Friday, March 1, 2024

Shortlist of Well-known Stomach Dancers from Across the World

Stomach Dance, at its most elementary may be traced again for hundreds of years (and even presumably millennia). It’s throughout the previous century, roughly the final hundred years that this dance underwent a metamorphosis into the artwork at present recognized as ‘raqs sharqi’ or extra generally identified, as ‘stomach dance’.

This fascinating evolution owes a substantial debt to the unimaginable girls who etched their names as the celebrities of stomach dance, and those that have continued their legacy.

That’s why in the present day, we need to present you who a number of of those girls are. Get comfy lets take a tour of, well-known stomach dancers, artistry and historical past!

A famous belly dancer
Photograph of stomach dancer by vishnudeep-dixit on Pexels


The godmother of recent Stomach Dance: Badia Masabni

Photo of Badia_Masabni
Badia Masabni, unknown photographer, Public area, through Wikimedia Commons

As all the time, one should begin in the beginning. So the primary place of this checklist goes to Badia Masabni. She is taken into account the creator of recent stomach dancing. A vibrant Syrian/Lebanese actress and dancer, Badia launched into a journey to Egypt the place she established a pioneering music corridor in Cairo through the 1920’s. This venue showcased an eclectic array of abilities, spanning singing, rhythmic dancing, and variety of fascinating leisure acts.

The indelible mark of Badia lies within the evolution of stomach dance — a transition from its conventional origins to a vivacious stage efficiency tailor-made for bigger audiences. This evolution launched options like ballet-inspired arm motion and swish traces and a dynamic utilization of area via intricate touring steps. It was additionally an innovation to incorporate the veil as a compelling prop. Unsurprisingly, she was named “The Godmother of Stomach Dance” due to her profound affect.

Additionally, past these contributions, Badia performed a pivotal position in shaping the careers of two distinguished figures in stomach dancing, Samia Gamal and Tahiya Carioca. Her legacy continues.


Well-known Stomach dancers from Egypt:

As Egypt is a non secular house of Stomach dance, it is smart that 8 of our checklist of 19 originate from right here (with a number of of the others being drawn to Egypt and different components of the Center East, Africa and Arab World at later factors of their lives).


Dina Talaat


Dina is famend in Egypt and past, not just for her  stomach dancing but in addition for her huge appearing abilities. She was born into affluence, then labored her solution to a level in philosophy. The roots of her dancing journey hint again to her involvement with a people group on the tender age of 9. This was the outset of her inventive journey.

Because the Eighties unfolded, Dina’s solo profession grew, elevating her into fame. Dina’s pathway into stomach dancing was sadly riddled with resistance from her household. Her ardour for the dance fashion ignited arguments and finally distanced her from her mother and father. This persevered for a staggering three years, earlier than reconciliation.

In stark distinction to a number of the extra conventional Egyptian stomach dancers, Dina stands out for her personal distinctive fashion. She has a really expressive aura, and makes use of unconventional apparel, far faraway from the established norms of Egyptian stomach dance costume.

Dina’s resilience and audacity, are traits that, mixed together with her dance abilities, place her as an avant-garde drive on the earth of stomach dance. Her dance kind is revered for its seamless magnificence and swish fluidity.


Amie Sultan


Rising up and dealing extensively throughout Egypt, Singapore and South Est Asia, Amie Sultan initially pursued a profession as a ballerina, dancing key roles in ballets corresponding to SwanLake and Don Quixote. While on tour in 2014, she found the great thing about Raqs sharqi and there was no wanting again.

Having danced throughout a number of nations and for a number of the world’s elite, Amie confirms she is likely one of the most wanted and highest paid Egyptian dancers.

With a powerful profile and following, Amie has appeared in for lots of the world’s largest media shops and makes use of this as a possibility to boost consciousness of each cultural and feminist points related to stomach dance.

As with a number of the different dancers on this checklist, she is eager to scale back the sexualized, extra misogynistic interpretation and take it take to its roots as a foundation for female empowerment. She’s going to choose off difficult topics like  “Tips on how to deal with a Stomach dancer by a Bellydancer”.  Nevertheless, Amie prefers phrases corresponding to ‘Dance of the East’, Egyptian Dance’ or Baladi Dance’ as a substitute for the time period to “Stomach Dance” as a extra correct cultural descriptor.

Amie is an advocate of preserving the dance, one of many appeals to her, in her phrases: “dance and music is a heritage artwork and an expression of civilization” She is engaged on getting the Egyptian dance acknowledged by UNESCO to register the dance as a nationwide intangible heritage to assist safeguard this artwork kind for future generations.

You will discover out extra at Amie Sultan’s web site


Soheir Zaki

Soheir Zaki Famous belly dancer
Soheir_Zaki by Anefo, CC0, through Wikimedia Commons

Soheir was born in Mansoura 1945, and moved to Alexandria, Egypt on the tender age of 9. Her initiation into the world of dance unfolded via the fascinating attract of cinema.

As Soheir immersed herself in films that includes famend dancers like Taheyya Kariokka and Samia Gamal. Soheir drew inspiration from their performances.

Soheir Zaki began her journey initially via marriage ceremony performances. Nevertheless, as soon as noticed by a tv producer referred to as Mohammed Salem, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than the glimmer of TV and the silver display beckoned her, with alternatives to grace over 100 films between the 1960’s and 1980’s.

A frequent dancer in Egyptian nightclubs and venues, Soheir has danced for numerous well-known world leaders and politicians.

Soheir Zaki’s charisma and expertise has made her one of the celebrated and sought-after dancers of her time. Even after her ‘retirement’ as a dancer, Soheir taught stomach dance in Cairo.


Samia Gamal

Samia Gamal
Samia_Gamal by, Public area, through Wikimedia Commons

Samia Gamal, who earned the honour of being often called the “Queen of Oriental Dance was born 1924, rising up in Cairo, the place she first turned captivated by dancing. She skilled professionally ballet and trendy dance alongside her ardour for stomach dance

Samia’s profession began at Badiaa Masabni’s Opera Casinoand ultimately turned a movie actress throughout what was mentioned to be ‘the golden period of Egyptian cinema’ in a number of musical movies.

Additionally identified for a capability to bop barefoot and making a big contribution to the evolution of stomach dance costumes. Samia Gamal handed away in 1994 however leaves a legacy which continues to encourage.

Check out her dancing on this video.



Nagwa Fouad

Najoua Foued bellydancer
Photograph of Nagwa Fouad, Public area, through Wikimedia Commons

Nagwa Fouad born 1936), is a stomach dance celeb who discovered fame within the Sixties. She is understood for mixed conventional oriental dance with extra trendy choreographed stage performances, to a fascinating end result.

Like a number of others on this checklist, Nagwa Fouad’s profession started within the Egyptian movie business, the place she was an actress and dancer in a number of films. Catching the eye of composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab, in 1976 he wrote a whole musical piece completely for her dance present, titled “Amar Arbatashar” (the Full Moon of the 14th). This marked a turning level from purely conventional dance to extra elaborate stage performances.

All through her profession, Nagwa carried out for a lot of well-known individuals throughout their visits to Egypt. She starred in roughly 100 tv musicals. All of this meant her fame unfold approach past Egypt. She actually was one of the well-known dancers within the Arab world through the Nineteen Seventies.

Nagwa has typically been referred known as the ‘Queen of Raqs Sharqi’.  Samia, Tahiya, and Naima offered a foundation for her fashion, however she personalised it together with her personal distinctive aptitude.

Nagwa’s fashion included facets of acrobatics and drama, creating a very spectacular efficiency.



Taheyya Kariokka


Taheyya Kariokka (born 1915), is a stomach dance legend. She turned an Egyptian image of femininity and energy. The well-known membership proprietor Badiaa Masabni launched her profession and she or he went on to bop in most Arab states and star in lots of movies. In these films, Kariokka was acted alongside well-known Arab film stars corresponding to as Farid Al Atrache and Mohamed Abdelwahab.

Excessive factors in her profession included movies like “Hubb Hatta Al-Ebada” and “Bint al Hawa”.

Past spectacular dance expertise, Taheyya Kariokka has been identified for her influential persona, which led her to take part in numerous political actions and causes.



Naima Akef


Naima Akef (born 1929) was born in Tanta on the Nile Delta, to a household of acrobats who ran the well-known Akef Circus. This upbringing formed her profession – she utilized all kinds of abilities in circus expertise, appearing, singing, and dancing – which made her comparatively distinctive in her early profession performing in nightclubs.

Naima was nominated as greatest dancer in a folklore contest on the Youth Pageant in Moscow. Naima Akef’s distinctive expertise meant a profitable profession in Egyptian movie, with the primary musical movie being The primary of such movies was “Al-Eïch wal malh” (bread and salt).

Naima Akef’s life was tragically lower quick, as she  died of most cancers aged 36, in 1966.



Fifi Abdou

Fifi Abdou (born 1953) added further layers to her stomach dance performances, with circus methods and even rapping! She takes her presentation very severely, with The Moroccan newspaper La Vie Eco reporting (2004) that she possessed over 5,000 costumes!

Fifi has skilled some problem alongside the best way like lots of the dancers. 1991, she was charged with ‘wicked actions’, being sentenced to jail for 3 months.

Along with her success as a stomach dancer, Fifi Abdou additionally was a mannequin and actress in Egyptian movies and tv. With appeal and charisma she is named a well-rounded and versatile artist.

Fifi retired from stomach dancing within the late Nineteen Nineties, now one of many wealthiest girls in Egypt and philanthropist.

Check out Fifi performing on YouTube.


Male Stomach Dancer: Mohamed El Hosseny


A particular point out for Mohamed El Hosseny, the one man on this checklist. He’s a notable Arabic male stomach dancer who carved his identify into dance historical past. Aged simply 9, his inventive journey started via music.

Nevertheless, it was his stint because the accordion participant for a youthful people dance ensemble at eleven that ignited a dance ardour inside him. For Mohamed, dance isn’t merely a efficiency, it’s carries messages and vitality, flowing via his total being.

Mohamed has graced quite a few tv reveals, securing his id as Egypt’s trailblazing male dancer. His background in ballet has given him an unparalleled mastery over his dance method, power, and physique.

Hosseny’s experience transcends a quite a few dance kinds. These embody the colourful tapestry of Egyptian people kinds together with Fellahi, Nubia, Saidi, and Simsimiyya (the dance of his hometown Suez) to the extra modern strains of Oriental dance.

At present Mohamed El Hosseny runs a dance faculty which carries his identify, contactable through giving lessons primarily in Helsinki, Finland, in addition to additional around the globe. As a instructor, he’s identified to be affected person however demanding, giving his college students a strong foundation in methods, in addition to the choreography.


Well-known stomach dancers from elsewhere throughout the Center East, Africa and Arab World

Sofinar Grigoryan (Safinaz)


Sofinar Grigoryan born 1983) identified by the stage identify Safinaz, is an Armenian stomach dancer who has gained very talked-about throughout the Arab World. Initially a ballet dancer however she discovered fame in stomach dance and shifting into appearing, showing in a number of main movies since 2013.

Safinaz hit the worldwide information on multiple event, the place she has danced with the Egyptian flag colors in her costume or the followers she was utilizing as a prop, which was frowned upon by the Egyptian courts.




Born in 1986 right into a Turkish Romani household, deeply ingrained within the traditions of reside music and dance, Didem Kinali had household roots deeply embedded within the rhythm of efficiency.

Didem’s preliminary foray into the world of dance occurred throughout the embrace of Avcilar, a suburban enclave that witnessed her earliest steps on the dancing stage. As her journey unfolded, she launched into a transformative partnership together with her mentor, Sema Yildiz, main them to the illustrious heights of Takism.

This vibrant district, pulsating on the core of Istanbul’s nightlife, offered the backdrop for his or her performances to resonate with even higher depth. It’s her fascinating magnificence and innate expertise converged that depart audiences enchanted and enthralled.


European Stomach Dancers: Dutch, French, Ukrainian, Greek

Mata Hari

Mata Hari Bellydancer
Mata Hari, Public area, through Wikimedia Commons

Mata Hari, born as Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. Mata was born within the Netherlands and graces the world as an unique dancer. The alias by which she is understood attracts its origins from Indonesian roots, translating to ‘Solar’.

As her identify implies, Mata commanded the stage together with her enchanting dance performances. Her attract is magnetic, fascinating audiences with a tantalizing interaction of flirtatiousness, sensuality and a kaleidoscope of physique actions.


Amelia Zidane

Amelia was born in Grenoble France, initially finding out to change into a kids’s psychologist, however adopted her ardour into dance.  She notes:

“I’ve the music in my blood, the dance in my pores and skin & the Artwork in my coronary heart”

Since 1994 she’s choreographed numerous her personal reveals, typically fusions with different dance kinds corresponding to hip-hop and flamenco.

With a number of European and world excursions to her identify, she’s carried out in entrance of tons of of hundreds, if not tens of millions of individuals, in main media shops and alongside famous person musicians, DJ’s and dancers. Check out Amelia performing.


Lia Verra


Lia Verra is distinguished not solely as a performer, but in addition as a choreographer, dance teacher, and the driving drive behind the esteemed worldwide LDB Greece competition.

Though born in Greece, she grew up in Germany, the place she first started to bop. On the best way she earned a dance diploma – finding out Latin and Ballroom dance, in addition to classical stomach dance.

One in every of Europe’s most triumphant and exceptionally gifted Oriental dancers, Lia Verra captivates her viewers with performances which can be an embodiment of pure grace, magnificence, and sheer breathtaking attract.

However the affect of Lia extends far past her enchanting performances. Lia Verra’s presence serves as a continued supply of inspiration. At present she teaches college students and academics alike in particular person but in addition via her on-line dance lessons. Discover out extra at her web site:


Alla Kushnir


Alla Kushnir (born 1985) is a famend Ukrainian stomach dancer and choreographer. She says “I used to be very fortunate to change into a performer of Oriental dance. He helped me obtain concord in myself”.

Alla has been a finalist on the earth championship over 4 occasions, in addition to ‘Ukraine’s acquired Expertise’Season 1. She Initiated a Ukrainiane Stomach Dance Championship and has starred in a number of TV documentaries. Together with a strong educating following, Alla is making a major contribution to stomach dance.

You will discover out extra on her web site:


Well-known stomach dancers from elsewhere on the earth (North America / USA, Cuba, Columbia)

Rachel Brice


Rachel Brice is a distinguished determine inside American stomach dance. She not solely graces the stage with the ‘Bellydance Superstars’ but in addition holds the roles of inventive director and choreographer throughout the Indigo Stomach Dance Firm.

The roots of Rachel’s deep-seated ardour stomach dance may be traced again to the early 1990’s. Her coronary heart was captured by a efficiency of Hahbi Ru, an encounter which served because the catalyst for her lifelong love affair with the artwork.

The show introduced by the performers left a permeant mark on Rachel Brice. The opulent materials, facial tattoos and tribal jewellery, featured all through their presentation are mentioned to have captivated her and from there, there’s been no wanting again.


Amar Gamal

Amar Gamal (born 1975) is initially Cuban however grew up in Florida. Amar began to stomach dance on the aged 13, subsequent carry out with the Mid-Jap Dance Alternate firm, Miami Seaside. Amar additionally skilled in numerous different dance kinds, together with faucet, ballet, and flamenco. She has a fascinating stage presence and distinctive expertise.

Amar Gamal has been a excessive calibre instructor at dance institutes in the USA As a mentor, inspiring dancers of all ages and talents in artwork of stomach dancing worldwide.

She demonstrates nicely she will train method and choreography as a low-impact exercise planning lessons to additionally characteristic cardio, power coaching and stretching.

The opposite factor that Amar achieves via her educating and wider publicity is ‘reclaiming’ a number of the roots of the dance, via weaving historical past and tradition into her classes and addressing a number of the misconceptions. On this interview with Amar within the Boston Voyager, Amar shared:

“Educating stomach dance has helped me deliver consciousness of the great thing about this dance not simply as a cultural dance however, additionally as a girls’s empowering dance”, “and never for the only real goal of the male gaze and seduction”.



Shakira, sure that’s proper, the Latin American recording artist, who has achieved world stardom. Born 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia. In addition to her singing, is understood for her enchanting stomach dance performances turning into a core a part of her on-stage presence.

Shakira has blended stomach dance together with her personal trendy modern fashion but in addition a sheer dedication to stomach dance as an artwork kind over the expanse of her profession.

Wrapping up:

All of our dancers on this checklist, whether or not from the golden age of Egyptian cinema or in todays social media fuelled world, have achieved extraordinary issues. There are lots of others we’d like to have coated, however we’d have want ed a ebook!

Many hail from exterior of the standard houses of stomach dance however all are making their very own contributions to the promotion, heritage and evolution of this memorizing dance fashion.

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