Belly Dancing in Istanbul

by Paul J Eastwood

Belly dancing in Istanbul is big business for the tourism market. The nightclubs of Istanbul offer belly dancing shows that are special for tourists to the country. It is not just meant for the tourists, however. Belly dancing has been a part of Istanbul’s culture and tradition for centuries. It has changed over time, but the dance that is seen today has its roots in culture and history of a rich and diverse country.

Belly dancing in Turkey has many characteristics that make it unique to this country. It started out as a dance that was meant for women to view. It has its roots in ancient fertility rituals. Women in Turkey danced for the benefit of other women.

The Costumes

The costume that is traditionally worn in Turkey has a long skirt with very high slits. The leg is shown off and emphasized in a Turkish belly dance routine. The belly dancers of other countries will typically perform their routines without shoes or anything on their feet, but in Turkey it is quite different. Although some of the dancers wear a slipper for their dance routines, many women wear high heels and platform style shoes.

A Turkish belly dancer will often play finger symbols while they are performing their dance routine. These tiny cymbals are called zils. It has been said that the skill of a dancer can be determined by her ability to dance and play these cymbals at the same time. It is not easy to play four cymbals and dance at the same time.

There are not as many restrictions on Turkish belly dancers as there are on Egyptian dancers. There are restrictions on the movements that the belly dancers in Egypt may perform. There are no such restrictions in Turkey and you will frequently see dancers using pelvic thrusts among other restricted moves. The dances of Turkey are very energetic and physically challenging while other countries use a more slow dance.

The Modern World

Belly dancing is an integral part of Turkish culture today. Weddings will often have a belly dancer perform at the celebration. Circumcision ceremonies are another venue for a belly dancer. There are a number of famous and celebrated belly dancers in Turkey. They appear on television and all over the country performing their art form.

Turkish and Egyptian belly dancing are dramatically different. When you get a chance to view a Turkish belly dancing performance you will be taken away by the show. It is a show that is based on flexibility, grace and great showmanship. It will be a fun time for everyone when you decide to take in a show. Be careful, when you view a show you might just want to learn this art form yourself.

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