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A belly dance is a Middle Eastern type of dancing. In the Arabic language, it is called raqs sharqi (رقص شرقي, which means "oriental dance"). Many boys and girls in countries where belly dancing is popular will learn how to do it when they are young. The dance involves movement of many different parts of the body; usually in a circular way.
The term "Belly dance" is translated from the French "danse du ventre". However, this dance is done by every part of the body. The most featured body part usually is the hips. Belly dancing is very different depending on country and region, both in costume and dance style.
Belly dancing came from the dances performed in the Middle East and North Africa. One theory is that belly dance may have come from Arab, a dance when the Arabians were worshipping a goddess. A third theory is that belly dance was always danced just for entertainment.
- witnessed by the bellydancer Morocco in 1961, and described in her article "Bellydancing and Childbirth"