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The Belly Dance Book: Rediscovering the Oldest Dance, Edited by Tazz Richards


The art of belly dance has been around for centuries, mesmerizing captive audiences young or old; female or male. A renewed interest in the dance, especially in the Hip-Hop generation, has ignited due to the current song & video “Addictive” by singer Truth Hurts. In the past, singers such as Janet Jackson & Aaliyah have incorporated basic belly dance moves into their dance routines in videos & concerts. For the pop music listeners, Shakira & Britney Spears do their fair share of hip shakin’ as well to entice & pique curiosity.


Already a well established fact that the dance is also a great way to keep in shape & get in tune with your body, those who want to explore further would benefit by picking up the “The Belly Dance Book”.Whether you are a belly dance beginner or pro, this book, published by Backbeat Press is THE book to get.


“The Belly Dance Book: Rediscovering the Oldest Dance” does an excellent job of breaking down the cultural history of the dance, explaining the origins and ancient practices without leaving the reader to feel like they are trying to absorb centuries of information for a graded exam later. But it’s not just a history lesson that you get here. Within its 208 black & white pages, Tazz Richards, the editor, does a wonderful job of bringing together some of the utmost authoritative professionals in the genre to contribute to the book. 18 dancers, including Richards, provide enlightening & simple tips, advice & guidance for everything associated with the dance:


  • The Spirit of the dance

  • Props

  • How snakes play a part in the dance/performance

  • Make-up & Henna body art

  • Costuming

  • Music

  • The business of dancing professionally


    “The Belly Dance Book” includes pictures & line-art throughout, making this more of a workbook. Having everything in one book and presented by many names & faces in the industry is a refreshing approach. With this dance as an art, it is very open to personally interpretation & this mantra is reflected as well. There are very few “rules” set forth but there are suggestions & even solutions to situations or problems can be found here. There is also a section that offers not only other books, videos, music & websites but also a very well put together SOURCE DIRECTORY listing various dancers, teachers, troupes, venders, etc. located all over the country to complete this all encompassing piece of work.


    Whether you‘re a student of the dance or are already a professional or you’re looking to enlighten yourself (even if solely for the purpose of knowledge & not to pursue the dance), very reasonably priced for the wealth of information that it contains, I highly recommend “The Belly Dance Book: Rediscovering the Oldest Dance”. I give it 5 out of 5 shimmies.
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