middle eastern belly dance facts
Middle Eastern Belly Dance covers a broad range of dances from throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It has been around for thousands of years, perhaps dating back to the times of the pharaohs.
This dance form is done in settings from social gatherings to weddings and folk festivals to night clubs. In it's home lands, it is danced by people of all ages, from small children to grandparents. While it is predominately a woman's dance, most forms, from social to stage, may also be danced by men.
Because each region and ethnicity has it's own varieties of dances, the term "Middle Eastern Dancing" encompasses a very wide range of dances. Dance styles range from folkloric forms such as the Hagalla and Beladi dances of Egypt and the Kaleegy dances of the gulf coast of Arabia to Lebanese Debke and the high-glitz performances of Raks Sharki on the Egyptian and Turkish stages. Some dances are primarily social in purpose, such as the courting dances done by the Berbers of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Some dances, such as the Zaar or the Dervish's spinning, have religious or spiritual meaning. Others, such as modern cabaret performance, are done purely for entertainment.