If belly dancing is not really a seductive dance in the Middle East and is not cabaret style as in the West..?

February 9, 2013 | By

Question by i.need.sleep.: If belly dancing is not really a seductive dance in the Middle East and is not cabaret style as in the West..?
what kind of dance is it known as in the Middle East and what is the difference in how belly dancing is done in the Middle East than in the West?

Best answer:

Answer by Chloe
Bellydance in Egypt is known as Raqs Sharqi which translates to Dance Oriental.
In Turkey I believe it is called Danse Oriyantal (not sure of spelling).

Bellydancing is a western term. A true bellydance will say that they are an Oriental dancer.

I am a Bellydance instructor and performer.

I dance Cabaret Fusion. Fusion is very popular in the West.
Western styles include: American, Industrial, Gothic and Tribal.
Traditional styles include: Tsiftitelli (Mediterranean), Classical Egyptian, Turkish Cabaret, etc.

Classical Egyptian and Turkish Bellydance are probably what you are thinking of. Turkish Bellydance involves a lot of Tabla/Drum Solo. But not necessarily all the time. Dancing to the sound of a Darbouka(middle eastern hand held drum)is where they make movements which mimick that of the sound of the drums it is very impressive.
Turkish dancers often dance to faster music. They wear quite revealing costumes a lot of time with very high slits in the skirt and push up bras. Very flirty in their performances.

Egyptian Bellydancing is quite different. They often wear floaty skirty with schiffon fabrics and lots of layers. The dancing is heavily emphasised with the feeling in the music. The dancers portray a lot of emotion through the dance.

Both are equally beautiful but goodluck finding a true traditional style dance school. Do some research on youtube.


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Comments (2)

  1. cassandra581

    Modern bellydance in the Middle East has largely become a dance of seduction as a performance art. Traditional bellydance however is not a seductive dance. It is very sensual but its traditional purpose was an entertainment by women for other women. It has been used for centuries in the Middle East as a tool in preparing for childbirth as well as an entertainment.
    Bellydance is an umbrella term used to describe not only the nightclub (aka cabaret) styles but also folk dances of the Middle East, North Africa and sometimes even the Mediterranean. The style of dance you are probably thinking of (with bead and sequin costumes, lots of beaded fringe, sparkly jewelry and flowing veils and skirts) is what in the West is often referred to as cabaret style. Although that term has been losing favor due to the connotations “cabaret” carries especially in Europe. Instead the term American Nightclub has been increasing in popularity. In the Middle East this style is referred to as raqs sharqi (sometimes incorrectly transliterated as raks sharki). This literally translates as “Eastern Dance” or “Dance of the East.” Oriental Dance is not a correct translation of raqs sharqi. In Turkey it is referred to as Oriyantal Dansi or “Oriental Dance”. Oriental Dancer is only one of many terms that professional dancers prefer to be called. It is also quite common to call oneself a Middle Eastern Dancer, Egyptian Dancer, Lebanese Dancer, Turkish Dancer, Arabian Dancer, etc… What one bills themselves as often has to do with the style that they perform.
    There are so many styles of bellydance that it’s a daunting task to try and list them all. But here’s a shortened list to give you an idea of the wide range of styles available and where about they fit into certain style families

    1. American Nightclub (Cabaret)
    2. American Tribal Style
    – Tribaret (somewhere between tribal and cabaret style moves and costumes)
    – Tribal Fusion (Fuses tribal style and other dance styles costuming remains more tibal in appearance)
    * Uses tribal fusion style heavily but costuming and performance have darker themes)
    3. Pharonic Style (based on misconceptions of what Egyptian tomb paintings depict and often mixed with bellydance)
    4. Gothic Style (can be either tribal style or nightclub but is Gothic in theme often featuring dark themes in both performance technique and costuming)

    1. Tsifti telli (greek style bellydance)

    1. Raqs Sharki (Nightclub style performance)
    2. Raks Baladi (“Of the country” – more folkloric style)
    3. Raqs Sha’abi (a sort of baladi type dance often considered a lower class dance style by Egyptians although still popular to watch)
    4. Raqs Shamadan (Candelabra dance featuring balancing a candelabra on the head while dancing)
    5. Haggalah (a bedouin style dance)
    6. Saidi (dance style from the Said
    7. Meleya Leff (a “folk style” from Alexandria)
    8. Raqs Assaya (cane dance)
    9. Falahi (peasant style dance)
    10.Ghawazee (style of the Ghawazee gypsies)

    MAGHREEBI (North Africa – Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia)
    1. Shikkat (A sort of marital preparation dance for women)
    2. Guedra (a blessing dance of the Tuareg)
    3. Tea Tray Dance (balancing a tea tray with cups and all while dancing)
    4. Tunisian
    5. Ouled Nail Style
    6. Various Imazighen betrothal dances

    LEVANTINE (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan)
    1. Raqs Sharqi (Lebanese Style)
    2. Debke (folk style line dance-many variants throughout the levant)

    1. Classical persian dance (focuses on upper body and arms)

    1. Khalijji or Raqs al Nasha’al (a dance done in a thobe featuring hair tossing)

    1. Dansi Oryantal (Turkish Nighclub style)
    2. Turkish Rom (Romany style dance from Turkish Roma)
    3. Karsilama (a folk style done to a 9/8 rhythm)
    4. Cengi (a men’s folk style)
    5. Sule Kule (a specific Roma style karsilama from Istanbul)

    Believe me there are more styles than that. Now I have to assume that your asking what the difference is between Western Nightclub styles and Middle Eastern Nightclub styles (aka raqs sharqi)
    Western style is actually a mix of middle eastern styles. It’s heavily influenced by Turkish because Turkish dancers like Ozel Turkbas and Najla Ates were influential at the time in America however most middle eastern communities were mixed so dancers learned a mix of styles and didn’t necessarily learn the differences till much later. As a result the mix is a fusion of mostly Turkish, Egyptian, and Lebanese styles mixed in with modern dance, ballet, and jazz. Western dancers use a large deal of stage space and have a generally open arm stance. Dancers of this style wear a variety of costumes from all styles. Dancers tend to make larger movements and over emphasize hip movements and tend to orient their dance around the drum.

    Egyptian style is noted for being an inward style. Dancers keep their arms relatively close to the body and tend to …

  2. Sirena

    In the West (especially in the US), belly dance performers are over-sensitive about the idea of belly dancing being a seductive art, because bellydance first became popular in the US in burlesque and vaudeville, where it obviously WAS a bit sleazy.

    To counteract that, Western belly dancers claim that belly dance comes from dances done by women in the harems dancing for each other, in preparation for childbirth. There is some evidence that women did dance in the harems, but there’s also a lot of evidence that they also danced for men!

    The fact that belly dancing was banned when Islam came to the Middle East suggests that even then, there was an element of seduction about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, personally.

    In the Middle East today,it certainly is seen as a seductive dance. It’s not seen as a respectable profession for an Egyptian or Turkish girl, which is why most of the dancers there are foreigners.