The term "belly dance" was coined by the American event promoter Sol Bloom, when he was trying to stir up public interest in seeing the Streets Of Cairo exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. The original name for belly dancing is probably closer to Oriental Dance. The Arabic name for it is raqs sharqi, which means "dance of the East or Orient", and the Turkish name is Oryantal.
The dance is very feminine and sexual. Hip shimmies and rotations, rolling shoulders, graceful arm movements, and isolated muscle movements that emphasize the female anatomy and muscle structure are incorporated into a story telling dance that can be extremely beautiful and moving. Most professional belly dancers wear filmy garments and use scarves and hand cymbals to accentuate the movements and add beauty and grace to the dance.
I saw my first performance in Fells Point
in Baltimore, MD over 20 years ago in a Greek bar. Families would go to the bar, along with many sailors, to eat, drink ouzo
and watch belly dancing. The dancer was mesmerizing. Her every movement was graceful and serene. She captivated the entire audience for 45 minutes.