Egyptian belly dance styles

1. Egyptian Baladi

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.


Egyptian belly dance video - An example of Egyptian Raks Sharqi dance performance

Click here to find out more about belly dance in Chichester



Belly dance with Jenn

"When I dance, the sun sails safely through the night;

When I dance, the future is formed by my feet;

When I dance,the stars move through the heavens;

When I dance, Venus shimmers the desert;

When I dance, dust becomes silver, stones are made of gold!"

Cosi Fabian

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