Native Arabic Speakers - what do you call "Belly Dancing"

I see this statement come up periodically in belly dancing discussions - “They don’t call it belly dancing, they call it raqs sharqi”. Which I believe is meant to mean “Eastern Dance”. But that doesn’t make sense to me, why would they call it “Eastern” dance? I don’t say “Texas chili”, I call it chili; Canadians don’t call it “Canadian bacon”, they call it bacon, or back bacon.

So can you tell me what you call the kind of dancing I would call belly dancing?

Maybe they do call it “Eastern dancing”, and associate it with lands further east than Arabia.

I thought belly dancing was more of an Indian thing, rather than Middle Eastern.

OP: are you serious about the comparison to Canadian bacon? You know people in other places have a different frame of reference for directions, right? It probably stems from the link between the Dom peoples of Indo-Iranian area and their Ghawazi dances, and modern bellydancing.

Also … the OP seems to assume that belly dancing is the Arab world’s default dance, so that the unadorned Arab word for “dance” should mean *exactly * “belly dancing”. I wouldn’t expect that to necessarily be the case for Arab culture any more than it is for any Western culture.

Different frames of reference is exactly what I was trying to communicate with my comparison to Canadian bacon. And it certainly could be called eastern dance in the Middle East, and if someone responds who can say “I was born and raised in X country and we called it that”, I’m not going to doubt them.

What I’m assuming, though, is that the people who I’ve heard call it Raqs Sharqi are not people I can trust to have done their homework. I’ve only heard this from people who - from what I can tell - grew up in the U.S. and are native English speakers.

I don’t assume it’s the default dance, either, bordelond, which is why I asked what a native Arabic speaker would call it. Why would I even bother asking this question if I thought it was the only dance style they had?

Wikipedia translates it to “raqs sharqi” or

رقص شرقي

That in Google translate goes back to “belly dance,” although Wikipedia does say it means “Eastern dance,” yes. In Turkish it’s “Oryantal Dansi,” which is easier to translate, or “Dansöz.” Some don’t trust Wikipedia, but it’s easy to see when your translation is accurate when you use dilligence and use multiple sources. I guess the main way it could go wrong is if raqs sharqi is the “official” name, but nobody uses that. Like if you want to find out how to say “soda” (or “pop” for some of you…) in Lithuanian. And then it’s possible that you found the translation of “soft drink,” i.e. a very clinical term, instead.

There is also “Persian dancing,” but I don’t know the link. There is a good portion of the Middle East to the east of Egypt, so it’s not completely left field to refer to it as eastern.

borderlond’s problem wasn’t so much with your questions as with your examples. The examples you give are all of things that are known as “[location adjective] noun” outside that location but as “noun” in that location.

Yes it is called Raqs Sharqi, and that means eastern dance. Although westerns think of this belly dancing as Arab, it is foreign actually and not native. Native local style we call other names, like Raqs Beledi, which means country or local dance. Where it comes from is not clear. Perhaps from Hindu influences via the Ottomans since it seems to be found where Ottoman centres of power were. What you think of Arab belly dancing is more an invention of Cairo cabarets of 20th century it seems.

Where are you from, Ramira?

Where are you from? You doubt? Itqalibi 3la lmdou3ah.

I didn’t infer doubt from the question, just interest/curiosity.

I do not care. My background is with Sahelien and maghrebiine roots but saying this has no value. It is sterile, to ask these qestions. He can of course google the information and there is no reason to doubt this at all.

I think, perhaps, the poster just wanted to know what country you’re from. That’s all.

This. I didn’t see it as a challenge to your veracity, just an interested inquiry.

I’m puzzled by the defensive hostility of your reply. Not asking you to explain, just noting how it struck me.

Peace out.

Apparently Google has gotten good enough at translation to recognize some phrases and translate them as a unit. If you just take the second word, though (that is, the one on the left), and put that into Google Translate, it comes back as “East”.

My wife is Egyptian and the Egyptians call it “Oriental dancing” when they speak English. I do not know the Arabic phrase that they use for that sense. Sometimes they also call it raqs baladi, or “country dance” (in the same sense that we say “country music” in the U.S.). As **Ramira **says, the implication is that the origin of this style of dance is east of the Arab world. I do not know the actual origins and so the phrase could either be accurate or it could be that it is an affectation to make it seem more exotic.

IME it’s very popular in Egypt; weddings usually feature a belly dancer. However, the style is sometimes corrupted a bit in touristy spots to pander to Western expectations. Boorish Americans will often view a belly dancer on the same level as a stripper, but the true dance is quite an art form.