If you dropped by here, you must have asked this question: how to become a belly dancer.
In this article we compile an in-depth study of the activity. Its history, how to start, clothing, music, culture and much more.
We talked to many professionals of this art and we were surprised.
We hope that at the end of this post you can identify yourself and start the activity.
Spoiler: it’s a lovely hobby.
Origin of Belly Dancing
Belly dance, an art form that has captivated hearts for centuries, has a fascinating history rooted in ancient civilizations.
Its origins can be traced back to the cradle of civilization, the fertile lands of Mesopotamia, which encompassed present-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.
Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt
In ancient Mesopotamia, evidence of belly dancing can be found in ancient texts, sculptures, and paintings.
This captivating dance form was closely associated with religious rituals, fertility rites, and celebrations of femininity.
As the civilizations of Mesopotamia flourished, belly dance spread its wings and found its way to the Nile River.
In ancient Egypt, belly dance gained prominence and was intricately woven into the fabric of society.
It was not only performed by professional dancers but also by women during childbirth as a means of invoking divine blessings and easing the labor process.
Modern Revival and Global Influence
In the 20th century, belly dance experienced a resurgence and gained popularity beyond its Middle Eastern roots.
This revival was fueled by pioneering dancers such as Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal, and Fifi Abdou, who brought their artistry to international stages.
Belly dance classes sprouted worldwide, and enthusiasts embraced this captivating dance form, infusing it with their own creativity and individuality.
Belly dance in US
In the United States, the history of belly dance traces its roots back to the 19th and early 20th centuries.
As the Orientalist movement swept across Europe, it eventually reached American shores, capturing the imaginations of artists, performers, and audiences.
Expositions and world fairs held in major cities like Chicago and New York showcased belly dance performances, introducing this exotic art form to the American public.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a wave of interest in Middle Eastern culture, music, and dance emerged, leading to the establishment of dance studios and the rise of American belly dance pioneers such as Jamila Salimpour and Serena Wilson.
Today, belly dance generally continues to thrive in the United States, with vibrant communities, festivals, and workshops where dancers of all backgrounds come together to celebrate and share their love for this mesmerizing dance form.
How to Become a Belly Dancer in 5 steps
Benefits of Belly dance
Belly dance styles
You already knew the benefits of this art. Now, let’s get to know the styles of the modality.
Meet and discover the one that best suits your style.
Egyptian belly dance, also known as Raqs Sharqi, is one of the most widely recognized and influential styles.
It is characterized by its graceful and fluid movements, emphasizing controlled isolations, elegant arm work, and intricate footwork. Egyptian style focuses on musical interpretation, storytelling, and emotional expression.
Dancers often wear flowing costumes and incorporate delicate hand gestures, known as mudras, to convey various emotions and narratives.
Turkish belly dance, or Oriental dance, is vibrant, energetic, and full of joy.
It features fast-paced movements, intricate hip work, and lively foot patterns.
Turkish style often emphasizes quick isolations, rapid shimmies, and playful interactions with the audience.
Dancers showcase their agility and dynamic stage presence, incorporating elements of improvisation and showcasing their personal style.
Finger cymbals (zils) are commonly used in Turkish belly dance, adding rhythmic accents to the performance.
Lebanese belly dance, influenced by Arabic and French cultures, is characterized by its elegance and grace.
It combines elements of Egyptian and Turkish styles while incorporating unique Lebanese nuances.
Lebanese belly dance often features smooth, flowing movements with an emphasis on lyrical expression and musicality.
Dancers display intricate hip work, gentle undulations, and subtle isolations.
Costumes in this style often feature rich embroidery and colorful embellishments.
Gypsy/ Romani Style
Gypsy belly dance, also known as Romani or Tribal Gypsy style, draws inspiration from the nomadic Romani people.
It is a fusion of traditional belly dance with flamenco, Indian, and Middle Eastern influences.
Gypsy style is characterized by its earthy, passionate movements, expressive gestures, and strong percussive accents.
Dancers often incorporate finger snaps, skirt swirling, and intricate footwork into their performances.
Costumes in this style are vibrant, layered, and adorned with coins, fringes, and tassels.
Tribal fusion is a contemporary and eclectic style that blends belly dance with elements of modern, jazz, hip-hop, and other dance forms.
It emphasizes creativity, individuality, and fusion of cultures.
Tribal fusion dancers often experiment with unique choreography, incorporating non-traditional movements, theatrical elements, and experimental music.
Costumes in this style range from tribal-inspired attire to futuristic and avant-garde designs.
Belly dance also encompasses various folkloric styles that reflect the traditional dances of specific regions or countries.
These styles often highlight the cultural heritage and traditional dances of Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern countries.
Folkloric styles include Saidi, Khaleegy, Shamadan, and Debke, among others.
Each style showcases distinct movements, music, costumes, and cultural references, offering a glimpse into the diverse tapestry of belly dance traditions.
Costuming and Accessories: Enhancing Your Performance
Especially in belly dance, costumes and accessories play a vital role in enhancing the visual impact of your performance.
Here are some considerations when selecting costumes and accessories:
Traditional Belly Dance Costumes
Traditional belly dance costumes typically consist of a bedlah, which includes a bra top and a hip belt adorned with sequins, beads, or coins.
These costumes come in various styles, reflecting the cultural influences of different regions.
Choose a costume that resonates with your personal style and the mood of your performance.
Veils, Fans, and Props
Additionally, Veils, fans, and props can add visual flair and dimension to your belly dance performance.
Experiment with the graceful movements of a silk veil or the dramatic gestures of a fan.
Props like swords, canes, or finger cymbals can also be incorporated to add excitement and variety to your routines.
Select props that complement your choreography and showcase your individuality.
Music and Rhythm: Connecting with the Melodies
Music is the heartbeat of belly dance, and understanding its nuances is essential for creating a captivating performance.
Here’s how you can deepen your connection with the music:
Familiarize Yourself with Middle Eastern Music
Immerse yourself in the rich melodies and rhythms of Middle Eastern music. Explore different musical genres like classical, folk, and contemporary.
Pay attention to the intricate patterns and accents within the music, and let them inspire your movements and expression.
Here are some playlits on Spotfy:
Develop Musicality and Timing
Musicality is the ability to interpret and respond to the music through dance.
Practice listening to the music and identifying its various components, such as melody, rhythm, and phrasing.
Work on syncing your movements with the beats, accents, and pauses in the music to create a harmonious and captivating performance.
How to Start in Belly Dance
In most cases, especially if you have been in contact with your desired hobby for a short time, we recommend starting online and taking a course.
Videos on youtube usually have specific information and the courses we recommend have a structure that allows for continuity.
Professor Mariella’s course that we recommend today has a good cost-benefit ratio and proved to be complete compared to other online courses analyzed.
The course called BellyDanceCourse has 5 teachers and 8 total hours of classes from beginner to advanced level.
In a few hours of video and practice we got a good idea of movements and techniques.
Classes are similar to a 1 to 1 class.
The cool thing is to be able to try each technique and be able to return to the video to practice more.
If you get interested, click on the banner below. (It’s a horrible banner i know with this thing blinking, but the course is good)
Finally, this course also provides a 60 days satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can ask for a refund.