Friday, December 10, 2010

Bellydance & Pregnancy

For Jennifer...

"Leading belly dance and ethnographer Morocco recorded her experience watching dance used as a birth practice among Berbers in 1967. Posing as a deaf mute maid of on of her friends' wives, Morocco entered the birthing tent for the beginning of the ritual. The women of the tribe spent the day in the tent, eating, drinking, dancing, and singing. The pregnant woman danced for at least half a day. In the center of the tent, in the ground, a small hollow had been made. The next morning, when the birth began, Morocco arrived to see the pregnant woman squatting over the hollow in the ground. The rest of the women formed three circles around the pregnant woman, moving together in a clockwise motion while slowly undulating their abdomens, in a movement that Morocco describes as being "much slower than a flutter." Every few minutes the pregnant woman would stand up and perform the abdominal movements herself. According to Morocco, the woman was very calm.

At noon, the entire dance stopped for prayers and tea. Less than half an hour after the noon lunch break, the pregnant woman squatted in the hollow and delivered her twins, fifteen minutes apart. During the birth, the woman's abdomen undulated in the same way as the dancing women's abdomens moved around her. The dance directly imitated the birthing movement necessary for a quick and easy delivery."

"Bellydancing" by Pina Coluccia, Anette Paffrath, and Jean Putz
(a book from my dad)

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