© 2016

Belly Dance, Pilgrimage and Identity


  • Presents the latest approaches to and understanding of belly dance in a lively and accessible style

  • Provides a comprehensive analysis of the field, ranging from its origins to contemporary performances

  • Uses first hand accounts and stories to bring to life the often misunderstood and misrepresented world of belly dance


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Barbara Sellers-Young
    Pages 19-39
  3. Barbara Sellers-Young
    Pages 65-90
  4. Barbara Sellers-Young
    Pages 91-107
  5. Barbara Sellers-Young
    Pages 109-128
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 149-170

About this book


This book examines the globalization of belly dance and the distinct dancing communities that have evolved from it. The history of belly dance has taken place within the global flow of sojourners, immigrants, entrepreneurs, and tourists from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In some cases, the dance is transferred to new communities within the gender normative structure of its original location in North Africa and the Middle East. Belly dance also has become part of popular culture’s Orientalist infused discourse. The consequence of this discourse has been a global revision of the solo dances of North Africa and the Middle East into new genres that are still part of the larger belly dance community but are distinct in form and meaning from the dance as practiced within communities in North Africa and the Middle East.



traditional dance tribal dance contemporary dance popular culture orientalism Edward Said cultural essentialism global discourse female empowerment American Tribal Gothic belly dance raqs sharki fusion belly dance male belly dance national identity ethnic identity

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Dance DepartmentYork UniversityTorontoCanada

About the authors

Barbara Sellers-Young is a Professor in the Dance Department at York University, Canada. She is past president of the Congress on Research in Dance and has taught at institutions in United States, Australia, China and England. Her publications include two single authored and four co-edited volumes including The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity.

Bibliographic information