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Gypsy Belly Dance

This belly dance style is a broad and liberal interpretation of the performance and folk dances of the 'Gypsy' (more properly called Rom, Roma or Romani) people, primarily from Turkey, Spain, the Balkans, and Egypt. It is believed that the Romani originated in northern India. They migrated north and east into the Middle East and Europe, evolving their original dance style by incorporating elements of each culture they came in contact with. In the 1960s, American bellydancers started incorporating Gypsy costume elements, music, and folk steps into their own bellydancing.

gypsy belly dance The Moves: Gypsy uses the core belly dance moves vocabulary and belly dance techniques of classic bellydance with the addition of other elements, including Roma and Middle Eastern folkloric steps. The dance is known for its passion, exuberance, and high energy. There is often the use of props such as tambourines and finger cymbals. Skirt work is now very popular in Gypsy bellydance, but was not acceptable among many Roma dancers in the past.

Music: Some pure, traditional Roma music is used for Gypsy bellydance, but more often the music is a blend of Gypsy/Roma, Turkish, Arabic, and European folkloric elements. Violins, guitars, and tambourines are some common instruments.

Costume: Heavy opaque fabrics are used in voluminous skirts and 'harem' pants. These are paired with vests and/or blouses (many with billowy sleeves). A Gypsy bellydancer's midriff is often uncovered, but not always. The skirts often have ruffles (like Flamenco, a related dance) and bold patterns and colors are common. Hip accents are often fringed shawls and/or metal hip belts. Long headscarves can be used as well generous displays of ethnic jewelry.

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