Belly dance or bellydance is a Western-coined name for solo, improvised dances based on torso articulation. Belly dance takes many different forms depending on the country and region, both in costume and dance style, and new styles have evolved in the West as its popularity has spread globally.
The term belly dance is a translation of the French term “danse du ventre“, which was applied to the dance in the Victorian era, and originally referred to the Ouled Nail dancers of Algeria, whose dance used more abdominal movements than the dances described today as belly dance. It is something of a misnomer, as every part of the body is involved in the dance; the most featured body part is usually the hips.
Belly dance is primarily a torso-driven dance, with an emphasis on articulations of the hips.Unlike many Western dance forms, the focus of the dance is on relaxed, natural isolations of the torso muscles, rather than on movements of the limbs through space. Although some of these isolations appear superficially similar to the isolations used in jazz ballet, they are often driven differently and have a different feeling or emphasis, which is usually more subtle and contained.