances--Turkish and Greek women.
In the 1970s, Masha Archer, a committed feminist, wrote a manifesto detailing a form of belly dance she called American Tribal Style. ATS concentrated on woman-power and sisterhood, allowing dancers to be judged on dancing ability, not looks. The focus was taken away from one single woman dancer and placed on the group and the dance. To learn more about belly dance, read our Bright Hub guides.
Image: Belly Dancer FDP Credit africa: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1803