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What is bellydance

Bellydance, also known in Arabic speaking areas as Raqs Sharki is a form of dance that is widely believed to have originated in Egypt. However, there is no definitive evidence and as a result there's a lot of misinformation as to where it originated and what it is. What people do know is that it has been around for as long as people can remember.

The dance involves hip movements in figure 8 and circle patterns, undulations through the torso, shimmies of the shoulders, hips and legs and elegant hands and arms. However, "bellydance" or better yet raqs sharki is so much more than just those movements.

In many countries, raqs sharki is danced both as a social dance in casual settings and in a public setting in restaurants and cabarets by professional dancers.

When danced casually, it is danced in everyday street clothes in homes and private parties. When danced professionally it is danced quite often in a two piece costume that shows the abdomen. The dance movements are bigger and and sharp hip and chest accents are added to match accompanying drum beats. It also involves arabesques, spins, floor work depending on region, and the use of props. Much of what we see in bellydance in a professional setting is inspired from the "Golden Era" of Egyptian cinema by famous dancers such as Samia Gamal, Badia Masabni, Najwa Fouad, Naima Akaif, Souhair Zaki and many others


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