Each year on the second Saturday in May, belly dance enthusiasts all over the world come together to celebrate World Belly Dance Day. Founded by Lydia Tzigane of Dubai, the main purpose of this event is to educate the public on the art form and history of the dance, while celebrating its beauty and mystique. Another main idea is to promote community service, as event hosts are asked to spread good will by donating all event proceeds to charity.
In addition to spreading the love of the dance far and wide, another huge motivation for this special event is also to clear up some of the common misunderstandings surrounding the dance and culture. To many throughout the general public, belly dancing is seen as something just performed in restaurants and clubs and that’s typically depicted on the silver screen as a sexual display done to entice men. The most common scenes often show harems of women surrounding one or more man and dancing solely for the men’s pleasure. Although there are some who get hung up on the sometimes sexy costumes and sensual movements and body isolations, the fact is that there is so much more to it than meets the eye. (Which is what supporters of this event want us to focus on).
The reality is that there is so much more to it that this. In fact, historically, tradition called for belly dance to primarily be performed in front of other women as a playful expression and art form. It became used more for the entertainment of men as Westerners got more involved and began using it to tantalize and promote films.
Celebrated around the world, with some of the biggest events held in India, Brazil, Canada, the U.S., South Africa, Namibia, Guatemala, and the U.K; There are also highly visible events in Belgium, Croatia, Dubai, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, Serbia, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago and other places around the world. Groups get together to put on a variety of workshops, performances, competitions and more, all in the name of charity. Participants are asked to host fundraisers in the name of their favorite charity, making this more than just a dance, but truly a way to connect with our communities. This also aims to shift the focus from what the dancers look like and are wearing to something deeper like the art itself and how it brings people together from all walks of life across lines of race, gender, size, age, nationality, religion and beyond.
Groups are asked to document their events and send them into http://worldbellydanceday.com/join-world-bellydance-day/ where they will be shared on the site for all to see and enjoy.