Throughout the Middle East the term for this type of dance is "Raqs Sharki", translation: "oriental dance". The term "belly dance", which is sometimes called, was coined in 1893 by Mr. Bloom, the organizer, the World Fair of Chicago, for the exhibition "Streets of Cairo", with the aim to attract the morbid attention of visitors. The word still has the power to unleash the imagination of Westerners, dragging them into a magical world, full of available women, amatory arts expert, who-knows-what in a harem full of half naked women all waiting for one man... Nothing could be further from reality: Hollywood must have contributed considerably to the creation of these fantasies.
Anyone who has witnessed a performance of belly dance itself (not a packaged version for the patrons of a nightclub for tourists, Hollywood, or guests of a hotel in Cairo) knows that is not only the belly to move, but each part of the body; and that the purpose of this dance is not seduction, as most believe, or at least no more than a seductive show of flamenco and modern dance, where the focus is rather on the technical and communicative skills of the dancer and seduction is, so to speak, a "side effect".
It is not clear, then, why the vision of a modern dancer or a classic one wearing the tutu with the porteur hands “right there”, do not cause the same smile, between the ironic and the embarrassed, on the lips of those who by chance have come to know that the neighbor took a "belly dance" course. It is of the "I see-I do not see" of the most chaste of oriental costumes that teases more the imagination, which is now numb, in the average western man,who is bombarded daily by television and thongs nude-look of the calendars?
Or the prudish halo surrounding this dance is perhaps due to its links with the mysteries of life and sexuality?
I do not intend to risk another journey into the depths of the history of oriental dance, a subject that’s filled many sites on the world wide web (see LINKS), but only to propose a guideline that provides some food for thought for those who are preparing to study this dance taken by a thousand doubts and contradictions.