Bellydance is over five thousand years old, with roots extending out through many of the ancient cultures: India, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Persia, and the mid-East. These dances have origin in ritual/tribal dances, temple dances, social dances, exercises to prepare women for childbirth, and dances of victory. Throughout the many countries, cities, towns and villages that have the dance as part of their culture, one can see stylistic nuances in both the dance and costuming that mark the style of that region. This why we chose to present you with several different styles of bellydance in this program: Egyptian Dance, Traditional Cabaret Style, Persian Dance, and Persian Banderi Dance. We have additionally added some modern versions of the dance, which are non-traditional, yet quite popular. Bellydance movements are natural to a women's muscle and skeletal structure, and even the leg and foot movements are predominantly low-impact. Many people believe that this dance is the first and purest form of dance, since it naturally evolved with civilization, and can be performed by anyone, regardless of their age or body type. This is also why bellydance is so popular as an exercise form. Many of the movements involve isolating different areas of the body, and moving them sinuously in opposition to each other. Other important qualities of bellydance movement involve percussive hip accents, and fast, vibrating movements called Shimmies.