Middle Eastern Dance

The term Middle Eastern Dance is often associated with Oriental Dance, Tribal Fusion, Gypsy Dancing and Belly Dance. All of these dances have similarities both in movement and history, however some of the forms have been more modernized than others. Many people view Belly Dance as a Cabaret-style dance, where performers wear skimpy clothing. In reality Middle Eastern Dance has a rich and diverse history to draw from.

The Arabic dances that influence what we know as belly dance are:
1.Raks Sharqi, meaning Oriental Dance, most commonly danced by women.
2.Raks Baladi, meaning Dance of the Country, a social dance for fun and celebration, done by male and female of all ages.

The Turkish dance that influenced belly dance is called Oryantal Dansi, meaning Exotic Oriental Dance.

The Ghawazee were an Egyptian group of traveling dancers, male and female. They were a large influence on western belly dance, especially tribal forms.

The Gypsies were largely responsible for passing dance movements around to different tribes and regions. This is why our modern version of belly dance includes movements from many different countries throughout the Middle East, including Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, and others.

Myths about Middle Eastern Dance

Myth: You have to be skinny to do this dance.
Truth: Unlike in some other dance forms, you can be any shape, size, and age and still be a beautiful belly dancer. Just don't get too upset if you do lose a few inches around your thighs or waist. Doing belly dance over time will tone your abdomen, thighs, glutes and other areas of the body.

Myth: Belly dance is a dance of seduction.
Truth: In many places belly dance was (and is) used as a way for women to prepare their bodies for childbirth, as well as recover from it. It was also originally danced among friends and family for entertainment or celebration. Saudi women considered the dance sacred and not to be performed in front of men.

Myth: If I have any injuries in my feet, hips, knees or ankles I will not be able to do belly dance.
Truth: Belly dance is meant to re-align your body, not injure it or aggravate previous injuries. In fact, if done correctly, belly dance movements can help to heal injuries. If specific movements hurt, don't do them. There are so many movements and variations in belly dance that there is something for everyone.