About Oriental dance
Situated in Sydney’s Lower North Shore, NileStar Oriental specialises in Egyptian dance. In Egyptian Arabic the word for dance is Raqs, so the name for what we do is Raqs Sharqi ‘Dance for the Stage’ or Oriental dance. In our intermediate level class, we also explore other Egyptian dances that could be grouped under Raqs Shaabi ‘Dance of the people’.
By most accounts, Egyptian dance was first seen in the West at Chicago’s world fair in 1893. People had never seen dances where the pelvis and hips were used so ‘the belly dance’ was coined.
Nowadays the term ‘bellydance’ is widely used to refer to dances of (or inspired by) the Middle East whether theatrical or folkloric, or fusion. It is used to refer to dances from Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and the Gulf – a wide range of dance styles from a wide range of cultures. While in common use even among professionals and practitioners, ‘belly dance’ is not, strictly speaking, the most accurate way to refer to dances of the Middle East.