what is belly dance l.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
What is Belly Dance? PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
What is Belly Dance?

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 24

What is Belly Dance? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

What is Belly Dance?. Prehistoric Middle East to Modern America. What is Belly Dance?. Solo-improvised dance (or choreographed dance based on a solo-improvised form) Based on torso articulation, with arms used in countermovement to frame the body, often with delicate hand movements

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'What is Belly Dance?' - Faraday

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
what is belly dance

What is Belly Dance?

Prehistoric Middle East to Modern America


What is Belly Dance?

  • Solo-improvised dance (or choreographed dance based on a solo-improvised form)
  • Based on torso articulation, with arms used in countermovement to frame the body, often with delicate hand movements
  • It occurs in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, northern India, and the southern Mediterranean. Or: it is consciously based on dances from those areas.

Suhair Zeki


Geographical Location

The Middle East



  • Each person improvises within a standard technique (which varies across the SIDTA area)
  • Group dynamics are possible
  • A lot of social dance of other sorts is solo-improvised
  • Improvisation fits in with Middle Eastern privileging of improvisation as artistic creation

A Lebanese social gathering


Hip and Torso Articulation

  • Many forms of dance involve hip articulation: Polynesian, African, Balinese and Indian dances, etc.
  • Middle Eastern hip articulation tends to be very precise, on a straight-aligned torso
  • Shimmies
  • Other aesthetic factors

Suhaila Salimpour


Social Dance

  • Court dance:
  • Develops to meet the needs (or pleasures) of an elite
  • Codified, intellectualized
  • Set techniques, often rigorous training
  • Social dance:
  • Dance as done by individuals within the culture
  • Techniques accessible to everyone
  • Techniques learned through observation and participation, not instruction


  • An abstract art, “non-narrative and non-programmatic.”
  • It consists of small, intricate movement, with “attention to minute detail and intricacy of pattern.”
  • It has a serial structure, in that “the dancer displays his or her skill with one type of movement for as long as is desired. . .”
  • The dance is “a series of mini-climaxes . . . which give an intuition of transcendent infinity.
  • The dance is circular and built on an ebb and flow of energy. Flow and the involvement in that flow are key experiences in the dance.


  • It is intimately related to music
  • The mode of performance is not so much the dancer projecting herself out toward the audience but rather drawing the audience into a more intimate relationship.
  • In dance, as in music, Arabic tradition emphasizes emotional effect above structure
  • Audience involvement on an emotional level (whether it is just celebration or deeper emotion) is a key element


  • As a performance art, belly dance is usually performed by women, boys or non-traditional men. At times, this dance may be perceived as particularly feminine or suited to women.
  • Most dancers in the West are women. In the West, all dance is “gendered” as feminine.
  • Most professional dancers in the East are women, including all of the dance “stars.”


  • Historically, men have often been leading performers of belly dance (cengi, khawaal).
  • Men in the Middle East today often teach and choreograph; some Middle Eastern men perform in the West.
  • Often male belly dancers are young (boys) or unconventional (not adult married conventional men)
  • They do not see belly dance as “feminine” by nature

Turkish Kochek



  • They may be associated with prostitution
  • Even if they are sexually conventional, they may be considered shameful and counter to the values of mainstream culture.
  • In the East, professional performers of this dance are often marginalized:
  • They may be members of an ethnic minority (often Gypsies)

Ghawazee dancers


Social Rituals

The performance of belly dance may be an element in social rituals, in particular at weddings and other celebrations.

For some (mainly Western or elite) dancers, it may have a spiritual dimension.

It especially is thought of as fostering joy or celebration.

(Is there a conflict between this role as a social ritual, and the outcast status of some dancers?)


“East” and “West”

The Middle East is a large and diverse area:

Countries have traditions and attitudes that may vary widely

Individuals within countries have different perspectives

There has been change over time, especially in the 20th century

“The East” is a shorthand for this diverse area, not meant to imply that it is a uniform place


“East” and “West”

Likewise, “The West” is a diverse area, with many different opinions and attitudes.

A major difference for this topic is that in the East, belly dance tends to be learned as a social dance, while in the West, it is learned in classes as a foreign art and as a performance art, not a social dance.

In the East, belly dance is an integral aspect of culture, whereas in the West, it is “exotic.”



  • A term defined by Edward Said in 1976:
  • The use of the East as a mirror through which Westerners can both define their own selves and culture, and justify their political domination of the East.
  • A form of orientalism was present in the Roman Empire, but Said focuses on the period of modern colonial domination of the Middle East, the 19t hand 20th centuries

Edward Said

orientalism relies on supposed oppositions of western and eastern worlds
















Orientalism relies on supposed oppositions of Western and Eastern worlds:


The view of the East is often contradictory and this reinforces its supposed chaos and unpredictability


“Subject” and “Object”

  • Is the dancer a “Subject” or an “Object”?
  • “Subjects” experience, interpret, feel, act, matter. Film, photography, art, or literature can emphasize the subjectivity of some characters, not others.
  • “Objects” are seen or portrayed only in the light of others’ experience, and their position as feeling and acting is de-emphasized.
  • Often, in orientalizing literature, dancers (or the East in general) are portrayed as objects, having significance only in the light of the experiences of those who encounter them.

“Self” and “Other”

  • A related concept is the idea of the “Other” (for example, the “Oriental Other”).
  • In literature and in life, “the Other” is someone whose very different nature helps you define yours.
  • In narratives that range from ancient myths to modern film, encounter with “the Other” is a trigger for human passages and key experiences.
  • But “the Other” may be slighted in the process, as an object defined only in terms of the Self’s experience.
  • “The Other” is often not seen (or portrayed) as a whole person, someone who experiences and feels and has a full existence.

Performance Segments

Delilah (Delilah Flynn)

American Style belly dance

“Live at the Yao”

Entrance and veil section

Live music


Performance Segments

Lucy (Lucy Said)

Egyptian mega-star

Performance to Lessa Faker

Live music


Performance Segments

Rachel Brice

Tribal Fusion style belly dance

“Belly Dance Superstars”

Recorded music


Performance Segments


Egyptian mega-star


Performance to traditional music

Recorded Music