Overview

Belly dance, also known as Oriental dance and Middle Eastern dance is a beautiful form of art and expression considered to be one of the most ancient dances practiced today.

Many scholars believe that Oriental dance was originally done by women for women. In Islamic countries, homes are divided into sections separating the women from the men. During festivals, weddings and other special occasions, women celebrate together – often by dancing for one another. This form of dancing is refered to as belly dancing, Oriental Dance, and Middle Eastern dance.

Many scholars have researched the use of Oriental dance as a means of preparing women for birth. Many traditional midwives were very well aware of the numerous benefits dancing has for pregnant, birthing and postpartum women. Girls were taught belly dancing moves from a young age to help them improve their muscle control and to better manage the pain of childbirth.

It is also considered a type of folkloric dance with styles, props, and music specific to regions and communities across the Middle East.  Folkloric dance is done by women and men alike in a variety of celebratory settings.

In the 1950s, belly dancing was a hit in Hollywood nightclubs and in Hollywood and also seen on film. We owe its sequined bra image to this period. For a long time, belly dancing was equated with adult entertainment. Over the years, however, many dancers dedicated to this art have been able to successfully correct this misconception, although it’s important to continue portraying it in a positive light and educating communities about its historical and cultural origins.

Belly dancing today is becoming increasingly popular for women of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds. It is used in Western and Eastern cultures alike as a way for women to exercise their bodies while also growing in self-confidence, control and ability. It has become an artistic expression of the feminine. It has given women everywhere a sacred place to bond, grow and learn as a group and as individuals.

Turkish Roman (Roman Havası)

Another form of dance that Dunya Belly Dance strives to learn and present is Turkish Roman. Rom people created their dance style with lyrical, emotional and exotic figures associated with their lives in the Anatolian region. Often oppressed and victims of discrimination, the Rom people felt excluded and started to express themselves with music and dance. They believe that dance and music are the reason of existence for them and these are their source of identity.

The rhythm of Roman music (called Roman Havası in Turkey) is 9/8. There are different forms of expression for diversification of this measure in Roman dancing. Tulum (heavy), Pancar (fast) and Gayda are performed at the same rhythm, but they have different figure, expression and metronome. The dance called “karşılama” is not a Roman dance. It shapes with the social interaction of communities. The most important difference is the style of performance. “Karşılama” is performed with 2-4-6 people in groups. However Roman dancing is individual and spontaneous. Romans perform the dance with creativity. They execute personal choreography such as during the dance they are angry, cheerful, cynical, glad, etc.

Roman inspired music and dancing has been portrayed by Oriental dancers and there are some versions of Turkish Roman dance that is called Roman Oryantal.

Dunya Belly Dance is dedicated to the diverse and artistic representation of belly dancing, and we consistently promote its community, educational and wellness benefits through dance classes and performances.  To promote authentic oriental styles, we have studied with Yousry Sharif, Nourhan Sharif, Enheduanna, and Shafeek Ibrahim to name a few.  To promote authentic Turkish Roman style, we have studied with Ozgen and Reyhan Tuzuz and researched other masters such as Ahmet Öğren who is the source of the Turkish Roman content above.