A DEEP DIVE INTO HISTORY
Belly dance is primarily a torso-driven dance, with an emphasis on articulations of the hips. Unlike many Western dance forms, the focus of the dance is on isolations of the torso muscles, rather than on movements of the limbs through space. Although some of these isolations appear similar to the isolations used in jazz ballet, they are sometimes driven differently and have a different feeling or emphasis. Belly dance in the Middle East has two distinct social contexts: as a folk or social
dance, and as a performance art. As a social dance, belly dance (also called Raqs Baladi or Raqs Shaabi in this context) is performed at celebrations and social gatherings by ordinary, in their ordinary clothes. In more conservative or traditional societies, these events may be gender segregated, with separate parties where men and women dance separately.