Yasmina's Joy of Belly Dancing

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Belly Dance History

vintpainting.jpg (36774 bytes)It is hard to say when "belly dancing" started and where.  I have created this page to help reveal it's mysteries.  I have gathered books, web sites, articles, anything I could find on this subject.  Also included on this page is information about the different styles of dance and types of dances.  This is not an all inclusive list of resources.  New items will be added when I run across them.  I hope you enjoy exploring this wonderful art form.

Types of Dances
Stars of Belly Dance


Articles - The below articles are linked from web sites.

Belly Dance - article from Private Tourist Guide in Istanbul website

Belly Dance Time Line - from learn-to-belly-dance.com

A Brief History of Oriental Dance - by Salome

Defining the Dance - by Jen Al-Amira

Exactly What is Middle Eastern Dance - by Lady Blodwen Ferch Maergred

Fact & Fantasy About Belly Dance -  article from Private Tourist Guide in Istanbul website

In Search of the Origins of Dance - from Andrea Deagon's website

Pre-17th Century Middle Eastern Dance - by Kimberly A. Minardi (aka Narah)

Primer on Middle Eastern Dance Styles - Beginners are often confused about the many dance styles in Middle Eastern dance. Our dance comes from many countries, so there is great variety. The wide range of choices is one of the charms. There are general characteristics in each style, however, which differentiate them.

What is Belly Dancing? - article from the IAMED website

The World's Oldest Dance; a history of bellydance (revised 2000) - by Joyful Dancer, Karol H. Harding

Books - Some of these books are out of print.  If you ever see them in a bookstore, flea market or on the web, buy them, they are priceless.

Check my booklist for more books on belly dancing.

"Ancient Egyptian Dances"  by Irena Lexova, Diane Bergman (Introduction), K. Haltmar (translator)
Excellent resource on the history, mystery and origins of belly dance. Has sections on purely movemental dance, gymnastic dance, imitative dance, dramatic dance, lyrical dance, funeral dance, religious dance, accompaniments of the dance, dance with musical instruments, movements of the legs, arms, and trunk, costumes of the ancient Egyptian women and men dancers, a note on the historical development of the ancient Egyptian art of dancing, and a note on the Egyptian dances, as performed by modern women dancers. 
176 pages, $7.95
Publication date March 2000
Dover Publishers, ISBN 0486409066

"Belly Dancing, the serpent and the sphinx"
by Wendy Buonaventura. This beautifully illustrated book is a pot-pourri of myth, history, anecdote, travelers’ tales and accounts by belly dancers today.
Virago Press, London, 1983, ISBN 0-86068-279-X,
Out of Print

"Looking For Little Egypt" by Donna Carlton. This book is very well  written.  The author did a lot of research before writting this book.
Paperback (June 1995), International Dance Discovery Books; ISBN: 0962399817, $14.95

"The Oldest Dance" by Zarifa Aradoon.  Orgins and philosophy of Danse Oriental [commonly known as belly dancing].  Includes discussions of the dance as seen by foreign travelers. 
Dream Place Publications, CA, 1979, ISBN 0-930486-01-3, Out of Print

"Oriental Belly Dance "by Kemal Ozdemir. This book is from Turkey and includes the history of belly dancing, Turkish folk dance, modern and classical dances, Oriental dancers, Oriental dance music, costumes for oriental dancing, the masters of Turkish belly dancing and a guide to watch an Oriental dance performance to name a few.  The illustrations and photographs are awesome.  The book takes a long time to receive, but it was worth it. 160 pages, published by Donence Basim ve Yayun Hizmetleri, Istanbul/Turkey, ISBN 975-7054-11-9, $50.00

"The Rom: walking in the paths of the gypsies" by Roger Moreau. The author's account of his efforts to research the history of the Rroma, especially those aspects that are still not completely understood by modern-day Gypsiologists.
Paperback - 304 pages (September 1997), Key Porter Books; ISBN: 1550138685; $14.95

"Serpent of the Nile: women and dance in the Arab world" by Wendy Buonaventura.  Explores the history of belly dancing from ancient times through the resent.
Paperback - 208 pages Reprint edition (February 1998), Interlink Pub Group; ISBN: 1566563003; $35.00


Web Sites - The below web sites touch on the history of belly dancing.

Belly Dance: history, heritage and memoirs -  from Soraya's web site.

History of Oriental Dance -   Books, music, FAQ's and articles about the history of belly dancing.  From Shira's website.

Hootchy-Kootchy - from StreetSwing.com dance history archive

Oriental Belly Dance - from StreetSwing.com dance history archive

Spiritdance - website deals with dance styles, costumes and instruments dealing with Raks Sharqi.


Types of Dances

Web Sites - The below web sites touch on the different styles of belly dancing

Different Styles of Oriental Dance - wonderful page of text and videos of the various forms of Oriental Style dance. From Shems website.

Helene Ericksen - her website contains a lot of information, both in text and photos, of dances from various countries.

Styles of Belly Dance in the United States - Overview of the different styles of dance within the U.S. Contains terminology, structure of dance, finger cymbals and type of dance moves to name a few.  From Shira's web site.


Discussion of floorwork - FAQ's from Middle Eastern Dance Resource Guide.

Just Like a Snake: how to perform serpentine floorwork - article by Jasmin Jahal

Gypsy, Flamenco & Middle Eastern Dance

Origins Misunderstandings - FAQ's from Middle Eastern Dance Resource Guide.


Hagallah - The folkloric dance of celebration known as the hagallah is performed by the settled Bedouin (bedu) of Mersa Matruh in Western Egypt and is often performed during the date harvest, which is the wedding season in that area.


Snake Dancing - FAQ's from Middle Eastern Dance Resource Guide.

Snakeskin - Lynette from Snake Skin Studio informs her readers about snakes, also a photo gallery containing  artwork of ancient women & snakes.

That Snake Charmer Song - History of the "Snake Charmer" song.  You know the one, that very annoying sound that has nothing to do with the Middle Eastern Dance.  Listen to the song   recorded by Carl Stevens and His Circus Band and other artists.  From Shira's Site.


Guedra - FAQ's from Middle Eastern Dance Resource Guide.

Guedra: the FAQ - by Joyful Dancer Karol H. Harding

The Zar - FAQ's from Middle Eastern Dance Resource Guide.

The Zar Revisited - by Me'ira


Dance of the Seven Veils and Salome - FAQ's from Middle Eastern Dance Resource Guide.

Dancing with a veil - article by Jasmin Jahal

Veil - Information on American night club,  Tribal Fusion and Egyptian Raqs Sharqi viel work.  From Shira's web site.

Veil Dancing - FAQ's from Middle Eastern Dance Resource Guide.

Stars of Belly Dance

Badia Masabni


          Video Clips from YouTube

Fifi Abdou


          Video Clips from YouTube

Mona el Said


          Video Clips from YouTube



Nagwa Fouad


          Video Clips from YouTube

Naima Akef 


          Video Clips from YouTube


Samia Gamal


          Video Clips from YouTube

Souhair Zaki


          Video Clips from YouTube


Tahia Carioca


          Video Clips from YouTube

Websites and General Articles Featuring the Stars of Belly Dancing

Video Clips




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Last Updated: 03/07/17