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Eastern Bellydance (Oriental Dance) Styles

It is still not known where, when, or how bellydance (Oriental dance) originated (see our articles on bellydance history. However, it has been the cultures of the Near and Middle East that have preserved the core belly dance moves vocabulary from the time of antiquity.

Saber Belly Dance

Dance of the Saber in a Cafe - Jean-Leon Gerome, 1876

Since the beginnings of Islam in the 7th century, the sexes have been strictly segregated in many Muslim societies. Because of this, Middle Eastern women for generations have bellydanced among themselves or with their families at private social gatherings, transmitting the dance from mother to the daughter, unaffected by outside influences. Professional entertainers also helped preserve belly dance moves in their performances at public and private festivities.

Modern and Western styles of bellydance have evolved primarily through the relatively recent transmission of belly dance moves through Near Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures. Eastern styles of bellydance include Egyptian / Raks Sharki, Turkish / Oryantal Dansi , Lebanese, East Indian /Bollywood.

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