Bellydance Styles

Not all bellydancers are made alike, and in fact, there are many, many different styles and variations of bellydance and Middle-Eastern Dance. There is much we do not & cannot know about historical styles of bellydance, and much of the information available to us was written by travelling “westerners”, so their bias must be taken into account.

The following is very, very brief and covers only the dance styles we focus on in our school. These descriptions should not be taken as “definitive” as it would take pages to describe all styles in detail.

Folkloric styling can be described as earthy (flat footed), grounded, big & brassy as well as small & controlled. Whilst there are many folk dances from Egypt & other parts of the Middle-East that we learn and perform, there is a whole lot more on offer! 😀

Ghawazee attitude is joyful, earthy & proud. Lots of hip & shoulder shimmies, swaying hips, travelling movements, high arms & lots of finger cymbal playing. Below is Daniella’s Group from Russia in Banat Mazin ‘Luxor’ beaded dresses.

Baladi attitude is entirely dependant upon the mood of the music, and of the performer. Traditionally, Baladi follows a progression encompassing various moods & speeds of music & movement. From slow, controlled & intricate to accented, cheeky, fast & fun! Below is Maria Aya performing her famous “Kitchen Baladi”.

Sha’abi styling is an urban style, like baladi, often with more relaxed, less “polished-looking” movements. The cheeky, sassy, rough and light-hearted attitude makes it a dance “of the people”. As fashions and dance change, so does sha’abi. Here is a modern sha’abi piece from the Nymph Oriental Dance Company.

Classical, or Raks Sharqi, styling is more controlled, more intricate, and often more ‘balletic’ in nature, with long arms and smooth, flowing lines. It often includes props such as veil.

Vintage (or Golden Age) styling sits between Baladi/Ghawazee and Classical. It has flowing arms, cheeky moves and lots of emotion. Below is Golden Age great, Tahia Carioca.

Folkloric Fusion also has several moods, depending upon the music and the traditional elements involved. The fusion, for us, often occurs through combining traditional movements and dances with modern music. Here is TABLA bellydance performing a folkloric fusion piece.

New Fusions including Steampunk and DubStep give bellydance movement a whole new flavour. Below is Luna Rouge performing a DubStep fusion.

The folkloric flavour of our dance styles is stylistic rather than wholly focused on the Red-style folkloric dances. We are stylistically more “flat-footed” than many of our cabaret sisters, and more explorative in fusion than some of our more traditional sisters in dance. We explore alternative styles and fusions with much knowledge and respect to the traditional styles.

There are several different “folkloric dances” including (but not limited to):

Shamadan [with candelabra] as below by the Egyptian National Folkloric Troupe

Hagallah, as below in Mahmoud Reda’s ‘El Hagalla’

Saidi (including dancing with a Cane or Stick) in Caroline Labrie’s Saidi Salamat.

The “invented for the stage” Melaya Leff, here by the Mahmoud Reda Troupe

Fallahin [farmers] dances, also invented-for-stage. Here by the Enan Egyptian Troupe.


At Ghawazee Moon Bellydance, we take as our inspiration the practices of bellydance as a form of community celebration and sharing. We rely on teachings passed down, and the truth in the rhythms and music, to create dances which respond on a folkloric level. We aspire to honest interpretations with thoughts of the culture from which these dances came and the traditions which surround them.

The grace and fluidity of the Classical styles, the fiery, proud and earthy movements of the Ghawazee, and the intricate and internalised movements of Baladi create a huge diversity of movement. Add to that fusion styles and specific folkloric dances, and we know you will love the variety of styles danced at Ghawazee Moon Bellydance as much as we do!

Do you have a favourite bellydance, or ME Dance, Style? Let us know!

On the road to Gundagai

Regional Bellydance with Ghawazee Moon BellydanceSimone from Blessed Bowen Natural Therapies contacted me late last year to discuss the posibility of bringing some bellydance out to Gundagai in the form of monthly workshops. I was, of course, very interested in seeing what we could do to ‘share the joy’.

Within three days the class was full and we booked the first workshop for early January with 16 unsure, but enthusiastic, women and girls ready to start their bellydance adventure!

We talked history, perceptions and misconceptions and then we got stuck into the core movements of bellydance! With a great deal of positive feedback, I’ll be back on the road to Gundagai next month to consolidate our learning and begin putting steps together.

I’m looking forward to sharing my love of bellydance with this great group of women and girls on an ongoing basis and helping them build a community that will support and encourage them in their dancing and daily lives.

See you all in February!