»   Encyclopedic Dictionary »   Dance Index »   Belly Dance »

[ Keep up with new discoveries with a free subscription to the Baba Yaga Newsletter. ]


Made in the U.S.A. Keep up with a FREE subscription to the BABA YAGA newsletter.

There is a fair amount of overlap between American style and other styles and certainly some doubt what genre of dance this really is. American genres extend the emotional range, technique, music and costuming of the classic Oriental dances to reflect the American dancer's experiences and culture. You might call it a fusion of Eastern and Western sensibilities. The use of props as partners in the dance are hallmarks of American belly dance but the goal is to be able to dance to the music in the most appropriate way.

"From the Persian culture are the graceful flowing costumes, delicate and graceful arm movements, and pantomime stories. From Turkey and Greece are the influences of the line dancing folk dances with high steps and kicks– dancing with high energy and swift turns. From the Ouled Nail from Essna, Egypt come the torso undulations and isolations of movement in the shoulders and hips. Armenian folk dance lends the light stepping quick foot movements to the dance. Tunusian and Algerian folk dances provide the hip twists and controlled bouncing from lightt hopping (which provides a wonderful arch building metatarsal workout). Upper Egyptian, Sudanese dancing also provides a background for hip twists and drops. Libiyan, Saidi Arabian and Saudi cultures bring interesting rhythms and accompanying dance steps and style to the Belly Dance. Moroccan dance lends the beautiful total body undulation to the dance... With such background as vast and as rich as the Belly Dance, it is no wonder that many different styles have developed in America."— Ma'Shuqa Mira Murjan.

"American style Oriental/Belly dance is a distinctive style composed of creative elements that are simply outstanding. The routines are stage-worthy, audience related, and pleasing to the eye. American style routines satisfy expectations of the classic Oriental/Belly dance while still allowing the American (or other Western) dancer to adapt the routine to her own unique interchange with the audience. The most important essence of the dance star shines because, when beautifully executed, the dance is more than a mixture of steps, movements, copied gestures, and facial expressions. . . If the dancer's personality happens to be American, or German, or Australian, then incorporation of all that makes up that unique individual needs to be present in her dance and should not be thrown aside in a misguided attempt to copy a Middle Easterner. In a very real sense, then, the dancer who does not attempt to imitate each little nuance of a Middle Eastern dancer may be said to be a performer whose dance is authentic in content."— Najia El Mouzayen


Ma'Shuqa Mira Murjan, Orientale Danse in America, Dancers' Guide Magazine, 1987.

Najia El Mouzayen, in her article The Great American Belly Dance Veil Routine,, Web.

Ruric-Amari performs a double veil dance.

Keep up with a FREE subscription to the BABA YAGA newsletter.
Maura Enright, Proprietor
©2012 - 2015 by Maura Enright
Latest revision: 2015.11.22
© means the content is copyrighted. Your links to this content are much appreciated.