An open door to the Arab world


Country briefing






Special topics


Arts and culture




Arab music: dance


General information

Dance styles in the Middle East 

Middle Eastern dance rhythms 
Explanation and examples

Dance of the Seven Veils 
A European invention (shira.net)

Dance: the spiritual connection 

Website of a Palestinian dance troupe that founded the Popular Art Centre in the West Bank

Dance in Oman 
Oman Centre for Traditional Music

The Omani dance of death 
Fann al-dan is an ancient dance perfomed following a death. Article by Nasser Al-Taee

Life stories of female entertainers 
by Karin Van Nieuwkerk (extracts from A Trade Like Any Other - Female Singers and Dancers in Egypt, 1995)

Cross-dressing in Middle Eastern dance 

Oasis Dance Camp 
Dancing holidays in Morocco

Belly dance 

"Raqs Sharqi" (literally: "oriental dance") is the name used in the Middle East. The term "Belly Dance" is said to have been coined in the United States to attract people to an exhibit called "The Streets of Cairo" at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

Belly dance 
General explanation from Wikipedia

What is belly dance?

Roots of oriental dance  
By Carolina Varga Dinicu (orientaldancer.net)

A brief history of oriental dance 
From social dance to performance art. By Salome

Music and rhythm
A belly dancer's view, by Ann Sabin (bdancer.com)

Belly Dance Museum  
History, plus some famous dancers

The art of Middle Eastern dance - lots of information

Raqs Sharqi  
Information on the dance

Raqs Sharqi - Middle Eastern dance


A line dance for both men and women. The national folk dance of Lebanon, also found in Syria, Jordan and Palestine. 

Debke - the dance and culture

Debke - how to do it

A Palestinian debke group based in Illinois


Ghawazee are professional dancers providing entertainment in Egypt.

A short history of the Ghawazee 
By Sayyid Asim al-Talib

The Ghawazee of Egypt 
By Jasmin Jahal

Dance of the Ghawazee  
By Leyla bint ish-Shamaal


A Berber blessing dance

"Dance as community identity in selected Berber nations of Morocco." By Carolina Varga Dinicu (orientaldancer.net)

Guedra: the FAQ 
By Karol Harding

Guedra dance of Morocco 
By Jasmin Jahal


A wedding dance, originally from Libya, performed by the Bedouin of western Egypt

A short description

Cultural setting, costumes and choeography

What it is and what it looks like

Hagallah: FAQ 
Fakes versus the real thing


The name - variously spelled Schikhatt, Shakhatt or Chikhat -  means "female sheikhs". This is an erotic women-only dance, originally perfomed for the bride before her wedding, with the idea of teaching her how she would be expected to move in the marriage bed.

Schikhatt: from sex education to social recreation
By Carolina Varga Dinicu (orientaldancer.net)


A "candle dance" traditionally performed in Egypt during weddings. The name comes from the candelabra worn on the head.

Raqs shamadan

Candelabra dance 
Article and pictures

Cleopatra's Bazaar 
Shamadan candelabra for sale. "Sturdy, yet lightweight for ultimate comfort and comes in your choice of brass or silver tone finish." $190.


A dance performed to drive away evil spirits. It originated in the Sudan but is also popular among women in Egypt. 

The zar ceremony 
by Heba Fatteen Bizzari

The zar revisited 
by Me'ira (Karol Harding)

The mysterious zar 
by Arabella


In the music section


In the arts and culture section




View statistics


Last revised on 05 August, 2015