Belly Dancer

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Those hips don't lie!
"The philosopher's soul dwells within his head, the poet's soul dwells within his heart, the singer's soul dwells about his throat, but the soul of the dancer abides in all her body."
The dancer in The Wanderer by Kahlil Gibran

Typically, a woman who wears a midriff revealing outfit and a lot of jewelry. She does movements of her hips and stomach that can mesmerize onlookers. Occasionally, men do belly dancing too, but this is less common and may be played up for humor.

Often occurs in the Middle East. Serious performers of the sophisticated genuine article began to refer to it as "Middle Eastern Dance" in the 1980s. Strictly speaking, what Westerners think of as belly dance is the Arabic raqs sharqi style. Some historians believe it was a way of exercising the muscles of the pelvis and abdominal area for women who were pregnant or had menstruation problems; or that it was part of a religious ceremony. Nowadays it's more for entertainment purposes.

Note that the revealing outfits are purely an invention and misconception of people who don't know anything about belly dancing (often in the West, but not always); female dancers of the original raqs sharqi style dressed more conservatively.

Please place only particularly notable real-life examples in the Real Life section.

Examples of Belly Dancer include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Ena from Mahoujin Guru Guru wears a Belly Dancer outfit most of the time, but doesn't actually do much dancing. That honor is given to the Old Kita Kita Man, an old man who dances around in a grass skirt.
  • The mute villainess Erola from the OAV Labyrinth Of Flames dressed like a belly dancer and had a short and pointless (but arousing) dance sequence just before attacking the hero with her horde of killer puppets.
  • One of Code Geass' many Picture Dramas, set before the China Arc of the second season, shows Lelouch, C.C., and Kallen sneaking into the Chinese Federation to scout around under the guise of three Belly Dancer sisters. The Fan Service of C.C. and Kallen in skimpy outfits and interesting poses manages to counteract the Fetish Retardant of Lelouch in drag (and not looking as pretty as he usually does when he dons female clothing).
  • In the Alabasta arc of One Piece, Vivi asks Sanji to get all of them some clothes like the local citizens, so they won't stand out as much. The boys all got burkas. The girls? Dancing Girl Outfits.
    • His excuse was that 'dancing girls are citizens too!' If Nami hadn't liked it so much, he would probably be lacking a few vital organs.
    • Weaponized later by Sandersonia's Snake Dance, which allows her to use belly dance-like motions and Color of Observation Haki to dodge incoming blows.
  • Shino from Legend of Himiko is a very sensuous belly dancer. You see her dancing for a few soldiers, who became allured by her performance.
  • May wears a outfit that wouldn't look out of place on a real belly dancer for her return for the Wallace Cup in Pokémon.
  • Whenever Turkey is featured in Axis Powers Hetalia gender fliped fanarts, he goes from a Boisterous Bruiser Turk with troops into a sexy, self-assured and very well-endowed Belly Dancer. See it here To contrast with this, his rival Greece becomes a wavy-haired and just as busty Bokukko.
    • And to contrast even more, male!Turkey often ends up as a rare male example. And there's NO Fan Disservice, either: the 'arts do make him look good.
    • Also, among J-Fen it's popular to depict a teenaged Ottoman!Hungary dressed up as a belly dancer.
    • Recently, the official design for female!Turkey was released. She does dress like a Belly Dancer, though she seems to be more of a Cute Bruiser attitude-wise.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has Bette Midler,[1] who's better known from the JoJo's Fighting Game created by Capcom since she never actually appeared on-panel in the manga.
  • Queens Blade: Menace herself could qualify, but her various servants shown in flashbacks and in her rebuilt Amara in the OVA definitely do.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Yui Hongo's main Seiryuu-priestess outfit is pretty comparable to something a belly dancer would wear.
  • The Chizeta princesses, Tarta and Tatra, from Rayearth. Justified Trope: Chizeta is modelled after the Arabian Nights.
  • Bastemon of Digimon Xros Wars is this in Mon form.
  • The Sand Card from Cardcaptor Sakura


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • Every. Egyptian. Movie. Ever. And most other Arabic-language ones too, come to think of it. A belly dance and dancer are to Arabic film what Item number and Item Girl are to Bollywood.
  • A rare male example in the film Alexander; Bagoas, the Persian dancer who performs for Alex at one of the big banquets. (He was real, and so was that hot & steamy make-out session he has with Alex later in the film.)
    • A more traditional female example was Roxana's dance.
  • There was a six-breasted alien in Jabba's palace who appeared to be a bellydancer in Return of the Jedi. In Tales From Jabba's Palace, we learn that she is actually 'fat dancer', a kind of performance that the Hutt's prefer. She was selected for his performance because her species have fat cells that work like a sponge, allowing her to appear much, much fatter by absorbing water. This ability, plus the fake warts she is forced to wear, allow her to look like Jabba's mom.
    • Moving right along, Jabba's also got some more traditional examples in the human and twi'lek dancers. Although he seems to prefer feeding them to giant monsters.
    • Slave Leia anyone?
  • Used as part of a disguise/infiltration ploy in the first Charlie's Angels film.
  • The Flight of the Phoenix (the 1965 version) has a scene where a character dying of thirst hallucinates a belly dancer in the desert. It's all very trippy.
  • From Russia with Love: there's one under the opening credits and another in a dance scene at a gypsy camp.
  • If a Sinbad movie does not feature one of these, be very surprised.
  • In Charlie Wilson's War the congressman's girlfriend does a belly dance for some Egyptian bigwigs, one of whom comments that it doesn't resemble any belly dance he's ever seen (there are some definite pole-dancing moves).
    • Truth in Television: Egypt is one of the major traditional centers of belly dancing (see above), so the minister knew what he was talking about. Though the real woman also had a sword that made the bodyguards very nervous.
    • The actress that played the belly dancer is Tracy Phillips, the daughter of the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, providing another tie between real-world Texas and the movie.
  • In the Batman movie (the based on the tv show one from the 1960s), a belly dancer rises out a suspicious package and does the "dance of the seven veils" to distract several soldiers while she gasses them.
  • The sexiness is subverted in Where the Spies Are (1965), where the amateur spy played by David Niven watches a belly dance while listening to his veteran agent partner grumble about how he's met "more randy girls back in England than in the mysterious bl-dy East." Niven does get involved with the belly dancer though, who also turns out to be a spy.
  • Parodied hilariously in Wild Wild West, after Kevin Kline has been captured by the big bad, Will Smith shows up to rescue him, dressed as a belly dancer. It's hilarious. Especially when his pasties turn out to be flame throwers.
  • The leading female in Slumdog Millionaire wears a very beautiful midriff-baring outfit, complete with big amounts of jewellery while she's about to be rented for the first time (the dance was part of the advertisement) when the lead finds her again after being separated from her.
  • Cannonball Run 2. Scariest belly dancers ever.
  • The "Can You Dig It?" sequence in The Monkees' film Head takes place in a harem full of belly dancers.
  • In The Secret of the Grain (original title La Graine et le Mulet) by Abdellatif Kechiche, the stepdaughter of an Arab restaurant owner, upon finding that the main course can't be served on time at the opening night, begins an improvised belly dance that has the entire audience transfixed. It provides the movie with its climax.
  • In the Tunesian movie Satin Rouge, widowed Hiam Abbass lands in a cabaret (a raunchy, male only cafe featuring belly dancers) when she wants to confront her teenage daughters lover, who works there as a musician. She ends up dancing herself.
  • In the shadow puppet scene from Killer Klowns From Outer Space


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the Discworld novel Jingo Nobby Nobbs is forced to dress up as one. He is not allowed to dance, though.
  • Transito Soto, the Hooker with a Heart of Gold from The House Of Spirits, once dresses up as one as she speaks to Esteban about her and her friend's brothel. It lets her show off a snake-shaped tattoo around her belly button.
  • Merrill Joan Gerber's YA novel Also Known as Sadzia the Belly Dancer.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • A weird reclusive artist crashes on Gilligan's Island and offends Ginger by asking if he can paint her while she's dressed as a "belly Dancer." Turns out he actually asked her to dress as a Bali dancer; that is, a dancer in a Balinese dress.
    • Though why dressing as a "belly dancer" would offend Ginger is a question in itself.
  • The dancer in the opening titles of Hawaii Five-O.
  • Jeannie's default outfit on I Dream of Jeannie resembles a belly dance costume.
  • Fran and Grace in The Nanny disguise themselves as belly dancers in one episode when they think they're being held prisoner by the sultan of Kooristan, the father one one of Grace's friends, who also happens to have a harem of real belly dancers. Surprisingly, that episode was funny.
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Wolf in the Fold" has a belly dancer INSPACE.
    • And let's not forget the very first appearance of a Green-Skinned Space Babe in the pilot episode "The Cage".
    • Belly dancing is pretty much the Hat of Orion females.
  • Stephen Fry, on his Stephen Fry in America series, encountered a belly dancer, who also happened to be a member of the Salvation Army (four words Silent Hunter never thought he'd put in the same sentence). She pointed out that she takes tips, but not in Victoria's Secret Compartment.
    • Incidentally, the series also featured a "Mormon Missionary calendar". Yes...
  • Michael Palin's New Europe, of course, featured it when he went to Turkey. Palin had a go himself...
  • On an episode of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids TV series, Diane takes belly dancing lessons with friend Eileen and then must perform at her recital in full regalia.
  • The Dark Star club on Babylon 5 had a lot of these.
  • The Batman series from the 60s had these on two occasions.
    • Marcia, Queen of Diamonds (played by Carolyn Jones) would wear the outfit on occasion.
    • The episode guest starring Liberace featured a trio of female henchmen who on one occasion wore the outfit.
  • Spy shows on TV featured these a lot. Go figure.
    • Diana Rigg squeezed into one during an episode of The Avengers
    • Get Smart featured a doomed agent named Tamara doing the dance ("There's no Tamara, Chief")
    • More recently, Sarah Walker of Chuck did this to seduce her fiancé into eloping with her. Since Chuck was about to seduce her too, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Megan McCormick attended a belly dancing class in Beirut in Globe Trekker.
  • On an episode of Parks and Recreation Leslie livens up her boring dinner party by inviting teachers from the Pawnee community center to demonstrate their skills, including a caricaturist, a fencing instructor and a belly dancer.
  • The fitness TV show Shimmy features a lot of this.
  • Belly dancers with miniature bombs in their navels feature in an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • Kelly Garrett disguises herself as one in a Charlie's Angels episode, "Angels on Ice (Part II), and another one is featured in another episode called "Angel in Hiding"
  • One dancer is in a Married... with Children episode, "Live Nude Peg.
  • One is also known as 'Flame Dancer' in a "So Weird" episode, "Carnival".
  • One is named 'Fatima' in a "Growing Pains" episode, "Jason Sings the Blues".
  • One of these, a girl named Natasha, shows up in 1000 Ways to Die. Predictably, she ends up as the victim: while practising for a competition she carelessly throws her scarf up in the air, it gets caught in the ceiling fan, and you know where this goes...


Music[edit | hide]

  • Turkey often has these in the Eurovision Song Contest. For some reason, they usually end up with a lot of points.
  • It's all right, it's all right, ALL RIGHT! She moves in Mysterious Ways!
    • She makes a reappearance in the video for "Mofo". She is very pregnant, which is strangely in keeping with the historian beliefs mentioned above.
      • The belly dancer in question is actually The Edge's wife. Lucky bastard.
  • Shakira, the world's most famous Colombian, is one-quarter Lebanese and incorporates Lebanese cultural elements into her videos. See "Ojos Asi" and "Hips Don't Lie" for the most blatant examples.
  • Natasha Atlas reset the song Whatever Lola Wants as Middle Eastern pop, and the video is about what you'd expect. I think it used clips from an indie movie.
  • "Stop, Stop, Stop" by The Hollies is about a man who is so obsessed by a belly dancer that he grabs her in the middle of her performance.
  • Hilary Duff plays a belly-dancer in her video for Stranger.
  • Referanced in Akon's song Belly Dancer.
  • Three of these ladies (one of them being a Wholesome Crossdresser) appear in the video for Los Tres's "He Barrido el Sol"


Radio[edit | hide]

  • Neddie Seagoon visits Arabia in one of the episodes of The Goon Show. At some point, he is treated to an exotic dance of the "seven army surplus blankets", which strip off to reveal that the belly dancer in question is actually Eccles.


Video Games[edit | hide]


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Gwynn wears one of these in this Sluggy Freelance strip, in a fiendish attempt to kill Doctor Schlock. He would have died happy, at least.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Princess Kashmir (real name: Shauna Tifton) on The Simpsons dressed as a belly dancer for a bachelor party on the season one episode, "Homer's Night Out" and has often appeared in her belly dancer garb in other episodes (such as the couch gag for "Marge vs. The Monorail" in which The Simpsons are joined by three rows of recurring characters). Originally, Princess Kashmir was going to be a stripper who dressed like a belly dancer, but the FOX censors at the time objected.
  • Genie conjures some up in Aladdin. Disturbingly, some of them are camels.
    • One can also argue that Princess Jasmine's usual outfit is this.
  • Velma and Daphne disguise themselves as belly dancers in the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode, "Mummy Scares Best"
  • A belly dancer appears in the Samurai Jack episode "Jack and the Warrior Woman".
  • Marty Sherman in one episode of The Critic.
  • In 6Teen the small video store that Wyatt and Jude work at for awhile almost goes out of business because of a store called Taj Ma-homeVideo, whose cashiers dress in belly dancer costumes and sing Bollywood musical numbers about the store.
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Lucius having several Nightmare Sequences involving being one for Jimmy as a result of an You Owe Me storyline.
  • In one episode of the original Scooby Doo series, Velma and Daphne Dress up as belly dancers, but it's a bit weirder than you'd expect, especially if you regularly watch the show.
  • Nikki belly dancing in a Beverly Hills Teens episode, "Splitting Image"
  • Wonder Woman belly dancing in a The World's Greatest Superfriends episode, "Rub Three Times for Disaster", as a ploy by the heroes to distract their enemies while they make a go at retrieving the magic lamp.
  • One of the Pink Elephants from Dumbo actually transforms from a snake into a bellydancer and into an eyeball.
  • Princess Salami from a Woody Woodpecker cartoon called "Socko in Morocco".
  • Mickey Mouse dresses up as one in "The Opry House".
  • Aliyah-Din transformed from princess to belly dancer while entering to the 'Prince' (Haman in disguise), and then turning back to princess in Scooby Doo in Arabian Nights.
  • A harem belly-dancing girl mouse is featured in the Mighty Mouse cartoon, "Sultan's Birthday".
  • One dancer is featured in the Two Stupid Dogs episode, "Jerk".
  • Sincerity from What About Mimi dresses up as one in the episode "Teacher of the Year".
  • A belly-dancer is shown close to the end of the Woody Woodpecker cartoon called "Roamin' Roman" which reveals to be the lion in drag.
  • Flip the Frog dressed up as a harem belly-dancer in "Movie Mad", and another Flip the Frog cartoon which is called "Circus" had a belly-dancer at the beginning.
  • A belly-dancer who a sultan ignores to listen to "Amos 'n' Andy" in "I've Got to Sing a Torch Song"
  • Harem cats are featured in "Catnip Capers", and reused in Gandy Goose's "Somewhere in Egypt" and Heckle and Jeckle's "King Tut's Tomb".
  • One dancer is featured in a Hong Kong Phooey episode called "The Little Crook that Wasn't There"
  • One is featured as a cameo in an Animaniacs episode, "Plane Pals"
  • One is shown on a poster at the carnival in a Pluto cartoon, "Bone Trouble"
  • Some dancers are in Homer's dream in The Simpsons episode, "Skinner's Sense of Snow
  • In a Donald Duck cartoon, "The Autograph Hound", three silhouettes of belly dancers are behind a curtain, who then turn out to be the Ritz Brothers
  • An elegant animation of a belly dancer is in the late-70s British film, "Gulliver's Travels" starring Richard Harris. The sequence with the bellydancer is a bit misplaced in the culture of Lilliput but well choreographed, drawn and executed. The funny thing is that although this is a children's animation feature, the dancer is bare-breasted!
  • One is featured in an MGM cartoon, "Good Little Monkeys"

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Modern Egypt is the home of modern belly-dancing, producing the following famous names in the art:
  • We really need to note that what the West knows as belly dancing is something of an artificial construction. As noted above, it's generally raqs sharqi (Oriental Dance), which is a more sexualized version of the traditional dance of the Arab world, developed for the entertainment of wealthy men, and thus only practiced by women. However, the traditional dance of several countries is similar; this is particularly true of the Egyptian raqs balady ("native/local dance"), which is practiced by both men and women and shares many moves with the other thing. So in other words, if you ever see a guy on the dancefloor who looks like he's bellydancing: (1) well, he is, but (2) he's probably just Egyptian.
  • In Turkey, it is not uncommon for a slender, veiled dancer to perform a belly dance on the more sensual end of the scale, and then unveil to reveal that it was a male dancer, to the consternation (and in some cases probably delight) of the spectators. Obviously, the regular version exists there as well.
  • Western dancers blended raqs sharqi (often called "cabaret" in the West) with hip-hop and ballet to create "tribal fusion" bellydance, as demonstrated by Edenia Archuleta
  1. Not the actress. Araki just likes to make all kinds of music shout-outs in his character names