FAQs

Question

What is belly dancing?

Answer

Belly dancing is the art of dancing with moves that represent both the sounds and the feel of the music in a particular aesthetic.  See our Blog post.

Question

Where is belly dance from?

Answer

Modern belly dancing is generally considered to have its roots in Egypt.  Belly dancing was introduced to North America at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago with performances by dancers from North Africa.  Further, there is historical evidence of belly dance type moves in many ancient cultures including Indian, Greek, and Egyptian. 

Question

What are belly dance clackers?

Answer

Belly dance "clackers," called "sagat" in Arabic and "zils" in Turkish, are finger cymbals worn on the thumbs and middle fingers of the dancer.  The belly dancer simultaneously dances and plays rhythms on the finger cymbals accompanying the music and emphasizing her/his dance moves.

Question

Can I learn to belly dance

at any age?

Answer

Yes.  Belly dancing is a movement language, and just like babies can "talk" with just one word, we can learn to belly dance one move at a time in a capacity that our young or old bodies will allow.

Question

Can men learn to belly dance?

Answer

Sure!  Belly dancing is about expressing the music.  Gender is irrelevant.

 

Question

Is belly dance an Islamic dance?

Answer

No.  Because modern belly dancing is so often associated with the Middle East, which is largely perceived as an Islamic region, many people believe that belly dancing must be a religious dance.  Belly dancing is secular.

Question

Is belly dance an exotic dance?

Answer

No.  So-called exotic dancing is meant to stimulate the observer sexually.  Belly dancing is meant to interpret the rhythms and melodies of each instrument in the music using isolated moves simultaneously in the body.

Question

What's a hafla?

Answer

Hafla is the Arabic word for party or get-together.  In belly dance culture, hafla has come to mean a recital or party for belly dancers to perform for each other or a small audience.

Question

What is Raqs Sharqi?

Answer

Raqs Sharqi literally translates from Arabic as Eastern Dance.  Raqs Sharqi is generally considered for the stage as it is a refined and precise form of belly dance with the purpose of interpreting music through movement for an audience.

Question

What is Debke?

Answer

Debke is a Levantine (countries near the eastern Mediterranean region) folk dance generally danced by family and friends in a line or a circle at celebrations, parties, and other gatherings.

Question

What is Raqs Beledi?

Answer

Raqs Beledi literally translates from Arabic as Country Dance.  Raqs Beledi is what is generally considered social belly dancing practiced by family and friends at parties and gatherings or just for fun at home.

 
 
 
 
© Jennifer Carpenter-Peak and Robert Peak, 2020. All rights reserved.