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The Art of Raqs Sharqi (Belly Dance)

Raqs Sharqi is Arabic for “Dance of the East” or “Oriental Dance” - a beautiful, feminine dance from the Middle East. Its movements are thousands of years old and based on traditional folk dances from the “Silk Road” - Persia, India, the Middle East and North Africa. Traditionally it was performed in the home by women for women at their women-only parties. Today, it has moved to the stage for public entertainment, though it can still be found in its traditional setting of the home.

Benefits of the dance include:

  • Acceptance of all body types

  • Building a positive body image

  • Improving posture and flexibility

  • Increased overall physical strength

  • Providing low impact cardio workout

  • Stress release

  • Increased self confidence

  • Rediscovery of sensuality

  • Connection with other women

  • Expressing creativity

  • Partaking of a  joyous form of self-expression

Articles about the dance and music...

For Beginner Students:


Belly Dance:


Arabic Music:

  • An Introduction to Arabic Music: ...Simon Shaheen, a contemporary virtuoso on the violin and oud, tells first time listeners to “Think with your voice when you listen to Arab music. It has a linear quality like the voice...

  • Music FAQ: Maqams, rhythms, instruments...

Suggested Resources for Students

Cassandra's Conditioning Class - Two DVD set, 85 minutes, includes shipping $45

Strengthening, Conditioning and Body Awareness for the Dancer

This set is an introduction to Cassandra's unique dance conditioning class. It is designed to introduce the dancer to a proven method of improving technique, and through better dance conditioning, improved performance skills.

American Dancer, Volume I - DVD, includes shipping $40

An Introduction to Bellydancing

The video starts with a 12 minute stage performance by Cassandra followed by 48 minutes of Cassandra teaching the basic movement vocabulary. Cassandra focuses on clearly showing how the movements are done so you can start to learn to belly dance.

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