belly dancebelly dance
- A dance probably of Middle Eastern origin, traditionally performed solo by a woman and characterized by sinuous hip and abdominal movements.
- A performance of this dance.
- belly dancer
(plural belly dances)
- A traditional form of dance from the Middle East, characterized by movements of the abdominal muscles.
A loan translation of French danse du ventre. First attested in English in the 1890s.
OED has as earliest attestation an explicit gloss of 1899, "The danse du ventre (literally, "belly-dance") is of Turkish origin" (in Bohemian Paris of to-day), but there are slightly earlier occurrences, in In the land of the lion and sun; or, Modern Persia (1891) of Persian dance; in Frank Leslie's popular monthly (vol. 36, 1893) "These women dance, not with their feet and arms but with their stomach. Hence their abdominal contortions are styled the 'belly dance.'"; and in Untrodden fields of anthropology (1898) in reference to African (Wolof and Landoma (Baga)) dance.
- attributive form of belly dance, noun.
- belly-dance expert
- Although the use of coins as fabric accessories is a part of traditional belly dance, it is a mistake to associate belly-dance costume with women's traditional gypsy costume.