Raqs sharqi, or "dance of the east," is also known as belly dance here in these United States. Far from the toned-down strip tease that Hollywood would have us believe it is, raqs sharqi actually originated in all-female settings, probably as a birthing ritual. It is quite varied in its forms, and exists in North Africa from Morocco through Egypt up into Turkey, as well as parts of Spain. In the United States, there are two basic forms: cabaret and tribal fusion. It is a wonderfully feminine dance and a great workout to boot.

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