Belly dancing was first introduced to America during the 1950's and made popular introducing it as a way to entertain your husband.
However, many years have passed since its introduction and there are now many different styles of this dance as well as costuming.
There are 3 categories
The traditional cabaret is a glamorous costumed performer who may perform in restaurants or stage performances. It continues to be the stereotyped vision of belly dancing.
Folkloric and Ethnic
Folkloric and ethnic costuming is very modest and its clothing design would indicate its origin. Folkloric represents a particular style such as the Egyptian Ghawazee or Romanian Gypsy. These two styles are very different from each other because they represent a specific people and region of the country. Ethnic dancing would represent the dominant dance style of the country.
Modern variations include other dance styles lacing or overlapping the basic movements of belly dancing. Other dance influences include Flamenco, Ballet, Spanish, Ballroom, Eastern oriental, Gypsy,,Jazz, many others, and American ingenuity.and creative originality.
The dancer in blue in the photo to the right is an ethnic performer. She is wearing a simple tunic dress with a plain hip scarf. Her head piece would be considered Arabic.
This tunic style of costuming is ideal for public street performances. It is family oriented and appropriate for public performances of mixed ages and gender and an audience who enjoys international dancing.
She is performing a stick dance. Women use the stick to imitate the men.The men use the sticks in their dance demonstrating aggressive martial art maneuvers.Women soften the movements adding flirting gestures
This dance is called Raks Assaya. Raks means dance and Assaya means stick. This dance is often called Saidi which represents upper Egypt. The cane and the stick are the every day tools for sheep herders.
This young girl is wearing one of the modest modern costuming. One can see the influences of Spanish, Flamenco, Gypsy, and a touch of Gothic.
The first time you see these new costumes which range from modest to more revealing and bizarre one would question ...Is this belly dancing? This is not what I saw my mother or sister wearing when they were belly dancers.
The music is also different. Any music can be used; Middle Eastern or other. The dancers have an open range of creativity. There are many styles to choose from. Often it is best to learn the traditional Egyptian and Turkish basics, then try other outlets which have been created by American women.
The identification of belly dancing ranges from modern to vintage. There is tribal fusion, ATS (American Tribal Fusion) and there now seems to be a trend of naming styles according to the music selected. For instance, India belly dancing, Turkish Belly Dancing, Egyptian belly dancing, Greek belly dancing, etc.
Regardless of your interest this dance art is still very interesting and popular. Read more