History of belly dancing

Gawahzi BellydanceDiscount.com

BellydanceDiscount.com tells you the story of belly dancing.

Origins of belly dancing

Even if the link is unconfirmed, this dance goes back to ancient times. Therefore, you can find in cave paintings representations of dance for ceremonies around female fertility dating back 5,000 years and that strongly reminds of the pelvic movements currently practiced by belly dancers. But with the emergence of Christianity, these pagan rites have slowly disappeared from society.

Belly dance in the time of the Gawahzis and Almees

Two main categories of Egyptian dancers will develop over the years: the Gawahzis and the Almees.

The Gawahzis come from ethnic Doms who are Egyptian Roma. They are belly dancers that mainly perform in the street, but also at parties, except those organised by "good families". They wear richly decorated costumes, without a veil, with henna tattoos on their hands and feet as ornament and kohl around their eyes. They were regarded as prostitutes and banned in 1830. 

The Almees had a very important role in the Ottoman world. What was their role? They were storytellers, singers, musicians and of course dancers at high-society banquets. But they never performed in front of men. Moreover, in the harems in addition of entertaining the women, they educated them in the cosmetic arts and taught them weaving and embroidery.

Today’s belly dance

In 1926, Badia Massabni created the belly dancing that we know today by popularizing the dance in her cabarets in Egypt. For this, she took the movements of classical dance and made the most spectacular dance costumes and decor.
Today, belly dancing is constantly evolving and increasingly becoming popular with the introduction of new types of dances that come from fusion, such as tribal and Bellywood.