A young Arab girl tells her story as she is initiated into womanhood and gives at the same time a history of the dance that is known to us as 'bellydancing'. Far from the slightly risque, 'nightclub' image this kind of dancing has been given in the west, to women in the Arab culture the dance holds a significance that underlies their wellbeing and their sense of womanhood. The girl, now the author Fawzia Al-Rawi, fascinated by her own experience of the dance, has studied its earliest beginnings, through the days of the Pharaohs and the Roman Empire, and into the Arab world of the last three centuries. This book is her revelation of the effects of the dance's movements on both the body of the dancer and the whole psyche. It is also a practical guide for those who are inspired to put down the book and try the movements. The author describes the variations of the dance as it is performed for grieving and mouming, and to aid pregnancy and birth, conveying the spirit of these age-old rituals, and their possibilities for healing and empowering women today. Fawzia Al-Rawi has written a strikingly graceful and original book that blends personal memoir with the history and theory of the dance that leads to womanhood.