Why "Belly Raqs®"?

Naming the dance is fraught. Why don't I use "Belly Dance" or even "Bellydance"? Not it is not because the name was coined initially to titillate, nor is it because we do not dance with our bellies. Rather, the term "Belly Dance" is just too undefined.

"Belly Dance" means different things to different people. Here are some ideas about "Belly Dance" - most of which I reject.

My solution was at first to adopt "raqs" - "dance". This fitted what I performed and taught - a range of dance styles from the Arab world. However, in New Zealand there are few Arabic speakers who want to come to my dance classes. Hence my compromise - "Belly Raqs®". (Terms for Describing "Our Dance" lists short definitions of other terminology which tries to describe the dance.)

In my classes, you will learn the underlying technique used in the solo, torso intensive, improvised dance from the Levant - also called Raqs Sharqi, Oriental Dance, Oryantal Dansi, and occasionally Belly Dance.

As a student, if you dance in public, it will initially be in a group with a choreography. However, improvisation will be included from time to time in class in (what I hope is) a non-threatening way.

Western innovations such as veil, floor patterns and weight changes will be included. If the class are interested "belly work" will be included. Moves acquired from India - such as head slides and snake arms may be flirted with.

In addition, classes in a range of folkloric styles will be offered to extend movement vocabulary and knowledge.

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