Growing up in Turkish culture, I was familiar with the moves of oriental belly dance. But what I did not know was, its magic on the woman psychology! I had no idea on its meaning or the deep philosophy behind it until I found the book of “Oriental belly dance’” by Kemal Ozdemir. Then the beauty and power of Oriental Belly Dance hit me while taking me to a different level of my femininity and speaking to my soul…

The book was telling about belly dancing and how it has been known as a symbol of the Eastern Orientalism and has always symbolized the magical attraction of Eastern women and aroused interest in the Western world. It also said the oriental belly dance is the rythmic expression of the female capacity to give birth and her desire for sexual intercourse. In other words, it is the feminine expression of the human being’s basic instinct to perpetuate his race. The ‘’belly jerk’’ moves, from which the dance derives its name, is a rendition of a fetus kicking its mother’s belly and symbolizes pregnancy. Belly dancing is generally accepted to be the sensous exposition of the female’s instinct to seduce the male and is, in this sense, a sacred call.

Through my research on this dance form which is profoundly different, uniquely healing and empowering in ways, I felt an urgent need and passion to tell this story as a filmmaker. Like so many women today, I think we forget to connect with our femininity. In the midst of our daily lives among computers, traffic, corporate fashion and the many roles that we play each day, oriental belly dancing has given us the opportunity to love our curves, ourselves and our sensuality. It has created an avenue to express what has often been repressed and to awaken what has been aching to come alive. Women throughout history, from the most primitive to modern cultures, have loved to adorn themselves and their environments. The dressing up, costuming and exotic images that are a part of this dance and it’s culture, satisfies our intrinsic need to decorate, beautify, and embellish. The deep abdominal breathing that accompanies many of the movements, soothes and nourishes our nervous systems and is greatly needed in our culture of shallow chest breathers. Lifting the sternum, rib cage and upper body isolations, expand breathing and lung capacity and reverse the effects of having been hunched over the computer or steering wheel. It’s wonderful to see this change in posture create a more regal and confident appearance.

Today, many people are seeking out the calmness and serenity of ancient Eastern philosophies and practices to help themselves rise above the stress and tensions of life in our modern era. With a little research, I learned that the oriental belly dance is one of the many Eastern forms that has recently become a popular antidote to our competitive and hectic world. Oriental belly dance consists of natural movements that work with the body, not against it. In a most effective manner, the movements exercise and refine the entire physical body and its functions. The rolling and undulating moves gently work the muscles and joints in a full range of motion, at the same time, the movements massage away tensions. Those who practice this ancient dance find a healing oasis in the turmoil of our times. So did I… And I also made a documentary film out of it called as The Magical Call of ‘Oryantal’.

After all life is a dance. Rivalry, fights and peace are forms of dance. And the oriental belly dance is a unique form of art which needs to be discovered by all the women who wants to feel like a beautiful, strong, confident woman!

posts by Umut