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Belly Dance | Belly Dance History | Belly Dance Wiki

Belly Dance

Belly dance is thought of as Arabic dance that originated in Egypt and it’s evolved to require many alternative forms counting on the country and region, each in costume and dance vogue.

Origins and history

It is believed that Belly dance encompasses a long history within the Middle East, however reliable proof concerning its origins is scarce, and accounts of its history area unit typically extremely speculative. many Greek and Roman sources, as well as Decimus Junius Juvenalis and Martial, describe dancers from Anatolia and Spain victimization undulating movements, taking part in clappers, and sinking to the ground with “quivering thighs”, descriptions that area unit actually suggestive the movements that we tend to these days escort belly dance.

Later, notably within the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, European travelers within the Middle East like Edward Lane and Gustave Flaubert wrote extensively of the dancers they saw there, as well as the Awalim and Ghawazee of Egypt. within the Turkish Empire belly dance was performed by each boy and girl within the Sultan’s palace.

Social Context

Within the Middle East, Belly dance is considered as a folk or social dance and as a performance art.

As a social dance, belly dance is performed at celebrations and social gatherings by standard folks (male and feminine, young and old), in their standard garments. in additional conservative or ancient societies, these events could also be gender isolated, with separate parties wherever men and girls dance single.

Historically, skilled dance performers were the Awalim (primarily musicians and poets), Ghawazi, and Köçekler. It is thought that the Maazin sisters are the last authentic performers of Ghawazi dance in Egypt.

In the era, skilled performers (including dancers, singers, and actors) don’t seem to be thought of to be respectable within the Middle East, and there’s a robust social stigma connected to feminine performers specifically since they show their bodies publicly, that is taken into account haram in Islam.

In Egypt

Belly dance in Egypt

Working in Cairo area unit a number of the foremost known bellydancers, costume designers, and gifted musicians.

The modern Egyptian belly dance vogue (and the fashionable costume) area unit typically aforementioned to possess originated at Cairo’s Night Clubs so to Egyptian Cinema since over a century. several of the native dancers went on to look in Egyptian films and had a good influence on the event of the Egyptian vogue and gained Brobdingnagian fame like genus Samia Gamal and Taheyya Kariokka UN agency each helped attract the eyes to Egyptian vogue worldwide.

Egyptian belly dance is noted for its controlled, precise movements. Terms that area unit typically wont to describe the Egyptian sort of dance is solo, elegant, smooth, internalized movement, controlled, flow, graceful, choked with feeling.

In Turkey

Turkish belly dance is observed in Turkey as Oryantal Dans, or just ‘Oriental’. The Turkish sort of Bellydance is spirited and coltish, with a bigger outward projection of energy than the additional contained Egyptian vogue. Turkish dancers area unit illustrious for his or her energetic, athletic (even gymnastic) vogue, and their adept use of clappers, additionally referred to as zils. Connoisseurs of Turkish dance typically say a dancer UN agency cannot play the zils isn’t associate degree accomplished dancer. Floorwork, that has been prohibited in Egypt since the mid-20th century, remains a crucial a part of Turkish Bellydance.

Another identifying component of Turkish vogue is that the use of a 9/8 rhythm, counted as 12-34-56-789, typically observed as Karsilama rhythm. Many skilled dancers and musicians in Turkey still be of itinerant heritage, and also the Roma folks of Turkey have had a robust influence on the Turkish Vogue

In Lebanon

Lebanese dance takes from the classic oriental dance, however still incorporates a feisty, fashionable edge. There area unit massive steps, backward lean to the body, twisting hip rotations, massive and busy arms and much of shimmies. the categories of techniques that area unit employed in Lebanese vogue dance area unit fast superimposed shimmies and delicate internal movements. Lebanese dancers generally embody kicks, splits, deep backbends, and Turkish drops.

Outside the center East

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Belly dance was popularized within the West throughout the Romantic movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, once specialized artists pictured romanticized pictures of serial life within the Turkish Empire.

In North America

Although there have been dancers of this kind at the 1876 Centennial in the metropolis, it absolutely was not till the 1893 Chicago World’s honest that it gained national attention. The term “belly dancing” is commonly attributable to Sol Bloom, its diversion director, however, observed the dance as danse du ventre, the name utilized by the French in the African country. In his memoirs, Bloom states, “when the general public learned that the literal translation was “belly dance”, they delightedly complete that it should be salacious and immoral…I had a gold mine.”

Authentic dancers from many geographic regions and geographical area countries performed at the honest, as well as Syria, Turkey, and Algeria—but it absolutely was the dancers within the Egyptian Theater of the road within the Cairo exhibit UN agency gained the foremost ill fame. the actual fact that the dancers were uncorseted and gyrated their hips was stunning to Victorian sensibilities. there have been no soloists, however, it’s claimed that a dancer nicknamed very little Egypt scarf for the show. Some claim the dancer was Farida Mazar Spyropoulos, however, this truth is controversial.

The popularity of those dancers after spawned dozens of imitators, several of whom claimed to be from the initial organization. Victorian society continued to be insulted by the dance, and dancers were generally in remission and punished. The dance was nicknamed the “Hoochie Coochie”, or the shimmy and shake. a brief film, “Fatima’s Dance”, was cosmopolitan within the record player theaters. It actor criticism for its “immodest” saltation, and was eventually censored. Belly dance actor men in droves to burlesque theaters, and to the carnival and circus tons.

Thomas Edison created many films of dancers within the Eighteen Nineties. These enclosed a Turkish dance, and Crissie Sheridan in 1897, and blue blood aristocrat from 1904, that options a dancer taking part in zills, doing “floor work”, and reconciliation a chair in her teeth.

Ruth St. Denis additionally used Middle Eastern-inspired dance in D. W. Griffith’s silent film Intolerance, her goal being to carry dance to a decent variety at a time once dancers were thought of to be girls of loose morals. Hollywood began manufacturing films like The Sheik, Cleopatra, and Salomé, to exploit Western fantasies of the Orient.

When immigrants from The Arab States began to arrive in the big apple within the Nineteen Thirties, dancers began to perform in nightclubs and restaurants. in the late Sixties and early ’70s, several dancers began teaching. japanese|geographical area|geographic area|geographical region|geographic region} or Eastern bands took dancers with them traveling, that helped spark interest in the dance.

Although victimization of Turkish and Egyptian movements and music, Yankee Cabaret (“AmCab”) belly dance have developed its own distinctive vogue, victimization props and inspiring audience interaction.

In 1987, a distinctively Yankee sort of cluster improvisational dance, Yankee social group vogue Belly Dance, (ATS), was created. though a novel and totally fashionable vogue, its steps area unit supported existing dance techniques, as well as those from the North Asian country, the center East, and Africa.

In Spain

Belly dancers area unit thought to own come back to The European nation from The Asian nation within the time of the Phoenicians (11th Century B.C. to fifth Century BC). once Arab family of the Ommiad came to The European nation, they sent Basque singers and dancers to Damascus and Egypt for coaching within the geographic area vogue. These dancers came to be referred to as Al Andalus dancers. it’s theorized that the fusion of the Al-Andalus vogue with the dances of the Gypsies LED to the creation of flamenco.

Belly dance failed to come back to The European nation till the Eighties, with the tip of the Catholic regime of El Caudillo.

In Australia

The first wave of interest in belly dance in Australia was throughout the late Nineteen-Seventies to Eighties with the inflow of migrants and refugees escaping troubles within the geographic area, as well as percussionist Jamal Zraika. These immigrants created a social scene as well as varied Lebanese and Turkish restaurants, providing employment for belly dancers. Rozeta Ahalyea is widely considered the “mother” of Australian belly dance, coaching early dance pioneers like Amera Eid and Terezka Drnzik. Belly dance has currently unfolded across the country, with belly dance communities in each capital town and lots of regional centers.

In the UK

Belly dance has been conspicuous within Britain since the first Sixties. throughout the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, In London, there was Arabic club where there was belly dancing with live belly music, however the last of those closed the first Nineteen Nineties. many distinguished members of a people belly dance community began their dance careers operating in these clubs.

Today, there area unit fewer ancient venues for Arabic dance within Britain, however, there’s an oversized amateur belly dance community. JWAAD, The Raqs Sharqi Society and alternative teams and people have developed “teacher training” for belly dancers. Networks for a people belly dance community embody the Mosaic Arabic Dance Network (MADN)and the Northern Arabic Dance Association (NADA), each of that publish their own community magazines. Several international belly dance festivals area unit currently command in the United Kingdom. additionally, there area unit a growing variety of competitions, that have accumulated in quality in recent years.

The UK belly dance scene leans powerfully towards the Egyptian/Arabic vogue, with very little Turkish influence. yankee social group vogue and social group Fusion belly dance also are fashionable.


Belly dance costume

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The costume was related to belly dance is that was called the ‘bedlah’ (Arabic: بدلة‎; virtually “suit”) vogue, which generally includes a fitted high or undergarment, a fitted hip belt, and a full-length skirt or harem pants. The undergarment and belt could also be richly adorned with beads, sequins, crystals, coins, beaded fringe, and embroidery. The belt could also be a separate piece or seamed into a skirt.

Badia Masabni, a Cairo cabaret owner throughout the first twentieth century, is attributable to making the fashionable bedlah vogue. it’s been instructed that the bedlah was galvanized by exciting Hollywood costuming or created to charm to Western guests. Earlier costumes were created from a skirt, lightweight chemise and tightly cropped vest with significant gildings and jewelry.

As well because the two-piece bedlah costume, full-length dresses area unit generally worn, particularly once diversion additional earthy baladi designs. Dresses vary from closely fitting, extremely adorned robes, which frequently feature significant gildings and mesh-covered cutouts, to easier styles that area unit usually supported ancient consumer goods.

Costume in Egypt

In Egypt, dancers wear a bedlah. instead, they’ll wear a dress with mesh-filled cutouts.

Costume in The Asian nation

As there’s no prohibition on showing the abdomen in The Asian nation, the bedlah vogue is additional common. The skirts tend to be additional sheer than Egyptian outfits, showing additional of the dancer’s body. The veil is additional widely used than in Egypt. High heels area unit unremarkably worn. Lebanese dancers have additional freedom than Egyptian vogue dancers within the variety of costume they prefer to wear.

Costume in Turkey

Turkish costumes area unit typically within the bedlah vogue. Many Turkish costumes embody a formed or triangular belt which can be formed or contoured round the high edge, and an excellent deal of embellishment and beaded fringing on each of the undergarment and therefore the belt. Skirts area unit usually fuller than their Egyptian counterparts, and area unit seemingly to be fabricated from chiffon or velvet instead of lycra.

In the Eighties and ’90s, an awfully revealing costume vogue developed with skirts designed to show each leg up to the hip, and plunging bras or maybe pasties. Such designs still exist in some venues however there also are several Turkish belly dancers World Health Organization wear additional moderate costumes. Even so, several Turkish belly dance costumes replicate the coltish, flirty kind of Turkish belly dance.

Tribal vogue costumes

Decorations on a tribal-style belly dance costume undergarment
Tribal belly dance costumes draw inspiration from ancient folkloric costumes across the world and embody circle skirts, pantaloons, and turbans or headdresses clothed with feathers or flowers.


Belly dance may be a non-impact, weight-bearing exercise and is so appropriate for all ages. Many of the moves involve isolations, that improves the flexibleness of the trunk. Belly dance moves area unit helpful to the spine because the full-body undulation moves lengthen (decompress) and strengthen the complete column of spinal and abdominal muscles during a light approach.

Dancing with a veil will facilitate build strength within the higher body, arm, and shoulders. taking part in the zills trains fingers to figure severally and builds strength. The legs and long muscles of the rear area unit reinforced by hip movements.

(Shahinul Islam Uzzal)