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American Tribal Style 

see ATS


American Tribal Style (sometimes called FCBD) – is a belly dance fusion style created by Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman (see the website)


"of my community". When applied to dance and local dance. Used by belly dancers to label dance which is social or is stage dance is the older style; usually fully covered, to non-westernized music, and uses older movement vocabulary. 
More in the video: What is Beledi?


initially used by Tribal dancers to distinguish their dance from that of the more traditional dance performed in clubs and restaurants. Problematic as not all non-Tribal falls into this category and the word implies a dive in Europe and Egypt.

Danse du ventre

French phrase meaning "dance of the belly". Initially applied to the Ouled Nail in Algeria but eventually used for all Middle Eastern and North African dance women's solo dance.

More in the video: Danse du Ventre – and other names for Belly Dance

Danse Orientale

French translation of the Arabic "raqs sharqi". This term was not in use under the 20th century. This is the style of professional dancers on stage ie not folkloric or social dance. It is usually performed in a glamourous costume, to sophisticated music, using controlled and studied movements.

More in the video: What's "Oriental Dance"?


heavy (low) beat of the rhythm; played in the centre of a tabla or on the edge of a rik. For example a masmoudi is dom dom dom tek dom tek tek


Pretend "folklore" with no connection to reality. See Folkloric


"Fat Chance Belly Dance" troupe created by Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman. See ATS

Folk style

In the style of ordinary folk. Folk dance is specific to a point in time and space

Examples include Beduoin, Debke, Fellahi, Khaleegi, Raqs al Juzur, and Sa`iidi. In each case each village would have their own substyles of the dance.

See Folkloric


Folk dance adapted to the stage – for instance by adapting costumes and reducing repetition in the steps, and adding staging. However, the essence of the dance should remain and be recognizable with matching music, movements, and costuming.

Global Caravan Dance - formerly known as Gypsy Caravan 

A form of Group Improvisational dance created by Paulette Rees Denis - view website

Group Improvisational Belly Dance Style or Group Improv. 

Refer to ATS FCBD Global Caravan


the practice of moving one body part while either keeping the rest still or doing something else (the latter is "layering")


doing multiple movements at the same time often to different rhythms or instruments. For example stepping on the underlying beat while accenting the doms with the hips and flowing with the arms to the ney.


Middle Eastern Dance.

See the videos Where is the "Middle East" exactly? and Is "Belly Dance" the same as "Middle Eastern Dance"? 


Middle Eastern and North African Dance. "North Africa" is Egypt, Libya, Algeria, and Morocco. (Egypt is in both the Middle East and North Africa)


The Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. (Nearly all definitions include Turkey already in the Middle East)

Menat is also another name for the Goddess Hathor.


Middle Eastern, North African, Hellenic (ie Greek), and Turkish


Arabic flute

Nightclub style

Professional stage version of belly dance. Used in contrast to styles such as folkloric, tribal, or social. See Danse Orientale

Oriental Dance

English translation of the French Danse Orientale.

More in the video: What's "Oriental Dance"?


term used by professional dancers in Egypt to refer to non-folkloric dance. See Danse Orientale.

More in the video: What's "Oriental Dance"?

Raks sharki

incorrect transliteration of raqs sharqi (for why this is incorrect see the video "Raqs" or "Raks"?)

Raqs Sharqi

style of nightclub dance born in the 1920s in Cairo based on the existing professional and social dance but adapted to stage and Europhile audiences. The Arabic literally translates to "Eastern Dance" - but this is not east of Cairo but rather east of Europe.

More in the video: Is the term "Belly Dance" the same as "Raqs Sharqi"?


smooth, driven movement in double time (not just random shaking). Most commonly done with the hips or shoulders.


Adapting the dance to work well on staging with movement patterns, shapes, and the physical orientation of the dancers.


strong high pitched beat of the rhythm; played in the edge of a tabla or on the centre of a rik. See Dom

Tribal - referred to on this site as Group Improv.

initially used for pseudo folkloric fusion styles in the USA. Then became associated primarily with FCBD and ATS and its later offshoots. These days used as a catch all for anything that is not traditional belly dance - even when there is no actual belly dance involved.


a wordless sound signifying joy


smooth movement between joints. Commonly done with the spine either forwards and backwards or sideways. Arm undulations are also possible.


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