It is considered to be introduced in this region by the Arabs, but with the introduction of Islam, the dance was banned. Similar to these engravings in Mesopotamia, dance and music scenes have also been traced in ancient Grecian and Egyptian paintings in tombs. During the eight century, the Arabs came and settled in Egypt, which made belly dancing to be adopted in this region. And, it was here that the dance grew in techniques and styles and transformed into the newly known Oriental dance, which also came to be known as raqs sharqi.
In addition to these influences, the dance receives more impacts from different parts of Asia. The gypsy tribes from Northern India brought their energetic and flamboyant dancing and musical abilities when they moved into the Middle East. This mainly took place in Turkey, and the dance received gypsy elements to the tradition that were already strong and was popular by the name of Oriyantal Dansi.
Thus, belly dancing as an ancient tradition, was influenced by a number of styles that flowed in from different parts of Asia. However, the original elements of the dance involving the sensuous movements of the female body were always retained.
For the western world, it was not until the 19th century that the public came to know about Arabian Belly Dancing and the related customs from the Arab world. It was only the Orientalists, the scholars who had the curiosity and knowledge about Middle East.
Turkish Belly Dancing is an ancient dance form in Turkey and surrounding regions. The dance was preserved through the Middle Ages in the form of social dances in general public life and in the harems of Ottoman rulers. The dance has received strong influence from the gypsy culture and the ancient cultures that worshiped goddesses. It is also the most popular type of dance in modern belly dancing classes.
The moves and techniques are closely related to the classic form of the dance. It is more flamboyant, bold and energetic in nature as compared to its close versions found in the east. The Turkish dance form involves more use of the finger cymbals along with enhanced use of athleticism within the moves. The movements performed on floor, also known as floor work are common to be found in the Turkish form of the dance.
You can find an enhanced expression of sexuality, especially more so in the dance being performed in nightclubs during the 70s and 80s. Large orchestras in Turkish nightclubs play Arabic music along with the gypsy style which has a more energetic and faster tempo.
A large variety of instruments are used in the performance including violins, dumbeks, keyboards, clarinets, ouds, oboes and more. Generally, performance lasts for around 30 minutes and it consist of different rhythms, tempos as well as melodies. And, the modern Turkish music styles consist of elements from world-beat and electronic music.
The costumes used in Turkish danceduring the 70s and 80s were controversial due to their sexiness and shortness. Generally, the Turkish version of the dance consists of costumes like belly dance skirt, bra top along with belt. But, the skirts consist of less amount of fabric as compared to that worn in Egyptian or American belly dance. The costumes are also very small compared to the western form of the dance.