Styles Of Belly Dance

In The United States, Part 1

by Shira

This article has been split into 3 parts to make it easier to read online.

Art evolves. The heart of the artistic spirit is personal creativity, and the essence of creativity is to create--new ideas, new artistic works, new ways of presenting classic material, and evolution of new forms. Dance, of course, is an art form, so dance too evolves. In the United States, where Middle Eastern dance was first embraced by the masses in the 1960's, many creative minds have flown free with ideas on how to make this ancient dance form their own. Over the ensuing decades, "Middle Eastern" dance in the United States isn't always "Middle Eastern" any more, and the term "belly dance" has gained popularity as a way of describing our modern implementation in our country of this beautiful dance inspired by the East.

In this document, I hope to help individuals who are new to Middle Eastern dance begin to recognize and identify the various widely-used forms it takes in our country when they attend festivals and other events that showcase a broad spectrum of styles. We do have many artists who are faithful to the Middle Eastern styles, but new styles have emerged which are distinctly American.

There are several different styles of belly dancing that are popular in the United States today. The most common are:

  • American Restaurant
  • Egyptian Oriental
  • U.S. Tribal

Others exist, such as portrayal of authentic dances from specific ethnic groups, Egyptian "folk troupe" in the style pioneered by Mahmoud Reda, and modern Lebanese nightclub, but for purposes of this document I'm focusing only on the above three, the ones most commonly performed in the United States. Before you go on, please consider the following disclaimers!!!!

  • I acknowledge that this discussion does not encompass all forms of "belly dancing" done in the United States.
  • Various regions of the United States will almost certainly have their own local adaptations, which may be different from what I have described.
  • I've described the various styles in terms of generalities. Obviously, individual exceptions to my generalities will exist, and I acknowledge that.
  • Many, many dancers don't fit cleanly into one of my categories. They draw from multiple influences to create their own distinct look. For example, someone might blend Egyptian dance and jazz.
  • The words I write today will go out of date as dancers in all styles continue moving their artistic directions forward into new directions.

The Egyptian Oriental look described here is popular all over the world, since dancers from all parts of the world travel to Egypt and return home with new cassette tapes and CD's, new costumes, training from Egyptian teachers, and inspiration from the shows they have seen there. In addition, dancers worldwide have the opportunity to study videos of performances by top Egyptian dancers, and many popular Egyptian dancers travel around the world to teach their art. In some countries, there may be some American influence due to well-known American instructors who have traveled there and offered workshops, or due to dancers who have relocated there after living in the United States for some time. However, in this document I'm attempting only to describe belly dance styles as used in the United States.

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Overview & Historical Perspective

Getting Terminology Straight

First, what about the word cabaret? In North America, belly dancers have used the word cabaret since Jamila Salimpour coined this use of the term in the 1960's to describe the glittery sequinned look and dance style that I've referred to in this article as Restaurant. It is usually used in the context of "glittery with beads and sequins as opposed to not-glittery coins and tassels". So, if everyone else on my continent calls it cabaret, why don't I?

Quite simply, the word cabaret has a different connotation in North America from what it has in some other countries. People in North America associate the word cabaret with the music and dance revue form of entertainment depicted in the movie "Cabaret" starring Liza Minelli that became popular during the 1960's. However, when I went to Europe, I discovered that in some places the word cabaret referred to a place that featured sex videos and live strippers as entertainment. I have also learned that in the years leading up to World War II, the cabarets of Germany sometimes even featured live sex shows on stage. I do not choose to describe the style of dance that I do as being something suitable for a place that features live sex acts performed on stage, or even stripping. For that reason, I do not describe the style of belly dancing that is performed in a restaurant as cabaret dance--that would provide the wrong impression to my readers in Europe and other parts of the world.

Second, what about the word ethnic which Jamila Salimpour used to mean "not beads and sequins"? This word, too, has been misused by many people in North America following her example. Many toss it around to mean "anything that involves using coins instead of sequins, tassels instead of beaded fringe, covered belly instead of bare midriff, acoustic instruments instead of electronic."

Many costume accessories that people claim to be "ethnic" such as coin-covered bras are most certainly not representative of what the rural people in the Middle East wore 100 or more years ago. There was a time when the word ethnic legitimately was used only to mean the historical garb, music, and dance forms of a specific geographic region, but thanks to Jamila, this is no longer true. Therefore, rather than use a word whose meaning has become muddled with erroneous use, I have opted to instead use the term U.S. Tribal. "Tribal" is another widely-used name for the melting pot "inspired by some ethnic elements but thoroughly modern in execution" style of costumes, music, and dance.

Finally, in this article I use the word "style" to refer to a philosophy of choice of music, stage personality, musical interpretation, style of costume, and choice of props. In all cases, most of the actual dance movements are really the same. A hip drop is a hip drop, regardless of whether you are doing it to New Age music, a classical Egyptian song by Mohammed Abdel Wahab, or an improvised mizmar solo. Admittedly, the flavor of the hip drop many vary according to the music - it may be light and delicate if the music feels light and delicate, or large and powerful if the music feels large and powerful. Certain moves do exist that are particular to one style versus another, but these are the minority of the overall dance vocabulary.

So, in truth, all of these styles I've described are actually variations of a larger dance form. In Turkey, this dance form is called Oriyantal Dans or Oriyantal Dansi. In Arabic-speaking countries, it is called Raqs Sharqi (sometimes spelled Raks Sharki). All of these names, both Turkish and Arabic, mean "dance of the East", or "dance of the Orient", so many of our American dance scholars today prefer the linguistically-correct term Oriental dance. The music, props, and styling may all lend different looks and moods to a performance, but underneath it all, it's still Oriental dance or belly dance, whichever name you prefer to use for it.

American Restaurant

American Restaurant style, generally speaking, is intended for performing in a show-business venue, such as a restaurant, nightclub, bellygram, birthday party, corporate function, etc. The look is often very glamorous, with sequins, beads, and glittery fabrics, but sometimes dancers who do this style select a more earthy look such as a coin bra/belt set teamed with a skirt made of natural fibers. This style is a combination, influenced by dances in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Armenia, North Africa, Persia, other Middle Eastern countries, and Hollywood, and leaves great freedom for personal creativity within a show business framework. It also incorporates many innovations that were created in the U.S., such as veil work and sword balancing. Most dancers of this style incorporate audience interaction and other "show-biz" approaches into their acts to grab and hold the attention of an audience that expects entertainment to be flashy.

When people in North America refer to cabaret in the context of belly dancing, what they usually mean is what I call the American Restaurant style performed in a setting that is typically suitable for the whole family such as a family-oriented restaurant, birthday party in someone's home, or outdoor festival. As noted above, this is quite different from the connotations the word cabaret has in some other parts of the world!

In the 1950's and 1960's, Middle Eastern restaurants and nightclubs flourished in the U.S., and they sought to feature entertainment consistent with their themes. The number of such establishments exceeded the number of qualified immigrant entertainers capable of performing ethnically-pure shows, so musical ensembles frequently included a mixture of musicians from various places: Armenia, Lebanon, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, etc. These musicians worked together to play sets that included songs from throughout the regions they represented. American musicians learned the instruments and the songs and played at their sides. Similarly, there weren't enough immigrant dancers to cover every establishment that wanted to feature entertainers, so dancers of other disciplines such as flamenco were recruited, and copied the immigrants to the best of their ability.

This was the era before VCR's existed, so American dancers didn't have the opportunity to study the techniques of Egyptian or Lebanese stars on home video. Dance knowledge was spread mostly by watching and copying other dancers. At this time, overseas travel was still difficult and expensive. A small number of dedicated artists such as Morocco traveled to the Middle East and North Africa to study the dance in its native environment, and shared what they learned in the form of seminars and classes.

This environment led to creation of a dance form that combined bits and pieces from multiple cultures: a few moves learned from Armenian and Turkish immigrants, a few moves learned by watching old Egyptian musicals on film, a bit of knowledge gained from dancers who had traveled abroad to study how the dance was done on its native soil, a few steps from other dance forms such as flamenco, a bit of Vaudeville show-biz attitude, and a hefty dose of creativity. The notion of the U.S. as melting pot has applied to dance just as it has to other aspects of culture, leading to the rise of a dance form that is solidly rooted in the Oriental dance of the Mediterranean region as it was done in the mid-20th century, but with a distinctly New World flavor.

American audiences tend to seek drama and humor in their dance performances. They don't understand the Arabic or Turkish song lyrics, so they wouldn't be able to understand any emotional interpretations offered by dancers. American-style shows frequently involve silly shtick, such as the dancer grabbing audience members to get up and dance with her, placing her veil or a silly turban on a man's head, or leading a simple line dance of audience members through the room. Americans also tend to be very prop-oriented, doing veil work and balancing various types of objects such a swords. This helps hold the attention span of a culture that has been taught by its Top 40 radio format and the frequent commercial interruptions of its television shows interrupted by commercial to have an attention span of no more than 4-5 minutes of one thing at a time.

U.S. Tribal

U.S. Tribal style is performed by people who prefer a less glitzy look and style. However, while "Historical/Ethnic" dancers attempt to preserve a folk form by performing dance steps, music, and clothing that would have all been used together in a traditional village dance by a particular ethnic group, U.S. Tribal takes a different approach. In U.S. Tribal, the performers combine dance movements, musical selections, and costuming from a variety of cultures and historical eras, add their own modern-day innovations, and present a made-in-the-U.S. original creation. The way I use the term in this article, U.S. Tribal includes not only the popular American Tribal Style (ATS) of belly dance, but also other interpretations of the Tribal idea.

U.S. Tribal offers dancers the freedom to employ their own creativity and create their own dance, costuming look, etc. within a loosely-defined framework that offers an alternative to the "glamorous" image conveyed by beads and sequins. Some try to convey a "woman-power" attitude, while others try to convey the mood/flavor of a village as imagined by American dancers. Some interpret the dance against the backdrop of popular cultural phenomena such as Goth, or bring in other disciplines such as yoga. U.S. Tribal combines influence from dances in Turkey, Egypt, North Africa, Persia, and other Middle Eastern countries, and leaves great freedom for personal creativity within a folkloric framework. The exact implementation of U.S. Tribal varies from one teacher or group to another, and that's okay--it's an EVOLVING art form that people are making up as we go along. The leading subsets of U.S. Tribal that I've noticed include: 1) American Tribal Style, 2) Evoking the flavor of the past, and 3) Current cultural trends.

Photograph of Bal-Anat, taken at 1990 reunion show. Bal-Anat is the troupe who originated the American tribal style, in the 1970's.

The U.S. Tribal style originated with Jamila Salimpour in San Francisco, California, in the 1960's, with her dance company, Bal-Anat. In performing at the Renaissance Faire in the area, the group created a performance that was a fusion of ethnic influence and modern-day creativity, presented with a quasi-historical flavor. As Jamila's students eventually moved away from San Francisco, they took their dance form with them, and taught it in their new communities. PHOTO CREDIT: The above photo of Bal-Anat was made available to me for my web page by Bàraka, herself a former member of the troupe. This picture was taken in 1990 in Texas for the Bal Anat reunion show. Standing, from left to right, are: Sharifa, Aida al Adawi, Asia, Don Iocca, Bàraka, Rashid, Suhaila Salimpour, Mari, Kismet (jug on her head), Rebaba, Paula Oxman, and Annie Lippe. Seated, from left to right, are: John Compton, Mish Mish, Jamila Salimpour, Habibi (hidden), and Dariush (R.I.P.)

One of Jamila Salimpour's students, Masha Archer, was the teacher who later inspired Carolena Nericcio to create FatChanceBellyDance, which is based in San Francisco, California. Most people today associate U.S. Tribal with Carolena's own particular variation of the Tribal form, known as American Tribal Style (ATS), due partly to Carolena's own skilled marketing of her vision, and also to Kajira Djoumahna's book The Tribal Bible which describes ATS in detail. However, it's important to remember that Bal-Anat originated the "tribal" concept in the 1960's, and FatChance didn't become well-known until the late 1980's. In the interim years, people inspired by the original Bal-Anat created their own U.S. Tribal variations that were independent of the "American Tribal Style" that FatChance later promoted. There's no denying that American Tribal Style is today probably the best known of the branches on the U.S. Tribal family tree, but it's not the only one.

True to Bal Anat's San Francisco origins in the 1960's, the original "California Tribal" style particularly flourished among the counter-culture of its time. The uninhibited moves of belly dance with the earthy costuming approach of coins, tassels, and natural fibers attracted environmentalists, Pagans, hippies, herbalists, proponents of natural childbirth, gay community, feminists, free-spirited artists, and others whose lifestyles and artistic visions differed from those of the establishment. In these diverse forms, the counter-culture of the past has grown to become an alternative mainstream path today rather than a minority movement. Tribal offers an interesting option for people who want to explore belly dance, but don't care to go for the Hollywood-glamor look of sequins or don't wish to acquire the cultural knowledge needed to do ethnically-correct folk dances.

Continuing the counter-culture theme, as the 1980's progressed the Tribal style attracted the early adopters of tattoos, piercing, and henna decorations, before these trends attained the mainstream popularity they hold today. In the 1990's, a movement arose within the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) to develop Middle Eastern personae, offering another breeding ground for Tribal to flourish. Over time, some SCA-dians have moved from Tribal to ethnic/historical garb and folk dances, but some SCA communities still stay with Tribal. As of 2005, some Tribal dancers still embrace the original Bal Anat approach of offering a folk-inspired fusion of dance. Others, whom I call "Artistic Experimentation Tribal" frequently incorporate whatever "cool culture" trends such as Goth, yoga, tattooing, piercing, dreadlocked hair, etc. may currently be in vogue. Some practitioners of the U.S. Tribal belly dance community welcome the broad range of these many approaches, while others prefer to stay true to the Bal Anat or FatChance implementations.

For this article, I use the term U.S. Tribal to encompass all the variations which descended from Bal-Anat's original vision and flourished in the alternative-culture environments as they evolved through the decades that followed. While American Restaurant dancers build their art on a mixture of the glitter found in Middle Eastern nightclubs and Vaudeville entertainer traditions of comedy and showmanship, Tribal dancers are more likely to follow more earthy fusion or artistically experimental directions.

Due to its San Francisco roots, the U.S. Tribal style of belly dance has the strongest penetration on the West Coast of the United States today, but it now flourishes throughout the United States, Canada, and anywhere else that its practitioners have gone to conduct workshops and share their art. Tribes have sprung up in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and other places.

Egyptian Oriental

As I noted above, the term Oriental comes from the Arabic term raqs sharqi which means "dance of the East" or "dance of the Orient", the Arabic name for what Americans call belly dance. For purposes of this article, I'll use the term Egyptian Oriental to refer specifically to Egyptian style dance, as I compare and contrast it to the New World forms of American Restaurant and U.S. Tribal. However, in all fairness it's important to note that to an Arab it would be just as correct to use the term Oriental to refer to the flavor of this dance as done in Lebanon, Morocco, or anywhere else.

American dancers who perform Egyptian Oriental style are attempting to emulate the style of dancing seen in the nightclubs in Cairo. These dancers have worked hard to familiarize themselves with Egyptian music and study how Egyptian dancers interpret it.

Like American Restaurant, this is very much a show business style, with the dancer covered in beads, sequins, and paillettes. Because the American dancer doing Egyptian Oriental is attempting to dance in the same style as a very specific group of people, she uses her personal creativity to explore the types of music, costuming, and dance style employed by that group of people.

In this elegant photo, Morocco is wearing an Egyptian bedleh (costume) made by the famous Egyptian costume maker, Madame Abla. Morocco is a well known performer, instructor, and dance researcher based in New York City. She is highly respected by leaders of the Egyptian dance community. Photo used with permission.

Photograph Of Morocco

In the mid-20th century, Hollywood was producing movie musicals featuring dance production numbers by such stars as Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Esther Williams, and others. In parallel, a vibrant film industry arose in Egypt producing musicals based on music and dance styles native to Egypt. Just as Hollywood movies influenced culture throughout the English-speaking world, so the Egyptian movies influenced culture throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Egyptian dance stars such as Samia Gamal, Tahia Carioca, and Naima Akef set a new standard for Oriental dance as a performing art.

At the same time, the Egyptian music industry was undergoing a 20th-century transformation of its own, and a form of music known as Egyptian classical music was born. Featuring composers such as Baligh Hamdi, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim Hafez, and others, this orchestral music took on a level of complexity similar to the symphonic music of Europe, but still distinctly Egyptian in flavor.

It was only natural that the music of Egypt's popular composers would be used by its leading dancers in their performances, so Egyptian dance rapidly evolved from its folkloric roots into a complex, subtle form that matched the intricacy of the classical music.

From about 1950 through 1980, Egyptian and American dance styles moved in divergent directions, each drawing on different influences as it evolved. Although there were some U.S. leaders in the field who traveled to Egypt regularly through this period and taught their students what they had learned, many other American dancers continued experimenting with their own ideas, without pursuing continuing education from the dance's homeland.

Beginning in the later 1970's, however, the Egyptian style of dance began to gain increasing visibility in the U.S. There were several reasons for this.

  • One major influence was the growth in international travel. Airplane flights abroad became more plentiful and affordable, making travel to Egypt more accessible to the American dance community.
  • Arab communities began to demand dancers who understood their cultural art form, and jobs went to the dancers with the skills to deliver.
  • Tour organizers such as Morocco and Turquoise International began leading tours for dancers to Egypt which included not only the usual tourist attractions but also dance-centered activities such as costume shopping and show attendance. These dancer-oriented tours made it easy for "dance tourists" to see Egyptian dance in its native environment.
  • In the 1980's, high-quality dance flourished in Cairo. Famous dancers such as Nagwa Fouad, Soheir Zaki, and others headlined at the five-star nightclubs. It was easy to plan a Cairo vacation around several opportunities to see an assortment of top dancers.
  • The VCR was invented in 1971, and the camcorder was invented in 1982. Dancers took their Super 8 film cameras and their bulky new camcorders with them on their travels, and soon a cottage industry arose around selling videos of the shows people had filmed there. The proliferation of home video made it easier for all U.S. dancers, even those who couldn't afford to travel, to see what the dance style of the Egyptian stars of the 1980's looked like. People were able to study these video performances and apply what they learned to their own personal dance styles.
  • Later in the 1980's and early 1990's, dancers such as Shareen el Safy and Sahra Kent who had done extensive stays as performers in Egypt returned to the U.S. and taught seminars focused on the Egyptian style.

The more aware American dancers became of the Egyptian dance stars, and the more Arab restaurants and families demanded Arab-style interpretations in the dancers they hired, the more popular the Egyptian interpretation of Oriental dance became with the American dance community. Even today, as Oriental dance wanes in its native Egypt, its popularity has continued to grow in the U.S. throughout the 1990's and early 21st century.

Egyptian dance includes several variations, including Oriental, genuine folk traditions (such as Ghawazee), and "folk troupe" (a fusion of folklore with ballet and other artistic influences under the leadership of visionaries such as Mahmoud Reda). For purposes of this article, I will focus only on Oriental because it has the strongest following in the U.S. However, I acknowledge that leading folk troupe dancers and choreographers have visited the U.S. on tour, and made their mark on the U.S. dance scene. Many dancers who embrace Egyptian-style Oriental also pursue education in the other Egyptian forms. I'm keeping my focus on Oriental simply to keep this article from becoming longer than it already is!

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Examples of Artists Using Each Style

These are some examples of well-known artists who dance in each of the styles I am discussing.

American Restaurant Style:

  • Anaheed
  • Suzanna Del Vecchio
  • Delilah (particularly her 1980's-era work)

U.S. Tribal

  • Inspired by Bal Anat
    • Awalim Dance Company, directed by Ziah Ali
    • The New Bal Anat, directed by Suhaila Salimpour
    • Hahbi 'Ru, directed by Rita Alderucci & John Compton. Hahbi 'Ru's style incorporates actual folk dances, such Lebanese debke and Turkish karsilama. For that reason, Hahbi 'Ru consider their style to be more folkloric than most Tribal dancers.
  • American Tribal Style
    • FatChanceBellyDance, directed by Carolena Nericcio. The founder of American Tribal Style.
    • Gypsy Caravan, directed by Paulette Rees-Denis. Another one of the early leaders in developing this style.
    • United We Dance, the troupe that used to be directed by Kajira Djoumahna before she moved from California to Hawaii.
  • Artistic Experimentation Tribal
    • Urban Tribal, directed by Heather Stants
    • Ultra Gypsy, directed by Jill Parker. No longer advertises themselves as Tribal style, now promotes themselves as belly dance theater.

Egyptian Oriental

  • Morocco
  • Zahra Zuhair
  • Shareen el-Safy
  • Sahra Kent
  • Sohaila

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Which is Best?

My own thought: each of us has individual needs, individual goals for what we hope to achieve with our dance. Some seek a bit of socializing with other women, some want a form of exercise, some crave the spotlight and the opportunities to be in it through performing, some feel a passion for connecting with another culture, some need a second income, and some just want to feel a little prettier or stronger in their identities as women. Some of these needs such as socializing can be met by all the styles I describe here, and a student will embrace the style of whatever teacher she can find who offers a classroom environment that meets those needs. Other needs will lead a student to a particular style. The style that is right for you will depend on what teacher choices are available in your community and wha

There is a faction among U.S. dancers that dismisses everything outside of Egyptian/Lebanese dance as "nonsense". This faction disapproves of American Restaurant style, U.S. Tribal style, and any other approach that doesn't stay close to how dancers in the Middle East present the art. These dancers don't understand why Americans think we need to "fix" Oriental dance by adding our own moves, props, music, show-biz stylizations, attitudes, and other elements to it. They feel that the original dance, as created in its countries of origin, is exciting and vibrant enough, without Americanized embellishments. For dancers who have an academic mind set, Egyptian is the logical choice because it combines study of a culture with study of how that culture shapes its performing art, and how changing economic and political landscapes force the dance to evolve.

To offer a different perspective, some of the dancers who embrace U.S. Tribal do so because some Tribal groups promote a culture of dancing for one's own pleasure, rather than dancing for an audience. These groups may be attractive to students who have no interest at all in ever performing but do enjoy dancing with others just for fun. They disparage the idea of "flirting with the audience" and instead prefer to use this dance form to explore their ideas of sisterhood with fellow dancers, celebrate "woman power", discover new meaning to their own femininity, explore experimental directions, or otherwise use the dance for a personal journey. Some people cannot accept the idea of themselves wearing beads and sequins, and feel much more comfortable in the Tribal garb of coins, mirrors, and tassels. Many don't care to learn anything about Middle Eastern music or cultural traditions - they're more interested in the culture that has risen up around their style.

In still another point of view, many dancers of the American Restaurant style find that the "generic American" audiences in their communities respond well to their American-style veil work, sword balancing, and other New World innovations, so they continue to offer what sells. They frequently dance for birthday parties and other festive occasions. Such dancers often see themselves primarily as entertainers.

Of course, every one of these styles has people who choose it for reasons entirely different from those I just described above. I'm just offering a sampling of some points of view I've heard expressed over the years. If you wonder why a particular dancer has chosen whatever style she prefers, don't assume one of the above to be true - ask her!

In this article, I won't try to pass judgment on which interpretation of this dance is "best". I admittedly have my own preference which is right for me, but the real question is, which music speaks to your heart? What kind of on-stage personality do you enjoy portraying? What kind of costume makes you feel wonderful when you wear it? What kinds of dance jobs do you hope to be hired for? Why do you dance, and what do you hope it will do for you? I encourage you to learn something about each of the styles, and then make a decision on which is best for you.

Maybe you'll find joy and satisfaction in exploring more than one style. Many dancers do. There's no law that says you must limit yourself to only one form of artistic expression. Different styles may offer different forms of satisfaction to different sides of your personality.

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Indulge Me, Please, For a Moment...

For the most part, in this article I'm trying to convey a tone of support and acceptance for all variations of this dance form that we see in the U.S. today. Even if you prefer one style over another, I encourage you to look for the positive aspects of the others.

Whatever style speaks to your heart, please try to appreciate performances by dancers who have chosen a different direction. It always saddens me to hear dancers of one style make disparaging remarks about a different style. Rather than letting our differences divide us, why not unite along the areas we have in common? Why not keep an open mind and try a workshop or a weekly class in a different style, just to learn appreciation for another point of view? Imagine what we could accomplish if we all worked together to elevate our dance form, rather than dismissing dancers of other styles as having nothing of value to offer us.

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Are You Ready for More Detail?

Now that I have offered some basic definitions and historical perspective, I invite you to explore these styles in more detail by proceeding on to Part 2 and Part 3 of this article.

Click here to go to Part 2 which compares and contrasts the various styles according to:

  • Troupe vs. solo presentations
  • Use of choreography versus improvisation
  • Structure of a dance performance
  • Use of a veil

Click here to go to Part 3 which compares and contrasts the various styles according to:

  • Use of finger cymbals
  • Types of music utilized
  • Types of dance moves
  • Costuming choices
  • Places where the dance is performed
  • Props
  • Brief tour of other dance styles seen in the U.S.

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