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  #1  
Old 09-16-2011, 03:56 PM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
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Why do belly dancers generally not have toned bellies?

I hesitate to use the term "fat", though that's what my boyfriend thinks of belly dancers. My ignorant guess is that the regions in which it originated had a somewhat different standard of beauty / optimal body model and it's a matter of tradition. But what about modern day, American dancers? I personally think the rounded body shape suits the art but the bf's comment did get me wondering; if you're using your abdominal muscles in such a strenuous and concentrated way, shouldn't you be more toned? Does the exercise itself cause the middle to be seemingly englarged due to the muscle beneath? I know it sounds a stupid question but I've honestly never seen a belly dancer with a firm, defined belly. Of course you can probably provide links that prove me wrong but I'm talking in generalities.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:59 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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In my experience, most ladies who do a lot of belly dancing do, in fact, have extremely toned figures, belly and elsewhere. This is distinct from the folks who just go to one belly dancing class for an hour each weekend: They'll have much the same bodies as the population at large.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:01 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
I hesitate to use the term "fat", though that's what my boyfriend thinks of belly dancers. My ignorant guess is that the regions in which it originated had a somewhat different standard of beauty / optimal body model and it's a matter of tradition. But what about modern day, American dancers? I personally think the rounded body shape suits the art but the bf's comment did get me wondering; if you're using your abdominal muscles in such a strenuous and concentrated way, shouldn't you be more toned? Does the exercise itself cause the middle to be seemingly englarged due to the muscle beneath? I know it sounds a stupid question but I've honestly never seen a belly dancer with a firm, defined belly. Of course you can probably provide links that prove me wrong but I'm talking in generalities.
This is totally a WAG, but I wonder if when most people think of a 'toned belly' they think of seeing the persons abs (6 pack, or at least the beginnings of it). I'm wondering if belly dancing doesn't work those muscles, or maybe not to the extent that it's going to cause them stand out (like it would if the person was doing hundreds of situps every day).

Last edited by Joey P; 09-16-2011 at 04:02 PM..
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:02 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is online now
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Muscles you get at the gym; a six-pack you get in the kitchen.

In other words, nothing but low body fat will give you the appearance of "ripped" abs.

Extremely low body fat, at the same time, does not have what is generally considered a "beneficial" effect on the appearance of the breasts. You will get either flat if they weren't too big to begin with, or kinda look "deflated" as the breasts are partially fat.

Last edited by Hello Again; 09-16-2011 at 04:06 PM..
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:03 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Body fat determines if you can see the abdominal muscles. Exercise and belly dancing may mean you have very strong abdominal muscles, but unless you diet your way to low body fat percentage you'll never see them. You can't spot reduce fat, you have to lower your overall body fat percentage, and that's pretty hard to do.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:04 PM
Todderbob Todderbob is offline
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Sit ups do not give you a six pack, a lack of fat gives you a six pack.

Most people (read: all afaik) have six packs, they're just buried under layers of fat.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:06 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is offline
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Body fat determines if you can see the abdominal muscles. Exercise and belly dancing may mean you have very strong abdominal muscles, but unless you diet your way to low body fat percentage you'll never see them. You can't spot reduce fat, you have to lower your overall body fat percentage, and that's pretty hard to do.
I couldn't have said it better. You can strenghthen your abdominal muscles all day 'til the cows come home; but if there is extra fat covering those muscles, they will never be visible.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:08 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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They have toned bellies for sure, but not muscular and/or extremely lean tummies one might find on a fitness competitor or distance runner who is in the business of extremely low body fat.

So, I think it's all relative. Most belly dancers you can find on-line in pics and videos appear to have fit/firm tummies (not all, but most).

Belly dancing is not nearly as intense as other activities that bring some women's body fat levels down to 12% (where one would see defined abs/six-pack abs, etc).

ETA: heck, the very image of a belly dancer that pops into my head is one that is a bit more 'classic feminine' and not one that is ripped or hard-bodied.

.

Last edited by Philster; 09-16-2011 at 04:10 PM..
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:09 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Belly dancing is supposed to have a nice round belly. Not a toned, flat belly. And belly dancers are 'fat"? What does your boyfriend think is skinny? Bellydancers are supposed to be voluptous.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:11 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In my experience, most ladies who do a lot of belly dancing do, in fact, have extremely toned figures, belly and elsewhere. This is distinct from the folks who just go to one belly dancing class for an hour each weekend: They'll have much the same bodies as the population at large.
I used to attend and do volunteer work for a a church that rented space out to a belly-dancing studio; I think I've posted about it before. Anyway, I'd see the belly-dancers are a regular basis, and they ranged all over the chart in terms of attractiveness. The teachers were toned and had gorgeous bodies, as did the most committed dancers. But some had slight bellies, or larger ones, or were outright fat.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:23 PM
I_Know_Nothing I_Know_Nothing is offline
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Are belly dancers supposed to be fat?

I asked this similar question years ago. Not a very long thread but some interesting responses.
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  #12  
Old 09-16-2011, 04:26 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Originally Posted by Philster View Post
They have toned bellies for sure, but not muscular and/or extremely lean tummies one might find on a fitness competitor or distance runner who is in the business of extremely low body fat.
Yep - all to do with the body fat percentage and how the body fat is distributed. When I used to do belly dancing no one in the class, not even the instructor, had a six pack. In fact at no point in my life, even when I had about 14% body fat did I I have a six pack (much to my chagrin).

Also, belly dancing begain in the Middle East and many of those cultures tend to prefer a bit of softness to their women so the ultra lean look isn't really prized in belly dancing circles.

Finally, belly dancing is reasonable exercise but no where near as intense as any number of other things that you can do.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:56 PM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
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Good information all; thanks. Objectively I know you can't spot reduce but looking at those ladies and their muscle control, it's hard for me to reconcile the two. I'll take your word(s) for it!

So, would you say it's not a particularly effective way to tone the belly (as compared to more traditional excercise)?
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:06 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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Because a belly dancer's body is sexier than a girl with a six pack and no ass.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:19 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post

So, would you say it's not a particularly effective way to tone the belly (as compared to more traditional excercise)?

This is incredibly hard to answer! Other 'traditional' exercises.... such as what?



The best abs can be found on people not even doing targeted ab work: track athletes, distance runners....
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:47 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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One of the beautiful things about belly dance is how it accommodates all body types. No exceptions. It can be good to have some more in the middle, because it gives you more to work with.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:58 PM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Right. Belly dancing is all about the jiggling. More fat = more to jiggle.
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:14 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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It is not all about the jiggling. It's all about beauty, grace, and exquisite muscle control.
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:24 PM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
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This is incredibly hard to answer! Other 'traditional' exercises.... such as what?



The best abs can be found on people not even doing targeted ab work: track athletes, distance runners....
Sorry, I meant as opposed to sit-ups or other core excercises (assuming one is in overall good shape / has low body fat).
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:26 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is offline
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
Good information all; thanks. Objectively I know you can't spot reduce but looking at those ladies and their muscle control, it's hard for me to reconcile the two. I'll take your word(s) for it!

So, would you say it's not a particularly effective way to tone the belly (as compared to more traditional excercise)?
Again, you seem to be missing the point being made over and over. "Strengthening" and "toning" are two different things. "Toning" has more to do with reducing body fat and exposing a lean, strong abdominal wall. "Strengthening" that abdominal wall can come in many forms, with one being belly dancing. Yes, belly dancing can be an effective way of strengthening one's abs but as far as toning them and exposing them, their is only one way. And that is to burn more calories than one consumes as well as working on strengthening them.
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:12 PM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
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Again, you seem to be missing the point being made over and over. "Strengthening" and "toning" are two different things. "Toning" has more to do with reducing body fat and exposing a lean, strong abdominal wall. "Strengthening" that abdominal wall can come in many forms, with one being belly dancing. Yes, belly dancing can be an effective way of strengthening one's abs but as far as toning them and exposing them, their is only one way. And that is to burn more calories than one consumes as well as working on strengthening them.
Pedantic much?I didn't say anything about strengthening. I clarified my question by responding toPhilster,specifying" if one is in overall good shape / has low body fat". In other words, if you don't have a big tire of fat around your mid section, are belly dancing excercises considered effective for "exposing a lean, strong abdominal wall". It's just a question for curiosity's sake so no need to exert anymore effort on it.
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:24 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is offline
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
Pedantic much?I didn't say anything about strengthening. I clarified my question by responding toPhilster,specifying" if one is in overall good shape / has low body fat". In other words, if you don't have a big tire of fat around your mid section, are belly dancing excercises considered effective for "exposing a lean, strong abdominal wall". It's just a question for curiosity's sake so no need to exert anymore effort on it.
I apologize. My mistake.
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  #23  
Old 09-16-2011, 09:03 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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The closest I've gotten to a belly dancer is in the Hawaii Five-0 opening theme, so I went looking for it on you-tube. To my surprise, there seems to be a much newer version of it. I didn't know this show made a come back.

Anyway, the belly dancer shot is only about .03 seconds long in the new version's opening theme, but it looks like she's a bit thinner than in the older version.

In the 70's version, the belly dancer has nearly an entire second of screen time and it's clear that she's vivacious, supple and curvy, which is what I thought women were trying to be. For this, you need to have a significant layer of body fat. Is the OP's BF expecting skin on muscle and washboard abs? That seems really unappealing for a belly dancer. Imagine it: a belly dancer with no belly.

Last edited by Patty O'Furniture; 09-16-2011 at 09:04 PM..
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:19 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Most people (read: all afaik) have six packs, they're just buried under layers of fat.
Mine looks more like a keg
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:38 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
Pedantic much?I didn't say anything about strengthening. I clarified my question by responding toPhilster,specifying" if one is in overall good shape / has low body fat". In other words, if you don't have a big tire of fat around your mid section, are belly dancing excercises considered effective for "exposing a lean, strong abdominal wall". It's just a question for curiosity's sake so no need to exert anymore effort on it.
It depends entirely on what degree of lean, strong abdominal wall you want exposed. When I was belly dancing I had fabulous obliques. (Like this: tummy) but not a six-pack. I xdon't actually think I could get my body fat low enough to get a six-pack, actually - at least not without liposuction of the belly area.

I think how lean looking you can get really depends on your body type - I'm an hourglass and as such I carry weight in my boobs, my butt and my belly.
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Old 09-17-2011, 05:28 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
Pedantic much?I didn't say anything about strengthening. I clarified my question by responding toPhilster,specifying" if one is in overall good shape / has low body fat". In other words, if you don't have a big tire of fat around your mid section, are belly dancing excercises considered effective for "exposing a lean, strong abdominal wall". It's just a question for curiosity's sake so no need to exert anymore effort on it.
I still don't understand what you are asking. Is it

1) Is belly dancing a good way to develop attractive muscles? That is, do most belly dancers have what would be attractive muscles underneath the fat?

or

2) Is belly dancing a good way to burn off fat in order to expose the muscles you have?

I suspect the answer to the first question is yes, but no more so than many other exercises. The only advantage belly-dancing might have is that it's fun, and so a woman might be willing to belly dance a lot more hours a week than she would be to do crunches (or run).

I suspect the answer to the second question is no, both because belly-dancing is going to burn fewer calories than many other forms of exercise (though, again, if you are willing to do it for longer, that's worth a lot) and because you are seriously underestimating what it takes to lose enough fat to have actual exposed abs--especially for a woman, and especially for a woman with a tendency to carry her fat in her stomach. It's not a matter of a big ole spare tire obscuring the abs: it's a matter of a quarter-inch layer of fat blurring them out. For most women, getting rid of that last quarter-inch takes a great deal of work, and you need to be doing a significant amount of strenuous exercise and pretty serious eating restrictions to get there. I'd go so far as to say that belly dancing on a very serious level would be a problem simply because of timing: for a woman to have exposed abs, she's probably putting in a couple of hours a day of aerobic exercise; to be a serious dancer, you need to be practicing a couple hours a day. Hard to do both.

Last edited by Manda JO; 09-17-2011 at 05:29 AM..
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:45 AM
Shakester Shakester is offline
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Everyone has abdominal muscles, but no-one has "six-pack abs" without specifically exercising them.

I have pretty close to zero body fat, I've been skinny my whole life. I'm now 46 and have the same body I had when I was 18, minus a few scars. But I've never consciously exercised in a trying-to-build-muscle way, so I don't have a six pack. Even at my thinnest, when I was very ill a couple of years ago, my belly didn't look like an underwear-model-guy's belly. It looked flat. Not "ripped".

Six-pack abs are unnatural in the sense that no-one had them (apart from body-builders and, possibly, a handful of people whose work required them to do the sorts of things that build up abdominal muscles) until recently. They're not normal, they're abnormal. Regular normal non bodybuilder/model guys don't have them by default.
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:15 AM
Capitaine Zombie Capitaine Zombie is offline
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
I hesitate to use the term "fat", though that's what my boyfriend thinks of belly dancers. My ignorant guess is that the regions in which it originated had a somewhat different standard of beauty / optimal body model and it's a matter of tradition. But what about modern day, American dancers? I personally think the rounded body shape suits the art but the bf's comment did get me wondering; if you're using your abdominal muscles in such a strenuous and concentrated way, shouldn't you be more toned? Does the exercise itself cause the middle to be seemingly englarged due to the muscle beneath? I know it sounds a stupid question but I've honestly never seen a belly dancer with a firm, defined belly. Of course you can probably provide links that prove me wrong but I'm talking in generalities.
Big Oriental dancing fan here (that's the preferred name, not belly dancing. It's not so much PC as it is reminding the unaware that it is not "shady stripping for the overweight"). Most active Oriental dancers (I mean ones that do it regularly, even if not professionally) will actually have some good abs, but, and this is where I love it, it mixes very gracefully with their natural curves. Most Oriental dancers tend to have Michelangelo-style bellies, not "muscle bitch" bodies. It's called taste.

I have seen some thin girls dance, and apart for a few exceptions, where the talent of the dancer is such that it trumps everything, they dance with a serious disadvantage, that is they start with a handicap in sensuality. You cant be all straight lines and pretend for curvy sensuality.
One thing that I love about Oriental dancing is how it can literally transform an average looking girl (or even a rather unattractive one) into a Lilith. I remember the first time I attended a class (wasnt trying to enlist ), the music came, and suddenly, dozens of girls, over which I would never have lost a second noticing in real life, became the center of the universe for me. This thing is magic.

And of course, since being sensual is all about exhuding confidence, a lot of their charms comes from this. They know how to move (the dance is more about the hips than the belly) like no one else.

So no, they actually have firm bellies, they're just keen on keeping their curves.

Last edited by Capitaine Zombie; 09-17-2011 at 07:20 AM..
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:58 PM
Becky2844 Becky2844 is offline
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I don't know, because hula dancers seem to have.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:56 PM
Claire Beauchamp Claire Beauchamp is offline
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Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture View Post
The closest I've gotten to a belly dancer is in the Hawaii Five-0 opening theme
*sigh*

That's a hula dancer. It's Hawaii Five-0.

As for belly dancers ... when I was an Anthro major in college, the going theory was that the practice developed as a way to prepare women for childbirth. It arose with the nomadic desert peoples of the Middle East, and as you might imagine that's a hard life for someone pregnant & giving birth. Strengthening those muscles -- not just the abs but the whole midsection -- and those undulating movements could go a ways in helping ease the process.

As others have said, though, the LOOK of the midsection has NOTHING to do with how strong it actually is.

By the way, the idea of "toning" is a myth, and it's not a distinction between strong muscles with fat and strong muscles without. As stumptuous.com says, there is only muscle building and fat loss. That's it. I do agree, though, that the modern idea of a "six pack" and an uber-flat, even concave, belly is an artificial construct. You can MAKE the human body look that way through a lot of work, but it's not an indicator of absolute strength/fitness and it's not natural. Look at the athletes and fitness gurus of any time up through the '60s. Jack LaLaine, the guys who played Tarzan who were Olympic swimmers, etc. They had bellies that are totally out of fashion now, but they could pick you up and throw you into next weel.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:34 AM
manila manila is offline
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Mine looks more like a keg
I have the six pack

...Just unfortunately am missing the plastic thingy that holds them all together
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:59 AM
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Every instructional video I've ever seen seems to take advantage of the jiggle. So color me surprised when people say it isn't necessary.

All the ones I've seen, it seems even the ones that look toned have a jiggle. Maybe their muscles are what jiggles.
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:13 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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OK, I can sort of understand where the OP is coming from, because...yes...this year, after a hiatus of nearly 30 years, I'm working at a Renn Faire again.

Well, at our Renn Faire there are a disproportionate number of "gypsy belly dancers" (being ever-so common in Elizabethan England...right...but I digress). And since I'm working all day (giving sword fighting demonstrations for 4 hours, and walking around being a general nuisance the other 4) I get to see, chat with, and work with these dancers. And a very large number of them, more than 50% of those over age 20, have tummies which are very large, and which actually hang over their beltline, like I commonly see among 40-something year old male executives at work. And it's not that these are obese women either, nor even overweight - many of them have well-toned and even stick-thin arms and legs...with a tummy that looks like it belongs on someone with a BMI twice what they actually are.

So...selection bias, purposeful body shaping, or some sort of unintended side effect?

ETA: yes I've read this goddamn thread too, and the other one. I'm mainly sharing why people may think they don't have toned bellies.
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Old 09-18-2011, 08:00 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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And it's not that these are obese women either, nor even overweight - many of them have well-toned and even stick-thin arms and legs...with a tummy that looks like it belongs on someone with a BMI twice what they actually are.

So...selection bias, purposeful body shaping, or some sort of unintended side effect?
I think it's maybe that a lot more women have figures like that than you realize, but it's generally considered undesirable, and so women with that sort of figure actively conceal it most of the time through things like clothing choices and foundation garments, and also by outright avoiding things like bathing suits. Lots of women carry their excess fat around their stomachs and will be stick thin everywhere else before the pooch even begins to go down. Belly dancing is really about the only place where that shape is celebrated, and so it's the only place where you see it (and it may well also attract women who feel unattractive in other contexts).
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:08 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Big Oriental dancing fan here (that's the preferred name, not belly dancing.
Only in French, where the word oriental refers to the Arab Middle East and North Africa. (It doesn't have that meaning in English.) Danse orientale being a direct French translation of Arabic raqṣ sharqī, literally 'eastern dance'. In Arabic, raqṣ sharqī is the standard term for it. Belly dance, rightly or wrongly, is the standard term in English.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:19 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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There are two terms in Arabic. Raqṣ sharqī refers to the glitzed-up "cabaret style" that is popular internationally, which is what non-Middle Easterners think of as belly dance.

Raqṣ baladī is the original dance style of the common people which lacks the foreign influence of the cabaret style. Baladī literally means 'of the country', with connotations of unpretentiousness, of the ordinary everyday people you'd meet in your neighborhood. The nearest equivalent in English that I can think of is the Southern U.S. expression "down home."
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:42 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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Originally Posted by Claire Beauchamp View Post
*sigh*

That's a hula dancer. It's Hawaii Five-0.

As for belly dancers ... when I was an Anthro major in college, the going theory was that the practice developed as a way to prepare women for childbirth. It arose with the nomadic desert peoples of the Middle East, and as you might imagine that's a hard life for someone pregnant & giving birth. Strengthening those muscles -- not just the abs but the whole midsection -- and those undulating movements could go a ways in helping ease the process.

As others have said, though, the LOOK of the midsection has NOTHING to do with how strong it actually is.

By the way, the idea of "toning" is a myth, and it's not a distinction between strong muscles with fat and strong muscles without. As stumptuous.com says, there is only muscle building and fat loss. That's it. I do agree, though, that the modern idea of a "six pack" and an uber-flat, even concave, belly is an artificial construct. You can MAKE the human body look that way through a lot of work, but it's not an indicator of absolute strength/fitness and it's not natural. Look at the athletes and fitness gurus of any time up through the '60s. Jack LaLaine, the guys who played Tarzan who were Olympic swimmers, etc. They had bellies that are totally out of fashion now, but they could pick you up and throw you into next weel.
However, athletes have always had a six-pack.
Lots of examples show toned, rippling abs in ancient statues.
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:49 PM
Shakester Shakester is offline
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
However, athletes have always had a six-pack.
Lots of examples show toned, rippling abs in ancient statues.
Ancient statues are idealised versions of the human physique. They're not accurate depictions of real human figures and they were never meant to be.

Yes, it's true that some people had six-packs in ancient Greece, because body-building was popular in ancient Greece. Just like it is in the modern day.

However, without working on exercises to build them up, nobody has a belly like like that, then or now. What Claire Beauchamp writes is absolutely correct: washboard abs are not natural, they are created artificially. There may have been jobs that required people to do things that coincidentally led to washboard abs, and they were observed and reproduced because some people think they look good, but bellies do not look that way without deliberate effort to make them look that way.

Someone like me, a skinny person who has never deliberately done an abdominal crunch in his life, does not have washboard abs; he has a flat belly without the defined "six-pack" of the body builder. That is what a normal not-fat and not-bodybuilder belly looks like. Nothing like the idealised versions you see in ancient Greek sculpture and modern magazine ads.
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:09 PM
Jaledin Jaledin is offline
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This thread has been going on for a long time. As has been stated above, and which statement I shall reiterate: they are fat, the one's who don't have "toned" bellies. Your body doesn't give a shit about how many crunches you can do, but about your body-fat. The reason is, indisputably, that the belly-dancers are too fat for you to see their muscles. No cite needed -- it's common knowledge.

Besides, why is having a "6-pack" a desideratum for a female? I contend it is not. Just shed the fat and your average belly dancer might have smaller tits but be more "toned" -- not my preference, but not a problem if that's what they desire.

Last edited by Jaledin; 09-18-2011 at 02:11 PM..
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:50 PM
amuredem amuredem is offline
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It just occurred to me that this is the first post on google regarding the topic of body types for belly dancers, and it's rather disheartening that nobody has an accurate comprehensive answer. I know this is an old post, but I figured that I'd sign up and post regarding this topic.
Belly dancers are not supposed to be athletic looking, they're supposed to have full, feminine bodies. Some women are prone to dramatic weight loss with exercise, while other women can develop the myriad muscles required to perform the movements involved in belly dancing without actually losing a great deal of weight. The goal of belly dance is to move beautifully, and having a larger belly is actually a benefit, because the movements you work so hard to perform look more obvious. Instead of developing the rectus abdominis (the "six-pack muscle") belly dance develops the internal/external obliques (emphasizing waistline and hourglass shape), the transversus abdominis (lower belly band), quadratus lumborum (lower back muscles), and the diaphragm (breathing muscle, utilized in a lot of the "fluttering" movements common in belly dance). The overlying rectus muscle is only minimally utilized in most movements, and never really implemented in full. I still wonder how anyone can be technically obese and practice belly dance with any skill, but only because of the sheer amount of calories it burns. The concentrated muscle movements involve all of the larger muscles in the legs, and I, for one, work up an incredible sweat after just 30 minutes (whereas other exercises may exert me after about an hour and a half). But all of the women with larger bellies are working at an advantage (and they still develop more sleek physiques because of their work on the oblique muscles) due to the fact that they have more to work with in the various movements desired out of the body when dancing. When a smaller woman undulates, it requires them to exaggerate with everything they've got, but larger woman can achieve a greater effect by merely moving the muscles required in the undulation, her belly and weight do the rest of the work for her. In belly dance, while I've never heard anyone wish outright to be obese, many women envy the larger women in their dancing abilities because of the overall effect. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzg4a...901C&index=1</ There are a few examples of the "ideal body-type" in belly dancers. And I'll tell you that in any duets I've seen, if there's a thinner woman with a larger woman, your eye is still drawn to the larger woman, and it's not typically out of disdain, but because she moves better through the routine.
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:09 PM
bump bump is offline
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Braains!

Last edited by bump; 08-13-2013 at 03:10 PM..
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  #42  
Old 08-13-2013, 05:46 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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Braains!
Was this really necessary?



Thanks for an informative post, amuredem. And welcome to the Dope!
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  #43  
Old 08-14-2013, 02:27 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
OK, I can sort of understand where the OP is coming from, because...yes...this year, after a hiatus of nearly 30 years, I'm working at a Renn Faire again.

Well, at our Renn Faire there are a disproportionate number of "gypsy belly dancers" (being ever-so common in Elizabethan England...right...but I digress). And since I'm working all day (giving sword fighting demonstrations for 4 hours, and walking around being a general nuisance the other 4) I get to see, chat with, and work with these dancers. And a very large number of them, more than 50% of those over age 20, have tummies which are very large, and which actually hang over their beltline, like I commonly see among 40-something year old male executives at work. And it's not that these are obese women either, nor even overweight - many of them have well-toned and even stick-thin arms and legs...with a tummy that looks like it belongs on someone with a BMI twice what they actually are.

So...selection bias, purposeful body shaping, or some sort of unintended side effect?

ETA: yes I've read this goddamn thread too, and the other one. I'm mainly sharing why people may think they don't have toned bellies.
And at the Anime conventions they dress as Sailor Moo?
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  #44  
Old 08-14-2013, 03:05 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
... I get to see, chat with, and work with these dancers. And a very large number of them, more than 50% of those over age 20, have tummies which are very large, and which actually hang over their beltline, like I commonly see among 40-something year old male executives at work. And it's not that these are obese women either, nor even overweight - many of them have well-toned and even stick-thin arms and legs...with a tummy that looks like it belongs on someone with a BMI twice what they actually are.
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I think it's maybe that a lot more women have figures like that than you realize, but it's generally considered undesirable, and so women with that sort of figure actively conceal it most of the time through things like clothing choices and foundation garments, and also by outright avoiding things like bathing suits.
Maybe what you saw wasn't so much "fat" as it was loose skin after pregnancies? Daily mail article with a couple of SFW pictures.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:14 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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So, would you say it's not a particularly effective way to tone the belly (as compared to more traditional excercise)?
It tones the belly, what it doesn't do is shove the cookies away. To shove cookies away you'd normally use a hand.
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
Maybe what you saw wasn't so much "fat" as it was loose skin after pregnancies? Daily mail article with a couple of SFW pictures.
Or the result of a surgical procedure. In my mother's case, an apendecetcomy which ended up being a removed ovary, but I've seen women to whom it happened as a result of a not-delicate-enough cesarean.

Last edited by Nava; 08-14-2013 at 03:17 AM..
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  #46  
Old 08-15-2013, 12:38 AM
nion nion is offline
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I've always been put off by "muscular" or "toned" women. Heck, plain old skinny women are off-putting. I want smooth, soft lines, not bumps and bones. In fact, I find the "typical" belly dancer body to be close to ideal.
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  #47  
Old 08-18-2013, 06:36 PM
Zyada Zyada is offline
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I would like to see what people consider "not toned" when they make posts like this. I suspect that it is because what is considered "toned" nowadays comes from people posing on the front covers of fashion and exercise magazines - poses where the subject has gotten into a very rigid position, with many muscles contracted.

It would be almost impossible to belly dance like that, since a great deal of the dance involves moving parts of the body with or at least around the core muscles, and those muscles have to be relaxed to be used properly.

This dancer might look "flabby", but you can tell that she has really strong control of her core muscles: Carolena Nericcio
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  #48  
Old 09-04-2013, 09:50 PM
Zyada Zyada is offline
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An apropos article: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/hea...-1226709726569
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  #49  
Old 09-04-2013, 10:19 PM
Mississippienne Mississippienne is offline
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While we're at it: Rachel Brice, goddess of belly dance, and possessor of one of the best bodies on planet Earth.
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  #50  
Old 09-05-2013, 02:06 AM
outlierrn outlierrn is offline
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Originally Posted by Mississippienne View Post
While we're at it: Rachel Brice, goddess of belly dance, and possessor of one of the best bodies on planet Earth.
''She danced just like her back had no bones.''



You want to talk abs? Check this shit out, bellydancer coin trick
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