The world 'baladi' roughly translates to 'my country' (balad = country, 'i' ending = my) and can mean many
different things to a dancer, depending on context. Just as we have country music, country decorating, and country
fried steak, Egyptians have Baladi people, Baladi bread, Baladi rhythms, Baladi music and Baladi dance. The Bint il
Balad is the country girl, a wholesome fun-loving simple down-home girl. She's the Arab equivalent of Mary Ann from
Gilligan's Island (vs. Ginger, who's more of a Raqs Sharqi kind of girl).
Baladi is sometimes spelled balady, beledi or beledy.
The word Baladi can mean rough and unsophisticated to the more urbane Cairenes, but to the Baladi people living
in Cairo, it means home, hometown, my people, in a very good way. Hmmm, much like the word 'country' might be used
in the US.
When Baladi women dance, it's a joyful improvisation. Baladi dance is social dance, although Baladi women would
certainly be attempting to entertain one another and might take turns dancing as a soloist at a party or wedding to
entertain one another.
Egyptian belly dance video - An example of Egyptian Baladi dance performance
2. Egyptian Style Raqs Sharqi
"Egyptian Style Raqs Sharqi (arabic for 'Dance of the Orient' or 'Dance of the East,' to differentiate the dance
as their own rather than something imported)-is a modern form that has grown out of the Baladi style and other
earthy folkloric forms, mixed with some elements of Western dance.
Raqs Sharqi is sometimes spelled Raks Sharki and translated as Oriental Dance or
Danse Orientale. So when you see references to 'Oriental' or often just Egyptian Style, this
is the style people are talking about.