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Raqs Sharqi dancer Chryssanthi Sahar Scharf, Heidelberg.


Belly dance is a Western term for a traditional Arab dance genre known as raqs sharqi ( ; literally "oriental dance") or sometimes raqs baladi ( ; literally "dance of country", and so "folk" dance). It is also sometimes called "Middle Eastern Dance" or the "Arabic Dance" in the United States, "danse du ventre", or by the Turkish and Greek term çiftetelli (τσιφτετέλι).

Native to the Middle East, and now popular worldwide, belly dance takes many different regional forms, both in costume and dance style, indicating that distinctive dance moves may have been transported to these regions and incorporated with local dance styles.

General

Today there are many forms of belly dance. Some, such as American Tribal belly dance, are clearly modern evolutions of the traditional forms. However, due to the ancient origins of belly dancing, the authenticity of even "traditional" or "classical" forms of the genre are open to question and often hotly disputed.

There are two basic divisions within "traditional" belly dance. The first, raqs baladi, is a social dance performed for fun and celebration by men and women of all ages in some Middle Eastern countries, usually during festive occasions such as weddings. People learn the steps informally from an early age by imitating their elders during family/community gatherings. .

The second form, which has become popular in the West, is called raqs sharqi. This is more commonly performed by female dancers but is also sometimes danced by men.

Origins

Artistic depiction of belly dancing
As with any dance of folkloric origin, the roots of belly dance are uncertain.

One theory claims that belly dancing was originally from Ancient Babylonmarker in southern Iraqmarker. Adnanite Arabs introduced belly dancing and drumming. Before the arrival of Islam the tradition was for women to dance at social gatherings, while the men played the drums. After the Arrival of Islam, belly dancing was banned. During the Ummayad and the Abbasid dynasties, belly dancing was commercially promoted. Local poor women and, later on, slaves from other parts of the world, especially Persiamarker, India and North Africa learned to belly dance to entertain rich men.

During the time of the Abbasid and the Fatimid dynasties, the Arabs settled in Egyptmarker. Egyptians adopted the dance and it became part of Egyptian tradition.

Another theory is that belly dancing is a reworking of movements traditionally utilized to demonstrate or ease childbirth, and was used by women for that purpose. There are numerous oral historical references, backed by commentary in The Dancer of Shamahka. This particularly relates to a sub-set of dance movements found in modern raqs sharqi.

Sudanese dance and dancers from other non-black African countries clearly had a profound if not nascent affect on the art of bellydance. In fact some believe that bellydancing came from Africa and was picked up from Caravan travelers and taken to other parts of the middle east. Unfortunately when promoted soley by Europeans and white Arabs its harder to see this connection.

Costume

In the West, the costume most associated with belly dance is called bedleh (Arabic for "suit"). It owes its creation to the Victorian painters of "Orientalism" and the harem fantasy productions of vaudeville, burlesque, and Hollywoodmarker during the turn of the last century, rather than to authentic Middle Eastern dress.

The bedleh style includes a fitted top or bra (usually with a fringe of beads or coins), a fitted hip belt (again with a fringe of beads or coins), and a skirt or harem pants. The bra and belt may be richly decorated with beads, sequins, braid and embroidery. The belt may be a separate piece, or sewn into a skirt.

The hip belt is a broad piece of fabric worn low on the hips. It may have straight edge, or may be curved or angled. The bra usually matches the belt and does not resemble lingerie. The classic harem pants are full and gathered at the ankle, but there are many modifications. Sometimes pants and a sheer skirt are worn together. Skirts may be flowing creations made of multiple layers of sheer fabric such as chiffon, or figure-hugging lycra.

Badia Masabni, a Cairo nightclub owner, is credited with bringing the costume to Egypt, because it was the image that Western tourists wanted.

Since the 1950s, it has been illegal in Egypt for belly dancers to perform publicly with their abdomens uncovered or to display excessive skin. It is therefore becoming more common to perform in a long, figure-hugging lycra one-piece gown with strategically placed cut-outs filled in with sheer, flesh-coloured fabric.

If a separate bra and skirt are worn, a belt is rarely used and any embellishment is embroidered directly on the tight, sleek lycra skirt. A sheer body stocking must be worn to cover the midsection. Egyptian dancers traditionally dance in bare feet, but these days often wear shoes and even high heels.

As there is no prohibition on showing the stomach in Lebanon, the bedleh style is more common. The skirts tend to be sheer and/or skimpier than Egyptian outfits, showing more of the dancer's body. The veil is more widely used and the veil matches the outfit. High heels are commonly worn.

Turkish dancers also wear bedleh style costumes. In the 80s and 90s the art became debased in Turkey and a 'stripperesque' costume style developed, with skirts designed to display both legs up to the hip, and plunging bras. Such styles still exist in some venues but there are also many serious, respectable Turkish belly dancers who wear more moderate costumes. Even so, all Turkish belly dance costumes reflect the playful, flirty style of Turkish belly dance.

American dancers often purchase their costumes from Egypt or Turkey, but hallmarks of the classical "American" style include a headband with fringe, sheer harem pants or skirt rather than tight lycra, and the use of coins and metalwork to decorate the bra.

In Egypt, America and Europe dancers wear full-beaded dresses for the folkloric and baladi dances. But generally costuming varies with the particular style of dance.

Props are used to spark audience interest and add variety to the performance, although some traditionalists frown on their use. Some props in common usage are:

  • Finger cymbals (zills or sagats).
  • Cane (in the Saiidi)
  • Veil - Veils are part of the stereotypical images of courtesans and harem women. Here, the mysterious veil hints at sensuality, an example being the dance of the seven veils. This is the context into which belly dancing veils fall, with a large repertoire of ways to wear and hold the veil, framing the body and accentuating movements. Dancing veils can be as small as a scarf or two, silk veils mounted on fans, a half circle, three-quarter circle.
  • Sword
  • Candelabra headdress
  • Veil poi
  • Fire sticks
  • Tambourine
  • Fan


Steps and Technique

Most of the movements in belly dancing involve isolating different parts of the body (hips, shoulders, stomach etc), which appear similar to the isolations used in jazz ballet, but are often driven differently.

In most belly dance styles, the focus is on the hip and pelvic area. One of the most famous moves in belly dance is the shimmy, a shimmering vibration of the hips. This vibration is created by moving the knees past each other at high speed, although some dancers use contractions of the glutes instead.

Raqs Sharqi

Raqs Sharqi translates from Arabic as "eastern dance" or "Oriental Dance". Belly dance is a misnomer as all parts of the body are involved in the dance, and the most important body part is the hips.

Raqs Sharqi is a solo improvisational dance, although students of the art often perform choreographed dances in a group. The most admired Raqs Sharqi dancers are those who can visually communicate to the audience the emotion and rhythm of the music, even if the dance is made up of simple movements.

In common with flamenco, many fans see Raqs Sharqi as celebrating the sensuality and power of a mature woman, and believe that young dancers have insufficient life experience to convey the requisite emotions. Sohair Zaki, Fifi Abdou, Lucy, Nagua Fouad, and Dina Talaat are all popular Egyptianmarker dancers above the age of forty.

Although there are several prominent male performers in the West, they do not dance in public in Arab countries.

Egyptian-style raqs sharqi is based on Baladi, a folk style of dance from the Arab Tribes who settled in Upper Egypt, further developed by Samia Gamal, Tahiya Karioka, Naima Akef, and other dancers who rose to fame during the golden years of the Egyptian film industry. Later dancers who based their styles partially on the dances of these artists are Sohair Zaki, Fifi Abdou, and Nagwa Fouad. All rose to fame between 1960 and 1980, are still popular today, and have nearly risen to the same level of stardom and influence on the style.

Though the basic movements of Raqs Sharqi are unchanged, the dance form continues to evolve. Nelly Mazloum and Mahmoud Reda are noted for incorporating elements of ballet and their influence can be seen in modern Egyptian dancers who stand on relevé as they turn or travel in a circle or figure eight.

In Egypt, three main forms of the traditional dance are associated with belly dance: Baladi/Beledi, Sha'abi and Sharqi.

Arabic belly dance was among the first styles to be witnessed by Westerners. During Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, his troops encountered the Ghawazee tribe. The Ghawazee made their living as professional entertainers and musicians. The women often engaged in prostitution on the side, and often had a street dedicated to their trade in the towns where they resided, though some were quasi-nomadic.

Turkish forms

Some mistakenly believe that Turkish oriental dancing is called Çiftetelli because this style of music has been incorporated into oriental dancing by Arabs and Greeks - in fact, Greek belly dance is called Tsifteteli. However, Turkish Çiftetelli is actually a form of lively wedding music and is not connected with oriental dancing.

Turkish belly dance today may have been influenced by Arab people before the Ottoman Empire as much as by the Egyptian and Syrian/Lebanese forms, having developed from the Ottoman rakkas to the oriental dance known worldwide today.

Turkish law does not impose restrictions on dancers as they do in Egypt, where dancers must keep their midriffs covered and cannot perform floor work and certain pelvic movements. This has resulted in a marked difference in style - Egyptian bellydance is noted for its restraint and elegance, whereas Turkish bellydance is playful and uninhibited. Turkish belly dance costumes have been very revealing with plunging bra tops, bare midriffs and skirts that split all the way up to the hip or are made of see-through chiffon, however there is a move towards more modest, Egyptian-style costuming. High heels are commonly worn.

Many professional dancers and musicians in Turkey continue to be of Romani heritage. (there is also a distinct Turkish Romani dance style which is uniquely different from Turkish Oriental.) Turkish dancers are known for their energetic, athletic (even gymnastic) style, and their adept use of finger cymbals, also known as zils. Connoisseurs of Turkish dance often say a dancer who cannot play the zills is not an accomplished dancer. Another distinguishing element of the Turkish style is the use of the Karsilama rhythm in a 9/8 time signature, counted as 12-34-56-789. Famous Turkish belly dancers include Tulay Karaca, Nesrin Topkapi and Birgul Berai.

When immigrants from Arab States began to immigrate to New York in the 1930s and 1940s, dancers started to perform a mixture of these styles in the nightclubs and restaurants. Often called "Classic Cabaret" or "American Cabaret" belly dance, these dancers are the grandmothers and great-grandmothers of some of today's most accomplished performers, such as Anahid Sofian, Aisha Ali, and Artemis Mourat.

Belly dancing in the Western world

Popularization of belly dance

Outside the Middle East, raqs sharqi dancing was popularized during the Romantic movement of the 18th and 19th centuries, whereby Orientalist artists depicted their interpretations of harem life in the Ottoman Empire. Around this time, dancers from different Middle Eastern countries began to perform at various World Fairs. They often drew crowds that rivaled those of the technology exhibits.

The term "belly dancing" is generally credited to Sol Bloom, entertainment director of the 1893 World's Fair, the World Columbian Expositionmarker in Chicago. Although there were dancers of this type present at the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia, it was not until the 1893 fair that it gained national attention. There were authentic dancers from several Middle Eastern and North African countries, including Syria, Turkey and Algeria, but it was the dancers in the Egyptian Theater of The Street in Cairo exhibit who gained the most notoriety. The rapid hip movements and the fact that the dancers were uncorseted, was considered shocking to the Victorian sensibilities of the day. In fact, there were attempts by many, most notably Anthony Comstock, head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, to have the Egyptian theater closed.

Although it is popularly believed that a dancer named "Fatima", also known as Little Egypt, stole the show, and continued to popularize this form of dancing, there is in fact no evidence to support this claim. Neither photographs, nor reviews of the Egyptian Theater mention any such person. The truth is that photographs, as well as accounts of the entertainments, show that there was not one solo dancer, but an entire troupe who performed in the Egyptian Theater. The popularity of these dancers spawned dozens of imitators after the Fair, many of whom claimed to have been dancers at the Chicago Fair. The most well known was Farida Mazar Spyropoulos, who was neither Egyptian nor Algerian, but Syrian.

The dance performed by the many dancers calling themselves "Little Egypt" was nicknamed the "Hootchy-Kootchy" or "Hoochee-Coochie", or the shimmy and shake. Due to its sinuous hip movements which focused attention on a woman's pelvic region and other parts, the western world considered it risqué. A short film, "Fatima's Dance," was widely distributed in the nickelodeon s. It drew criticism for its "immodest" dancing, and was eventually censored due to public pressure. The loose-fitting clothes of the dancers and their gyrating movements created a major stir, and "hoochie-coochie" or "oriental" dancing drew men in droves to carnival and circus lots. The dance became part of carnival shows, circus side-shows, and burlesque shows. [45122]

Thomas Edison made several films of dancers in the 1890s in response to the craze. These included the Turkish dance, Ella Lola, 1898, and Crissie Sheridan in 1897, both available for on-line viewing through the Library of Congressmarker. Another in this collection is Princess Rajah dance from 1904, which features a dancer playing zils (finger cymbals), doing "floor work", and balancing a chair in her teeth.

Several dancers, such as the French author Colette, and many other music hall performers, engaged in "oriental" dancing, sometimes passing off their own interpretations as authentic folkloric styles. There was also the sensational pseudo-Javanese dancer Mata Hari, who was convicted in 1917 by the French for being a German spy during World War I. The great dancer Ruth St. Denis also engaged in Middle Eastern-inspired dancing, appearing in D.W. Griffith's silent masterpiece Intolerance , but her approach was to put "oriental" dancing on the stage in the context of ballet, her goal being to lift all dance to a respectable art form, in an era when dancers were considered to be women of loose morals. Hollywood began producing films such as The Sheik , Cleopatra , and Salomé , which capitalized on Western fantasies of the orient and its dances and costumes, leading to many other similar-themed films through the decades.

While the classical Raqs Sharqi is still popular in the West, many dancers have created fusion forms inspired by the folkloric dance styles of India, the Middle East and North Africa and even flamenco. Many women today in the U.S. and Europe approach belly dance not only as a dance form, but as a tool for empowerment and strengthening of the body, mind, and spirit.

United States

In the 1950s, few Americans could boast ever having seen an authentic belly dance, knowing only the versions popularized in Hollywood films and burlesque clubs. [45123] Then in the 1950s and 1960s, ethnic clubs featuring authentic raqs sharqi opened in major cities such as New York. These clubs were owned, operated and patronized by members of the ethnic communities of Mediterranean countries like Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria.

In the late 1960s and early '70s many of these dancers began offering dance classes. With increasing exploration of the East in the late 1960s, many people became newly interested in everything Eastern, including dance. Many touring Middle Eastern or Eastern bands took dancers with them as they toured to provide a visual representation of their music, which helped to spark interest in the dance. The increased interest in belly dancing created diverse names for the same simple movements, so that there is now no nationally recognized choreography terminology that can be used to create repeatable dances.

A recent movement in the U.S. called American Tribal Style Belly Dance, or ATS, represents everything from folklore-inspired dances to the fusion of ancient dance techniques from North India, the Middle East, and Africa. Created in 1987, ATS consists of steps that are designed to be performed improvisationally in a group in a lead-follow manner, typically with a chorus of dancers using zills, or finger cymbals, as accompaniment. The costumes and music are a fusion of cultural influences.

Multicultural trends that have shaped Western and U.S. belly dance are still at work. Ever evolving, this versatile dance keeps absorbing a blend of influences; modern fashion, film and television imagery, the worlds of country, rock, reggae, r&b, jazz, clubhouse, and hip hop music, underground subcultures, and many other contemporary influences. The umbrella term used to describe these hybrid forms of belly dance is "belly dance fusion". "Tribal Fusion" combines many different dance forms, including traditional 'Egyptian' or 'Cabaret' belly dance, popping and many folkloric dance styles. "Gothic Belly Dance" incorporates many belly dance styles and motifs and seeks to express the philosophies and lifestyles of the Goth subculture.

In spite of these new trends, many new practitioners of the art form choose to study traditional Egyptian dance. These practitioners make use of the music of Egyptian Sha'abi singers including Ahmed Adaweya, Hakim, and Saad el Soghayar, in their routines which combine the percussion of modern Egyptian music with a traditional feeling for the music and dance in the Raks Sha'abi (dance of the people) style.

Canada

Canada has a belly dance community much like the United States with many different styles ranging from Raqs Sharqi to Gypsy and tribal styles. Many schools offer belly dance classes. Vancouver's "BellyBellyHip" (founded in 2000, troupe leader: Tonje) was one of the first tribal style (ATS) belly dance troupes in Canada. Martina Hewett is one of Canada's well respected Tribal fusion style artists and teachers.

United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

With its growing popularity in the western world, belly dance classes are thriving throughout the UK and Ireland, though the belly dance culture has been evidenced since the early 1960s, with many styles being taught including traditional, modern, tribal, Persian, Oriental, Turkish, Greek, Egyptian, American Tribal.

Many festivals and workshops are held over the various regions of both countries, with three of the most popular being the Annual Glastonbury Majma, [45124], Raqs Britannia, [45125] Jewel of Yorkshire, [45126] the Hip Circles Bellydance School set in Corkmarker, Ireland, [45127] the Khelashi Belly Dance set in Wexfordmarker, Ireland, [45128] and the Rashani Tribal Belly Dance set in Dublinmarker. [45129]

September 2007 saw the first Annual International Bellydance Congress being held in the UK. [45130]

Australia

The first wave of interest for belly dancing in Australia was during the late 70s to 80s with the influx of migrants and refugees escaping troubles in the Middle East, particularly the war in Lebanon. This was also the period that marked the increase in Middle Eastern musicians escaping the tensions in the region. Notable musicians of this period include drummer Jamal Zraika.

There were notable performers during this period. These included Amera Eid who started the first belly dance boutique in Australia, Amera’s Palace, and Terezka Drnzik who established the first full time belly dance school in Sydney, The Akademi of Danse Orientale. Both of these experienced dancers and teachers have pedigrees linked back to Rozeta Ahalyea whose career spanned four decades.

The biggest belly dancing event is the annual Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival which started out in 1990 as a Bellydance-a-thon to raise money for charity.

American Tribal Style Belly Dance is gaining popularity in Australia as well. The most notable figure in this scene is Devi Mamak, choreographer and teacher of the Ghawazi Caravan company. [45131]

Male belly dancing

Male belly dancer in Istanbul Turkey.
There is much debate over where and when men became part of the belly dance world. Pictorial evidence in the form of Turkish miniatures made during the Ottoman Empire show public performances being done by young men and boys called köçeks. These dancers were widely popular; in fact, the Sultan employed a troupe of these male dancers in addition to a troupe of female dancers. (Metin And: A pictorial history of Turkish Dance). The youths wore heavy makeup, wore gold-embroidered velvet jackets and silk shirts, harem pants, long skirts, and belts. They were said to be "sensuous, attractive, effeminate," and their dancing "sexually provocative," impersonating female dancers. Dancers minced and gyrated their hips in slow vertical and horizontal figure-eights.

These dancers were so popular that competition for their attention and sexual favors among the male audience often caused commotions and fights. These upheavals were so frequent that they resulted in such performances being banned in 1856. [45132] Eventually the ban was lifted, but with the subsequent suppression of harem culture under the following two Sultans, köçek dance and music lost the support of its royal patrons, and gradually disappeared.

The current trend of male performers of this dance form started in the '60s and 70s in the United States. Well-known male dancers from the 1970s onward include Ibrahim Farrah and Adam Basma from Lebanon, Bert Balladine, John Compton, Sergio, Horacio Cifuentes, Kasim of Boston, Amir of Boston, Aziz, Kamaal, Amir Thaleb, Mark Balahadia, Francisco Carranza (Mr. Bellydance U.S. 1989), Valizan from Canada, Jim Boz, Yousry Sharif and Tito Seif from Egypt, Jamil from Syria, and Tarik Sultan of New York. Yousry Sharif was a member of the Reda Ensemble, the first national dance troupe in Egypt, which has existed continuously for over four decades.

Male belly dance is making a comeback around the world. [45133] [45134] Most male dancers face artistic as well as social challenges. Such issues as whether there are or should be differences in costuming, attitude, and the dynamics of choreography between male and female belly dancing is a subject of debate among both male and female dancers. Articles on the subject include Tarik Sultan's article "Oriental Dance, It Isn't Just for Women Anymore"; Dr. Anthony Shay's "The Male Dancer", which offers historical sources to show that men have always been present in Middle Eastern dance; and Laurel Victoria Gray's "Dancing Boys," (Arabesque magazine, Vol. 12 May-June 1986), which discusses male dancers from early Islam, and the famous baccha of Central Asia.

Health and belly dancing

Belly dance is a non-impact, weight-bearing exercise, which is especially good for women, since it can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. There is minimal stress on knees and feet. Depending on the intensity of exercise, participants can increase breathing and raise their heartbeat, which can assist in building cardiovascular strength. It can burn as many calories as light jogging, swimming or riding a bike.

Professor Fobröse at the athletic academy in Köln, Germany, showed that regular belly dancing not only strengthens trapezius and abdominal muscles but also strengthens the heart and increases circulation.

The advantage of belly dance is that it is suitable for all ages and body types. It can be as physically challenging as the dancer or student chooses. Many belly dance moves develop the ability to move various muscle groups independently, increasing flexibility in the torso and back. Dancing with the veil can help build strength in the upper-body, arm and shoulders. Playing the zills can get fingers trained to work independently and build strength. The legs and long muscles of the back are strengthened by hip movements.

Anette Paffrath at the University of Hamburg ressearched the effect of belly dance on women with menstruation problems. The statements of the women showed a more positive approach toward their menstruation, sexuality, and bodies during the course of the class.

In Eastern and Indian philosophy pelvic area is the source of strength and storage of energy. Belly dance movements focus on this vital area, freeing the flow of energy in this important area. The movements associated with belly dance strengthen the abdominal and pelvic region, preparing a woman for labor and birth with less pain and more celebration. Traditionally it is believed that belly dance was taught by wise women to prepare for pregnancy and birth.

Prohibition of belly dancing

Belly dancing has been banned or restricted in some jurisdictions. In Egyptmarker, there was a ban on foreign belly dancers for a year due to the complaint from Egyptian dancers that they were taking away business. The ban was eventually overturned in September 2004.

State television in Egypt no longer broadcast belly dancing. A plan to establish a state institute to train belly dancers in Egyptmarker came under heavy fire in the mainly Islamic country. This plan "seriously challenges the Egyptian society's traditions and glaringly violates the constitution",said Farid Esmail, a member of parliament.

Belly dancing in pop culture

Belly dancing has recently been made widely popular by Latin American superstar Shakira, whose dancing combines belly dance, Latin dance, and other modern dance styles. Although she hails from Colombiamarker, her part-Lebanesemarker ethnic background has influenced her music and dance style significantly.

The Brazilian novela O Clone also known as El Clon in Spanish-speaking countries and The United States, set in Brazil and Morocco, featured belly dancing in many episodes. Belly dancing was a mainstay of the plotline, where the protagonist Jade, portrayed by Giovanna Antonelli, used it to both entice her lover Lucas (Murilo Benício), and to soothe the temper and seduce her husband Said (Dalton Vigh).

Several of the James Bond films have also featured belly dancers prominently. In the film version of The Man With the Golden Gun, the belly dancer Saida uses a spent bullet fitted into her navel as an ornament, which Bond accidentally swallows while trying to retrieve it from her.

R&B singer Aaliyah used the belly dance as her signature move, which she called the belly roll, and it was featured in many of her music videos. Other singers who have performed belly dance moves in their music videos include Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Ciara, and Hilary Duff among others. Yet of all the pop music stars, only Shakira has had professional belly dance training.

Today the dance in many variations is alive and well all over the world, and in a great many interpretations. There are many belly dance competitions. Some of the most popular in US are Arabesque Belly Dancing Competition (CA), Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition (CA), Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant (CA), Belly Dancer USA (OR), Columba Gorge “Gorgeous Bellys” Bellydance Competition (OR), Double Crown Belly Dance Competition (OR), Desert Fire (TX), Wiggles of the West (NV), Jewel of the Nile's Belly Dance Nationals Competition (MD).

See also



References

  • Donna Carlton (1995). Looking for Little Egypt. Bloomington, Indiana: International Dance Discovery Books. ISBN 0-9623998-1-7.
  • Belly dancing
  • Serena and Alan Wilson (1973). The Serena Technique of Belly Dancing. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
  • Julie Russo Mishkin and Marta Schill (1973). The Compleat Belly Dancer. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company Books. ISBN 0-385-03556-X
  • Coluccia, Pina, Anette Paffrath, and Jean Putz. Belly Dancing: The Sensual Art of Energy and Spirit. Rochester, Vt: Park Street Press, 2005.
  • Craine, Debra, and Judith Mackrell. The Oxford Dictionary of Dance. Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Richards, Tazz. The Belly Dance Book. Concord, CA: Backbeat Press, 2000.
  • Shira. "Of Course Larger-Sized Women Can Bellydance!" Belly dance plus, 2008.
  • Smith, Stephanie. "Belly dancing: Swivel your way to fitness." CNN Health, 13 June 2003 : 3.
  • The NYTimes about the Male Bellydancer "Zadiel" Taking Bellydancing to Ballet Heights 2009


  1. Danse du Ventre is a colonial term given to women's dances of North Africa and the Middle East; Carlton, Donna. Looking For Little Egypt. Bloomington Indiana: IDD Books (1994): ix.
  2. http://bellydancingdiva.com/2009/09/veil-tale/
  3. Donna Carlton (1995). Looking for Little Egypt. Bloomington, Indiana: International Dance Discovery Books. ISBN 0-9623998-1-7.
  4. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-dancing/AN01491 Belly-dancing: A good exercise for weight loss? MayoClinic.com
  5. (Shira 2008)
  6. (Coluccia, Paffrath and Putz 2005)
  7. Washington Times: [Egypt allows foreigners to belly dance] 5 September 2004.
  8. http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Egypt/10332012.html



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