Arabian Dance

Arabian Dance which is also known as Belly Dance is one among the oldest forms of dance. History reveals that Arabian Dance existed right from the periods of primitive civilizations. Though it is known as Belly Dance, all parts of the body are involved in this form of dance. This form of dance is specifically for the females.

Arabian Dance involves characteristic movements of the torso and shaking of the body simultaneously. Normally, Arabian Dance is performed with bare feet. The traditional name of Arabian Dance is ‘Raqs Sharqi” which means oriental dancing. Another traditional style of Belly Dance is known as “Raqs Baladi”.  Raqs Sharqi is popular in the US whereas Raq Baladi is popular in the Middle East. In some places, this dance form is performed by both men and women.


Various theories exist about the origin of Arabic Dance. According to one theory, this form of dance originated in the Middle East. Many people believed that in those days the dance was performed as a religious rite. Women were considered as goddesses and the popular belief was that women will be able to conceive only if they perform this dance. Another theory says that Belly Dance is a birthing ritual that can ease off the birth pangs. Later on, this form of dance was considered as a folk dance and men, women and children used to take part in the dance during weddings and other celebrations.

Arabian Dance is popularly known as Raqs Sharqi in Saudi Arabia. It is a traditional dance of that country and women in Saudi Arabia used to gather in the evening after taking food and perform the dance. However, as per rule in Saudi Arabia, the women should not perform Arabian Dance in the presence of men. This rule is strictly followed there even today.

Introduction in the West and in the US

The Westerners came to know about Arabian Dance in the year 1798 through Napoleon during the invasion of Egypt. During 18th and 19th centuries Belly Dance became more popular as a result of the Romantic Movement.

The Americans came to know about Arabian Dance during the Chicago World’s Fair. The dancers from the middle-east used to perform Arabian Dance in the World fairs and the Americans started to enjoy the same.

Arabian Dance in Hollywood

The Belly Dancers from the Middle East could inspire many Americans. Its rhythmic music and accompanying movements attracted the Americans and in a few Hollywood films also, they made the Belly Dancers to perform. By way of giving more colorful costume to the dancers, they made the dance more glamorous. However, later it was abandoned because of protest from the public. In America as well as Europe, it is believed that Arabian Dance is performed by immoral women.

No more religious

Though it is believed that Belly Dance originated as a religious rite performed by women later on it developed as a social dance form. However, today it is performed in the glamorous context. Now, the dancers are performing Arabian Dance in night clubs and restaurants.

Weight loss

Raqs Sharqi or Arabian Dance is one of the best methods for weight reduction. According to the medical fraternity by way of performing Bally Dance for an hour 300 calories can be burned. The quantity can vary depending upon the dancer’s performance. However, a nutritious diet and daily practice of Arabian Dance together can ensure reduction of weight without affecting the health. Moreover, in Arabian Dance, since the weight of the body is put on the feet the bones can attain more strength and also it effectively prevents osteoporosis.