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About the dance

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What is belly dance?

Belly dance, also known as Raq Sharqi 'Dance of the Orient', has Middle Eastern roots. The styles and costumes of belly dance vary from place to place within the Middle East and across the world.

In more recent years, new forms of belly dance have evolved in the West. Although they differ in style and costuming, they continue to share most of the original characteristics that help distinguish belly dance from other dance forms. Isolations, execution of individual or layered movements, shimmies, undulations, and snake arms are among the most recognizable belly dance moves.

These new styles–Cabaret, ATS (American Tribal Style) and Tribal Fusion–have become popular on a worldwide scale.

The styles of belly dance

Cabaret is the westernized version of this Middle Eastern dance art form and finds its origins in the film industry. It often blends and incorporates moves from various parts of the Middle East into the same dance (e.g., Egyptian and Turkish). This style has other influences such as jazz and ballet. Costumes are typically very glitzy and decorated with Swarovski crystals, glass beads and shiny sequins.

American Tribal Style Belly Dance (ATS) is a newer style of belly dance created by Carolena Nericcio. ATS is clearly defined and generally performed in a group, the primary characteristic being that of group improvisation. The style is also characterized by costumes derived from many "folkloric" and various traditional tribal costuming resources.

Lastly, Tribal Fusion is a form of belly dance that began in America in 2000. Performed to non-traditional music, this style stems from ATS and was largely popularized by Rachel Brice. Popping and locking are typical moves incorporated into this style.

The Shimmy Mob choreographers

Shimmy Mob has been blessed with choreograhies devised by some of the premier belly dancers in the world. Here is the list of past winners and contributors:


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