Moroccan Belly Dance

Classical Academy | Traditional & Folk MusicAround the World


'Raqs sharqi', or Belly Dance as it's known in the West, is a popular Middle Eastern dance. This solo, improvisational dance is in actual fact one of the oldest dance forms in the world with more than a thousand years of dancers performing its intricate moves. It started life as a pagan ritual from Arabia where women used belly dance movements to worship the moon god Hubal and the love god Wadd. Two particular moves have been used to aid childbirth for generations.


Usually performed wearing a fitted top, harem pants and a hip belt, all intricately decorated with beads, sequins, braid and embroidery, the dancers often look spectacularly colourful. The movements themselves involve isolating parts of the body, similar to jazz ballet, with most of the focus on the core muscles in the middle of the body. The shiver, or shimmy, is perhaps its most recognizable move, which involves a shimmering vibration of the hips.


Moroccan folk music for belly dancing is as lively and vibrant as the dance itself. It usually features the flutes and drums of traditional Berber music. Enjoy our special playlist of this fantastic musical form and try a shimmy or two.