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Belly Dance – raqs baladi

Belly dancing in any way, shape or form can be entertaining to perform and to watch. There are so many different variations and styles to the dance form that are both challenging and exhilarating to learn.

The two main styles of belly dancing are:

1. Raqs Baladi

2. Raqs Sharqi

Raqs Sharqi is a slightly more modernised style of belly dancing. Raqs Sharqi translates to mean dance of the East or dance of the Orient. It takes traditional belly dancing movements and shows them in a catchy, show business style to entertain an audience.

Colourful costumes, sexy dance moves and beautiful Arabic and/or Turkish music is often teamed up with a Raqs Sharqi performance. Raqs Sharqi is a fairly modernised form of belly dancing.

Raqs Baladi however is very different to Raqs Sharqi. Baladi is a more traditional Egyptian folk dance. Raqs Baladi translates to mean native dance or country dance and is an ancient Egyptian dance.

The costume used in Baladi is very different to the ones often used in Raqs Sharqi. The dancers wear a long, ankle length dress that is called a Baladi dress. The dancers often wear a hip scarf over their dress in a matching colour.

Raqs Baladi can be used in a performance or as it is often used to celebrate weddings, births and other happy occasions.

My main reason for choosing Raqs Baladi over Raqs Sharqi is that as a keen belly dancer I often come across silly stereotypes and myths about belly dancing. Belly dancing has a pretty bad reputation amongst some people. When people think of belly dancing they think of scantily dressed women who are using dancing to lure and entice men.

Many belly dancers come across this problem and it can be annoying to deal with. If you love belly dancing and want people to appreciate the art form then I recommend Raqs Baladi. Baladi lets you and your audience enjoy the beauty of belly dancing and at the same time you will not get funny looks, a bad reaction or unwanted attention.

Baladi, if we stick to the traditions, can help to change some of the silly misconceptions people have about belly dancing. If we want people to appreciate the art then we have to make some effort in changing their opinions. One way is to dance and show them what ‘real’ belly dance is all about.

Baladi belly dance has it’s own style of music named after it. The music, like the dance, is traditional and has a lot of culture to it.

While the contemporary styles do provide a change to traditional styles of dances it’s the classics that have the most beauty and traditions attached to it. Baladi is more entertaining as it is all about having fun and enjoying yourself. It’s used in many joyous events and has a lot less stigma attached to it then Raqs Sharqi.

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