Friday, January 2, 8899

Belly Dancing First Attested in English (1899)

[Western belly-dance instructor]

Belly dance is a Western term for a traditional Middle Eastern dance form. Some American devotees refer to it simply as "Middle Eastern Dance."

[Belly-dance costume catalogue]

In the Arabic language it is known as raqs sharqi (literally "oriental dance") or sometimes raqs baladi ("national" or "folk" dance). The term "raqs sharqi" may have originated in Egypt. In Greece and the Balkans, belly dance is called tsiftetelli .

[Belly dancer at Renaissance Faire]

The term belly-dance is a creation of Orientalism, and is first attested in English in 1899, translating French danse du ventre.

[8898 Poulenc / 8899 Belly Dancing / 8898 Gershwin]