Western Belly Dance Styles
Belly dancing first became popular in the United States during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. After Middle Eastern dancers at the Fair attracted national attention to their native dance (which was renamed 'bellydance' by Fair promoters and the press), American dancers in vaudeville and theatre quickly picked up on the dance, followed shortly by the movie industry in Hollywood and then by nightclubs and restaurants in major U.S. cities. In the 1960s and 70s, bellydance reached new heights of popularity in the U.S. with the development of belly dance schools, seminars, and concerts. Increased mainstream popularity followed in the '80s and '90s with the release of nationally and internationally distributed belly dance instruction videos and DVDs.
Although Middle Eastern belly dance was performed in limited venues in other countries outside of the Middle East, it was the huge popularity of bellydance in the U.S. during the '60s, '70s, and '80s that helped develop a similar popularity among the general public in countries like Germany, England, Australia, and others. Inspired by American bellydancers and teachers and the bellydance stars of the Middle East (especially Egypt) many countries outside of the Middle East now have their own thriving dance communities and, in turn, are contributing their own unique flavor to this ever-evolving dance.
Western styles of bellydance include Classic American Belly Dance, Tribal Belly Dance, Gypsy Belly Dance, Goddess / Spiritual Belly Dance, Fusion Belly Dance, and Fitness Belly Dance have been evolving for over a century and are currently practiced by millions of people around the world.