Hungarian belly dancer Toth Bea Amaraya believes the form connects to one’s undiscovered feminine side

She is from Hungary and never thought of taking dancing as a career. “I had a regular job back home and was into kick boxing,” says Bea Toth Amamraya. A medical problem saw Bea consulting a woman who was trained in natural medicine in India. “She suggested yoga or Bharatanatya. I could not find a school that taught this form back home. However, I found someone teaching belly dancing in the gym where I went for my kick boxing. I fell head over heels in love with the dance, the style and the music.”

Today she is well-known name in the world of belly dancing and travels the world sharing her knowledge and technique. “I started learning the dance form in Hungary and within months I was cured of my medical problem. I wanted to learn more, and so I travelled to Egypt.”

Bea started learning belly dancing in 2001 and became a fulltime dancer in 2004. “I was in Egypt so often that I even competed at the International Belly dancing competition there. I have won the first place many times. And now I am invited to teach in Egypt, which is such a complement.”

Bea is upset that the form, which is folkloric in nature, is associated with seediness. “People have diluted and messed with the form, just to make money. If you go back to history, it was a taboo for the belly to be exposed in this dance form. Just like your Indian classical dance, this form too has music and lyrics. The culture of Egypt is very similar to that of India, they are conservative people.” The affable dancer has decided never to dance in bars and hotels. “It is very tempting. But I want to live the artiste way and also do not want to give up the original beauty of this folk dance or tamper with it to make money.”

She also feels that every woman should take to learning this dance form as it she believes that belly dancing was “born when a woman was born. It is created to make a woman feel feminine and relax all her muscles. Today the fashion is to look and dress like a man. Women are so busy building their career and home that they forget what it is to be feminine. I believe belly dancing connects you to that undiscovered feminine side of you.”

“I know that there are many dancers in India who want to learn belly dancing but are hesitant to learn it. To reach out to such women I have come out with a DVD called Belly Dancing by Bea Toth Amaraya. It has a step-by-step instructions and also warm up exercises and simple combination steps of this beautiful dance form with the Arabic drum beats. It is priced at Rs. 295 and is available in the market.”

Bea also plans to do some collaborative work this November with some of the dancers in the city and promises to be back for more intensive workshops. She heads the Belly Dance Theatre, a school that teaches belly dancing in Hungary and can be contacted on www.bellybea.com. Soon she will also be available on amarayabellydance.com.