What is Belly Dance?

Bellydance, also known as Raqs Sharqi (Dance of the East) or Oriental/Oryantal Dance is done in the MENAHT Region (Middle East, North Africa, Hellas (Greece) and Turkey.  It is a dance that typically involves hip movements and undulations.   It is danced in a social setting in homes, at weddings and celebrations as well as a professional style of dance done in restaurants, parties and theaters.  

Bellydance is a much more diverse and inclusive dance than you may think!  People of all ages, colors, religions and walks of life dance Bellydance. The most recognizable styles are Egyptian, Lebanese and Turkish Styles along with the westernized styles such as Transnational (Tribal) & ATS (American Tribal Style).  

Belly Dance as we know it gained its popularity in the early 1900’s in the cabarets of Cairo such as Badia Masabni’s Casino Opera. Some of the most well-known dancers of the time were Taheya Karioka and Samia Gamal and later Suheir Zaki, Fifi Abdo and Nagwa Fouad.  These dancers also became famous in the movies of the time.  From Lebanon, dancers such as Nadia Gamal and Amani as well as Turkish dancers Nesrin Topkapi and Princess Banu are legends of the dance.

There are movements in Belly Dance that are universal but are performed slightly different depending on the region.  Turkish style for examples is lighter and more jumpy. And Lebanese is somewhere in the middle!  No matter what style of Belly Dance you are drawn to, you will learn percussive and soft hip movements, undulations and shimmies. There are also figure 8’s, turns and Arabesques. Learning to transition between these movements and connect with the music is where you will find the magic of Belly Dance.

You may wear the more commonly known two piece sequined and jeweled bra & belt set with a skirt and veil or an elaborate covered dress.  There are many styles of costumes today some made with lycra, mesh and lace.  You can even wear a costume made of coins if you are feeling nostalgic!

Belly Dance today is taking a new direction thanks to technology!  Online classes, workshops and festivals make studying with some of the world’s best dancers more accessible.  You can study with Egypt’s hottest dancers such as Randa Kamel and Aziza as well as many of the folkloric styles of the region. 

So, tie a coin scarf around your hips and join us for some Belly Dance fun!

About Roxxanne:
Roxxanne Shelaby is the producer/director of  the Internationally awarded "The Fez Documentary", she teaches and performs Egyptian and Lebanese style Belly Dance as well as Dabke and Khaleeji both nationally and internationally and now online too!

As a Lebanese American, Roxxanne has been dancing Dabke socially all her life!  She has also studied performance Dabke since 1998 with Vivianne Hamamdjian as well as Karim Ali, Hasan Harfouche and Malek Andary.  

Being born into the Arabic Nightclub scene in Hollywood, Roxxanne had the good fortune of growing up surrounded by Belly Dance and Live Arabic Music.  She began studying Belly Dance & Egyptian Folkdance with Sahra Saeeda as well as Farida Fahmy (The Reda Troupe) and Faten Mohamed (Kowmeya Troupe) at a very young age. 

Roxxanne has produced Belly Dance shows for the past 20 years throughout Southern California and currently produces the highly acclaimed "Fez Nights". Visit Roxxanne today at Roxxanne.net