What Is Tribal Belly Dancing

tumblr_mbmmdau6Pa1r3y80jo1_400Belly dancing is one of the most popular dance forms, which is specifically loved and appreciated for its sensuality and bright colors. This form of dancing which is particularly based on abdominal movement or articulation of the torso and hips is again of various types depending on the country or region.

Tribal Belly Dancing:

What is tribal belly dancing can be answered with perfection if one knows that this form of belly dancing is specifically performed in groups. The tribal belly dancing can be performed during occasions like festivals or parades. The movements of tribal belly dancing are extremely beautiful and fluid which totally charms the viewers.


The costume that is worn during tribal belly dancing is a top called ‘choli’ accompanied by full skirts or wide legged pants gathered together at the ankles. The long skirts that are used during tribal belly dancing are generally tiered and largely layered. The skirts are generally very colorful and wide with tribal designs and prints on them. The top or ‘choli’ that is worn by these belly dancers are always very colorful and short, to make the belly visible. The visibility of the naval line of the dancer is of prime importance while selecting the perfect costume. Very often, the top or the ‘choli’ has a plunging neckline to give a more sensuous look to the dancers. Head gears, hair decorations, hip scarves, tassel belts and many such accessories also form a part of the costume to give a very bright and colorful look to the dancers. Lots of accessories are a trademark for tribal belly dancers, who often wear coined bras instead of ‘choli’ on top of their long and colorful skirts.


Emphasis on group performance during choreography rather than solo dance moves forms the base idea for answering the question what is tribal belly dancing. The movements that are used during the choreography are of two types, slow movements and fast movements. These are further explained as follows.

  1. Tribal belly dancing with slow movements: In this type, zils are worn by the dancers and the rhythm followed is generally slow. This requires a lot of practice and training since the group needs to dance in sync.
  2. Tribal belly dancing with fast movements: The zils are played during this form of dancing. The left-right-left pattern of belly dancing is most commonly used for practicing the fast movements. However, other variations like 9/8 Turkish rhythm, Moroccan 6 rhythm and others are also practiced during the fast movements of tribal belly dancing.

The improvisations to the original dancing format are done by every group according to their need, choreography and the music that is chosen for a specific dance.


What is tribal belly dancing could also be understood in detail by watching a few shows. A chorus groups generally provides a constant back drop during such dances and a specific duo, trio or quarters dances on the main focus. The dancers from the backdrop take their turns of replacing the dancers in the main focus during the dancing. Generally the dancers lean to their left during the dance to take the cues and instructions from their leaders to change position.


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