Bellydance Terminology (in Egyptian Arabic)

Bellydance has had a long struggle finding its legitimacy around the world as an actual art form. One of the main issues is the lack of real terminology. There are several different styles and each teacher uses their own vocabulary- making it very difficult for your skills to be applied for different teachers/locations. I have been working on a project to solve this issue.

Ballet has been very prominently recognized as a classic dance art. One of the reasons it is so highly thought of is its universal vocabulary (in French) that each dancer must learn that is associated with a certain movement. For example, any ballerina knows what a plié is and the technique associated with it. Dancers from any part of the world can teach/be taught using this same vocabulary.

So why wouldn’t bellydancers use Arabic terminology for a Middle Eastern dance style? It doesn’t make sense! I have worked with Michael Ghobrial (of the popular mahraganat group Tamer w Michael) to come up with Egyptian Arabic vocabulary that can be used regardless of the region or instructor you first learned from. Please feel free to use these in your own classes. I would love to hear feedback! I attached a chart with list of movements as well as flashcards you can print (double-sided) to teach with or just to practice. Good luck!

Movement (English) Movement (Egyptian Arabic)
Chest circle Dayrit el sidr
Hip circle Dayrit el wist
Snake arms Eid el taaban
Snake arms (one side) Eid el taaban nahya wahdah
Hip lift Airfaa el wist
Hip drop Nazil el wist
Chest lift Airfaa el sidr
Chest drop Nazil el sidr
Head slide Zahlaa el ras
Hip slide Zahlaa el wist
Chest slide Zahlaa el sidr
Maya (wave of the sea) Mogit el ba7r
Reverse maya (wave in reverse) Aaks el mog
Camel Gamel
Undulation/stomach roll Lafit el btn
Shimmy Hiz
Shoulder shimmy Hiz el keytaf
Shoulder roll Lafit el keytaf
Big hip circle Dayrit wist kbira
Hand undulation Hazit el eid
Flutter (shake) El hazaz
Floreos (magic) Shawaza
Spot turn (3-point turn) Lif fi mkanak
Hip twist front Lif wist odam
Hip twist sides Lif wist gnab
Hip drop kick Nazlit el wist
Egyptian walk El mashya el masrya
Hagalla Hagalla
Jewel Gawhara
Figure 8 Tamanya
Hair flip Albit el shaar



Part of Body:

Arms- eid

Hip- wist

Chest- sidr

Head- ras

Shoulders- keytaf

Hair- shaar





Circle- dayrit

Lift- airfaa

Drop- nazil

Shimmy- hiz

Roll- lafit

Slide- zahlaa

Twist- lif

Flip- albit

Reverse- aaks

Bellydance Egyptian Flash cards

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