Dancing/Cabaret/Oriental Dance = Sacred as a moving spirit in constant prays as they move. Forbidden =Exotic Sex Goddess. Harem Girl = A night of entertainment for a Sultan.
Originating from the countries in the Far East. Has quite a taboo/stigma still attached to it. A mysterious Past. A belly dancer was feared and worshipped. People believed a spiritual force was connected to them. And somehow they were possessed. By helping women in childbirth. By dancing around the bed, making the actual birth
easier and relieving pain. Men were not allowed inside of the room. In the Middle East and parts of Africa (The northern part), this ritual still exists. Also the belly dancer was hired to dance at a family wedding, in order to show the new virgin bride movements, that would introduce her to the new husband. The harem world was specifically for the belly dancer. And the girls were picked out one by one from the Sultan. They were allowed to go without a veil covering their faces. But the men in the band had to put a blind fold over their eyes, so no flirting would come about.
Moving from childbirth rituals and weddings, also harems to cabaret performance. Still a sensitive subject right up into today and the present. Some view it as a respected art. Others only have negative feelings about belly dance, and see it as sleazy. It is very common to find a dancer in a Middle Eastern or Greek restaurant. Most of the dances are individually improvised. A set piece is the Bedouin Wedding Dance.
It is a personal choice of a dancer to work with a troupe or independent
Modern Egyptian Cabaret dancing is very controlled, elegant, refined and often includes some ballet. Muscular control is emphasized and movements are small and internalized. "Less is More" seems to be the working philosophy. Egyptians must by law wear stomach covers, so many followers of the style do that also. Morocco dances Old Style Egyptian cabaret, eschewing the Russian balletic influences in favor of the original Egyptian dance.
Turkish style Cabaret "Anything Goes" seems to be more of the working philosophy. Dancers are often very flamboyant, with large, earthy movements. Leaps and many pelvic movements are very common. The Karshilama is Turkish and is rarely danced in Egypt, where it was outlawed after the Ottoman Turks were ousted. Turkish dancers are often very scantily clad, but that's not a requirement of the style.
Lebanese Cabaret dance is somewhere between the Egyptian and Turkish styles. In the folkloric basis of the dance, there are many more dance styles than countries. The videos "Dances of Egypt" and "Dances of North Africa" give a good starting point for understanding these dances, the movements of which have been polished and refined for stage performance.
Beledi is the dance of the Egyptian countryside; it is also the music. When taken to the stage it becomes an "Urban Beledi" with more glitzy costumes. The usual costume is a fitted caftan slit up one or both sides called a beledi dress. A triangular headscarf is also commonly worn. Many Egyptian folk dances such as cane and basket dances are performed in beledi.
Tahtib is the men's martial arts dance of Egypt, performed with the long canes which were historically used in combat.
Gypsy dance is another style which is widely danced in the U.S. Gypsies originally came from India and traveled thorough out the Middle East and Europe bringing their dances with them. The Ghawazhees were originally Egyptian Gypsy street dancers.
American Style Bellydance: Some people add other influences such as jazz, ballet, and Spanish. Some dancers are very experimental and avante garde in their creation of new dance forms. Tribal is an American mixture of ethnic stylings with Fat Chance Belly Dance being a prime example. This brief overview is not comprehensive at all, but it does give some idea of the wide variety and many styles of Middle Eastern dance. The broad spectrum is what makes the dance open to all and universally appealing. There is a style for everyone in this dance.
Whirling Dervish-Twirling: In the Middle East the dancers perform inside of a Mosque like temple, also on cruise ships and other environments where there is entertainment. They continuously twirl (see photo) for thirty minutes and through the whirling they seek to acheive a union with God. It is meditation in motion, a kind of rebalancing of the world by drawing cosmic energies down to earth.
Khaleeh Dance: Females in the Middle East from the Persian Gulf States to Saudi Arabia perform this dance wearing a Thob (this is considered their party dress). The Thob is very full, also embroidered. Most movements are centered on the shoulders, and they are distinctively known for hair loss. They are accompanied by an all female band and perform in front of an all female audience. DesertStore specializes in Islamic Clothing for men and women, customized Gold and Silver Jewelry, Arabian daggers, Islamic wall hangings and decor. Check the Thob and other items at their WEB site - www.desertstore.com
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Dance: Music and dance are very important to the UAE natives. Keeping traditions and never loosing touch with their past are essential. Long ago there were various tribal groups. They were called Bedouin or Bedu. And great at story telling, also poetry. Which still reflects in a dance or a specific song.Dance performances are usually big at weddings and on national holidays. Accompanied by a tambourine, and also different size drums. The different sizes create different tones. An Arabian flute (nai) is used to produce a sad/solume mystical melody. Also a string instrument rababa is included.
Ayyala: A popular male dance. The men are lined up in rows, holding sticks or swords. They move towards each other creating an image of battle between two groups. Using drums as the music.
Na'ashai: A popular female dance. The ladies put their right hand on their chest and sway very slowly from side to side. Along with tossing their long hair from side to side. Hair tossing and swirling around in a circular motion, is a sign of water. Moving like the gentle waves of a beautiful calm ocean.UAE culture love animals. Their most precious animal is the Camel. "Ata Allah" A special gift from God. Hida'a is a desert song they sing to the Camel to relax them.
Expensive cars, modern highways and universities have revised the United Arab Emirates. They do offer classes in theater. Also dance classes in ballet and belly dancing.