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Belly Dancer

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"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."
Khalil Gibran, The Wanderer

Typically, a woman who wears a midriff-revealing outfit, harem pants, and a lot of jewelry and sequins. She moves her hips and stomach in a way that can mesmerize onlookers. Occasionally, men belly dance too, but this is less common and may be Played for Laughs or Fan Disservice.

Often occurs in Middle Eastern settings. 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 dancing 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 (with titilation of their loved one being the reason some women pick it up even today), although it can be utilized as a form of exercise too. The style has spread from Egypt and Turkey to Western countries.


Note that the revealing outfits are a more recent addition to the dance; female dancers of the original raqs sharqi style dressed more conservatively.

If a character dresses like a belly dancer, but is not actually one, she is a Bedlah Babe.

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

Check out these shimmying examples:

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    Card Games 
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! game, there's an old Ritual Monster named Performance of Sword, who not only dresses like a belly dancer, but appears to be one. (The required Ritual Spell Card is called Commencement Dance, and also features a dancer dressed like this.)

    Comic Books 
  • Action Comics: In issue #592, Big Barda was temporarily hypnotized by Sleez, a former loyal servant of Darkseid, and was forced to dance for his own entertainment.
  • Beau Peep: One of the recurring characters in the strip is Vera of the Seven Veils, an exotic belly dancer who has captured the heart of Dennis at first sight. One of the gags of the comics ends up being Dennis constantly feinting/going absolute bonkers at the mere sight of Vera as well as constantly professing his love for her, despite all the rejections she gives him every time.
  • Shown on the covers of issues #30, #89 and #114 of the 1960-70's Mexican comic Burrerias.
  • Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love: In this short one-shot series, Cinderella and Aladdin (from fairy tale fame) team up together to stop a trio of fully-garbed harem girls from continuing their smuggling of magical weapons with their benefactor, who turns out to be Cinderella's Fairy Godmother herself.
  • Comic Cavalcade: Issue #5 introduces Zara, the leader of the Cult of the Crimson Flame, who typically dressed in belly dancer attire. She goes on to be one of the founding members of Villainy Inc., a group of villains dedicated to fighting against Wonder Woman.
  • Cracked: In issue #126, the "Products and Ads Designed for the Arab Market" comic features gadgets and tools for Arab sheiks in mind, with many a dancer and harem girl showing off their usefulness.
  • De Kiekeboes: Fanny is forced to perform a belly dance in De Fez van Fes.
  • The incredibly controversial Foreskin Man comic features a dancer in its 4th issue, where the titular character has to travel to Istanbul to prevent the son of said dancer from being circumcised. Strangely enough, such a dilemma seems to be the only reason why the hero exists in the first place.
  • One shows up on the cover of The Fox and the Crow issue #98.
  • Garfield: In the 34th book "Life to the Fullest", an extra strip reveals a few group of women considered to be Jon's worst dates, among them being Suki, a Japanese woman who is a combination of a sumo wrestler and a belly dancer.
  • Howard the Duck: In the story "Thief of Bagmom" from the series' first annual issue, Winda and Beverly are transported by magic carpet from their home in Cleveland to Bagmom (a parody of Baghdad), where they are taken in by the Caliph and added to the harem. Once garbed in their new outfits, they are told to dance and sing for the Caliph's entertainment.
  • Jommeke: Annemieke and Rozemieke perform as belly dancers in one of their albums where they are undercover in the Middle East.
  • Millie the Model: On the cover of issue #170.
  • Luke Cage: Hero for Hire: In issue #81 of the first series of Power Man And Iron Fist from 1978, the cover advertised "dancing girls" in a plotline set in the Middle East. The dancing girls in question were Power Man and Iron Fist.
  • Scooby-Doo: In the story The Spooky Spook House, which was published in Archie Comics #8, the gang finds a mystery at an amusement park, and Daphne becomes a dancer to attract people to Scrappy Doo's ballgame stand.
  • Shown on one of the covers of the 70's Argentinian-Italian magazine Skorpio.
  • Plaster of Paris from The Spirit.
  • Tales of Suspense: Issue #44 details one of the earliest adventures involving Iron Man as he helps out an archaeology team in Cairo. As Tony Stark, however, he enjoys the Cairo nightlife, watching a belly dancer as he slowly loses enough electricity to keep his heart going.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage): In issue #32, April takes up a chance to visit an Egyptian archaeological dig site and meet up with a local friend to uncover a legendary pharaoh's tomb. During her stay, April partakes in a nightly performance involving her friend and a local Egyptian dancer. And later on, after uncovering the tomb and reawakening a deceased pharaoh and a few Egyptian spirits from the afterlife, April and her friend are forced into wearing dancing slave outfits to mark them as new wives for the pharaoh.
  • From Tell it to the Marines issue #4 from 1952.
  • One shows up on the cover of "The Nazi Lust Ordeal of the Virgin Belly Dancer", the main story of the February 1960 issue of Wildcat Adventures, which seems to be a popular American men's interest magazine during the '60s.

  • ServiceExperts: 3 Bellydancers entertain a young boy whose mother (who was expecting air conditioning) tries to cover his eyes. Even the boy's father begins to dance with them.

  • A doujin called The Moon and the Dancer takes place in a desert country, where a Japanese business representative tries to start a business relationship between the oil shieks and his company. During his stay, he meets with a representative from the shieks, who begins to fall for him. Some time later, at a party celebrating the new business deal, the Japanese rep thought he would never see his new acquaintance ever again...until she shows up at the party as the belly dancer for the party's entertainment, both greatly surprising him and leading the two into a romantic night together.

    Films — Animation 
  • Genie conjures some up in Aladdin, during the "Friend Like Me" and "Prince Ali" musical sequences.
  • Charlotte's Web: While an admittedly small detail, the fair that Zuckerman and his family attend to show off Wilbur features a belly dancing exhibit.
  • Dumbo: During the Pink Elephants on Parade musical number (easily one of the most trippiest and terrifying sequences in Disney history), the background changes to that of Egypt, where a Pink Elephant easily morphs between a camel, a snake, a bellydancer and finally disappearing into an eyeball.
  • Edison and Leo: Early on in the film, Thomas Edison decides to wait for his "fateful" encounter with his mysterious guest's wife by playing a short motion film of a belly dancer using a zoetrope and a special organ played by his teeth. As the film plays, however, the dancer's movements begin to break out of its animation cycle, making the dancer come to life in front of Edison's eyes, both disturbing and arousing him before snapping out of the trance and leaving for the meetup with his guest.
  • Some are featured in El Cid: The Legend. Jimena even dressed like one.
  • 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!
  • Ilya of Murom and Nightingale the Robber: After landing at Constantinople, Alyonushka gets stopped by a smooth talking slave owner, telling her that he'll transform her into a world-famous dancing celebrity. Alyonushka then proceeds to imagine herself as being a talented belly dancer, before quickly snapping out of the owner's inviting trance thanks to the Prince of Keevs.
  • Invitation to the Dance: The "Sinbad the Sailor" act of the film takes place in an unknown Middle Eastern country, where the main character briefly watches a real dancer in a casbah before confronting an animated Sultan and his beautiful wives; this encounter quickly leads to a short belly-/tap-dancing sequence in the palace, where the protagonist tries to distract the royal guards while admiring the beauty of the harem girls.
  • Released concept art from Disney's Pinocchio showed that one possible puppet design for Stromboli's show was to be modeled after an Arabian dancer.
    • In the finished version, it doesn't appear, but Stromboli shows some belly dance-like hip shakes when mentioning a performance in Constantinople.
  • Technically, Tzipporah from The Prince of Egypt could be considered a dancer, even though her costume isn't the usual bedlah that many dancers wear. This seems to reflect how conservative dancers' clothing truly was in ancient times.
    • More dancers twirl around with ribbons in Rameses' throne room when Moses returns to Egypt to plead with Rameses to give the Hebrews freedom from slavery.
  • A belly dancer appears at a party that Jacob and Fashid are at in Animated Stories from the New Testament: The Prodigal Son.
  • Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights: Haman, dressed as the Prince in disguise, enjoys a dancer's movements in the royal palace, all before Aliyah-Din interrupts the session in order to present herself for marriage.
  • Scooby-Doo in Where’s My Mummy?: Shaggy and Scooby-Doo disguise themselves as belly-dancing mummies.
  • One is shown in a Japanese film from 1962 called The Adventures of Sinbad by Toei
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: Some are shown in Saddam Hussein's "I Can Change" musical number. The black comedy of South Park rears its head again, however, as Saddam takes a dancer and snaps her body in half during the song.
  • The 2008 Russian animated film The Tale of Soldier Fedot, the Daring Fellow (original title: Pro Fedota-Streltsa, Udalogo Molodtsa) has the main character, Fedot, go on a worldwide journey to satisfy his King's demands; he comes across a dancer while passing through Arabia.
  • The Suicide Shop: For his sister Marilyn's birthday, Alan decides to get her a transparent veil and a CD of Middle Eastern music as her gift. When night comes, Marilyn strips off all her clothes, plays the CD and dances to her heart's content, finally being able to explore her femininity.
  • Tom and Jerry: In Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest, a belly dancer is shown performing in Jade's club once Johnny and the gang reach Moldovistan.
  • Tweety's High Flying Adventure: After Tweety lands in Egypt, he quickly escapes into the Pyramids of Giza to escape Sylvester and his posse of Egyptian cats. Once inside, he finds a room filled with antiques, including a piccolo; he begins to play it, and a nearby basket opens up, revealing a veiled/masked dancing girl moving to Tweety's melody (It's quickly shown that the girl is really Sylvester in disguise).

  • Merrill Joan Gerber's YA novel Also Known as Sadzia the Belly Dancer.
  • On the cover of Assignment - The Cairo Dancers by Edward S. Aarons.
  • Shown on one of the covers of Boy by James Hanley.
  • Shown on the cover of The Curse of a Thousand Kisses by Sax Rohmer.
  • Golden Dragon Fantasy Gamebooks: One shows up at the local tavern in Curse of the Pharaohs and gives you something to shake off your new friend, somehow knowing he's not to be trusted.
  • One is on the cover of The Eye of Karnak by John E. Muller.
  • Shown on the cover of The Far Out Ones by Dell Holand.
  • Transito Soto, the Hooker with a Heart of Gold from The House of the 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.
  • The main character of Go Figure by Jo Edwards explains her main complaint with Halloween due to her weight:
    ...Finding regular clothes that make me look good is challenging enough; now imagine how tough it is to find a trendy plus-size costume. Making matters worse, all of the skinny skinny chicks take the opportunity to show off their hot bods in some rocking costume or other. Nothing shatters my self-esteem like standing around in a dowdy, floor-length witch's robe while all the cute girls parade around as French maids, belly dancers, and leotard-clad devils.
  • In the Discworld novel Jingo Nobby Nobbs is forced to dress up as one. He is not allowed to dance, though. It was subsequently impliednote  that he enjoyed the experience more than he'd expected to and took up crossdressing afterwards.
  • The Most Beautiful is a first-person memoir by Mayte Garcia, the first wife of the late pop star Prince; the memoir describes how she had successfully started her career as a belly dancer during her teen years and how her life changes after meeting and falling in love with Prince.
  • The Shimmy and Steam series, written by Michelle Kopra, details the adventures of a group of belly dancers who travel to distant lands to dance for royalty while also serving as spies for Queen Victoria and the British Empire.
  • Al - of the '70s YA series by Constance C. Greene - likes to practice a bit of random belly dance moves while hanging out with her friends.
  • George Lucas wouldn’t let it appear onscreen, but Mara Jade had shades of this when she danced as Arica at Jabba’s palace in Star Wars Legends. Her costume was very reminiscent of a belly dancer.

  • The late R&B princess Aaliyah often incorporated various dance moves borrowed from raqs sharqi (especially "figure 8's" and "hip/belly rolls") into her choreography. The most clear examples can be seen in her last video filmed just before her death, 'Rock the Boat'.
  • Referenced in Akon's song "Belly Dancer." Taken even further in the music video, where Akon follows a woman into a secret hideaway crowded with dancers.
  • The Bangles: Most of the band members dress up as Egyptian-style belly dancers in the music video for "Walk Like An Egyptian".
  • Beyoncé performs a short belly dance along the beach at night in Baby Boy.
  • The cover of Bob Dylan and The Band's album, The Basement Tapes, features an odd cast of characters, including a midget, a weightlifter, a fire eater, and a belly dancer.
  • Britney Spears seems to have incorporated a few moves that focus on the abdomen and hips in her music video for "I'm A Slave 4 U".
  • Dutch pop music group Ch!pz had a single titled "1001 Arabian Nights". In the music video for this song, the two female singers, Rach-L (Rachel van Hoogen) and C!lla (Cilla Niekoop) performed a belly dance to distract an evil sultan while the male members of the group reclaimed a magic lamp that was being misused by the sultan.
  • Country Joe McDonald sings all about one in his song "Jamila". An excerpt:
    She's one of the Eastern ladies, the hand of Fatima protects her.
    She is a living Shiva, helluva belly-dancer.
    Her body is hanging the silver rings
    And when she's moving you can hear them ring
    She moves her hips and she moves her hands
    Her finger cymbals start to play with her now.
  • Turkey (not seen since 2012) often had these in the Eurovision Song Contest. For some reason, they usually end up with a lot of points.
    • Turkey, and other nations to have used belly dancing costumes from the singers or backing dancers (such as the belly dancing woman described as a "stage invader by Graham Norton" with Hungary's act in 2017) often use it in conjunction with religious, middle eastern, Latin or Flamenco music.
  • Hilary Duff plays a belly-dancer in her video for Stranger.
  • "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, naturally getting thrown out by the bouncer. Now with its own animated music video!
  • Kat De Luna dons a Bollywood outfit and dances with similarly-clothed woman in "Party O'Clock".
  • Lorenzo Jovanotti's L'ombelico del mondo video includes a belly dancer and a llama, among other things.
  • Three of these ladies (one of them being a Wholesome Crossdresser) appear in the video for Los Tres's "He Barrido el Sol".
  • Natasha Atlas redefined 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.
  • Natasha Bedingfield ends up surrounded by dancers while slowly floating up to the sky on a large white lotus in her music video for Pocketful of Sunshine."
  • No Angels: In the music video for Still in Love with You, Jessica Wahls is shown to be dancing right by a swimming pool.
  • Prince: Prince sings to one in his music video for "Seven".
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers: Mentioned in part of the lyrics for "Can't Stop":
    White heat is screaming in the jungle
    Complete the motion if you stumble
    Go ask the dust for any answers
    Come back strong with fifty belly dancers
  • Rihanna: Rihanna incorporates a few belly-dancing moves, as well as her backup dancers, in a beach at night in the video for If It's Lovin' That You Want.
  • R. Kelly: His music video for Snake features a tent in the desert where belly dancers perform.
  • The music video for Sarah Brightman's "Harem" takes place in a Arabian setting, complete with an young sultan, servants and a couple of belly dancers.
  • 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.
  • U2: 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.
    • A belly dancer shows up unexpectedly in the music video for "Numb".
  • Little Mix in the music video for Reggeaton Lento, a remix of a song by Latino boy and CNCO.

    Print Media 
  • Each bellydancer is shown in the "Look and Find" book based on Disney's Aladdin
  • Where's Waldo? in Hollywood features a couple bellydancers in "Fun in the Foreign Legion".
  • A number of women in the Humorama gag cartoons were this, often wearing Fanservice costumes of nothing more than bikinis, veils and jewelry. It helps that some talented artists like Dan DeCarlo drew these dancing ladies.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Bella Twins dressed up as belly dancers for a Halloween photoshoot in 2009.
  • GLOW had Little Egypt, who danced her way to the ring and even wrestled in the costume - thus merging this with Dance Battler.
  • WWE's developmental documentary series Breaking Ground shows a developmental Diva called Aliyah attempting a belly dancer type of gimmick, as she is of Arab descent. The gimmick never made it to TV but the outfit did, making her a Bedlah Babe briefly.
  • Wrestlicious which is a Spiritual Successor to GLOW, had a character called Azziza who was also a belly dancer. She never wrestled however.

  • 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.

  • Azuri, the villain of The Desert Song.
  • Dralion: Oceane's outfit and style of dance seem to draw on this trope.

    Theme Parks 
  • Busch Gardens: In the Pantopia section of the Tampa Bay Park, the Dragon Fire Grill restaurant hosts the "Treasures of the Mirage" stage show, featuring belly dancers and Arabian musical performances.
  • Disney Theme Parks:
    • The Tokyo DisneySea park from Tokyo Disney Resort had a dinner show attraction called A Table is Waiting, which showcased different food dishes from cultures around the world. One of the countries shown was India, where performers dressed as belly dancers would sing about spice and curry with the song "Spice Up Your Life".
    • The 2017 version of the Fantasmic! nighttime show in Disneyland shows a new segment featuring Genie singing "Friend Like Me", where he turns Ariel, Cinderella and Belle into belly dancers during the act. Eventually, however, the segment was considered to be a little adult for young audiences, forcing the show to use different characters/effects from "Friend Like Me".
    • The Mickey's Soundsational Parade in Disneyland features the "Aladdin's Magical Cymbal Celebration" segment, with Aladdin and Genie leading a team of dancing harem girls, including a special "coin dancer" covered in shimmering gold.
    • The World Showcase area in Epcot features the Moroccan Pavilion, designed to appear like a real-life Moroccan street, where tourists can catch belly dancing shows either in the courtyard or inside the Restaurant Marrakesh. The Souk-Al-Magreb shop also offers books that can teach its reader how to belly dance.
  • At the Dutch park Efteling, Fata Morgana is a dark ride with 140 animatronics in a 1001 Nights setting. It naturally includes belly dancers, in the sultan's throne room more precisely.

    Video Games 
  • Alteil features Kurina, who's also a Cat Girl.
  • Ape Escape: Yumi from Ape Escape 3 dresses as this while wearing the Genie Dancer Morph, complete with a real genie used to distract enemies.
  • Bayonetta 2: Bayonetta's Rakshasa costume definitely fits under this, complete with veil.
  • Bug Fables has Kali, a minor NPC questgiver who is a silk moth seamstress dressed in belly-dancing attire and is capable of using her dances to empower her allies. She proceeds to do so during her optional Mini-Boss battle after the end of her quest, where she enthralls Kabbu with her pheromones and forces him to fight his friends against his own will after Vi accidentally broke her vase.
  • Baladi Princess from Bugs Bunny and Taz: Time Busters.
  • Mikki from Chrono Cross.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: In Soviet Mission 4 of the Yuri's Revenge Campaign, Romanov is shown to be alive and well from his plane crash; he spends the entire mission in a cabaret, eating dinner while a dancer performs for entertainment.
  • Conquests of Camelot: While in Jerusalem, the player ends up in the home of Fatima, a sultry belly dancer who constantly offers the player (or Arthur, in this case) tempting offers to kiss her and end the journey right then and there. Turns out Fatima is supposed to be one of the Guardians of the Holy Grail, testing you to see if the player is indeed worthy of obtaining the grail. Should the player give in to their desires and try to kiss her, she ends up choking you with her veil and proceeds to smother you to death. Not kissing her, however, guarantees you story progression and the info needed to enter the final area.
  • In Criminal Case: World Edition, starting in case 7 you meet Asal Hawaa, a Femme Fatale Spy who disguises herself as a belly dancer while acting as an Israeli Intelligence Service member on the side. Given her looks, her deadly skills and her gyrating hips, she's one dancer you do not want to mess with.
  • The Dead or Alive series has Helena look like an Arabian dancer in both Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate and Dead or Alive 3.
    • Ayane, Marie Rose and Nyotengu all have new dancer outfits in Dead or Alive 5: Last Round.
  • The Kali class, Dancer subclass and both the Blade Dancer and Spirit Dancer specializations in Dragon Nest SEA definitely fall under this.
  • Some examples from the Dragon Quest series:
    • Maya from Dragon Quest IV is an infamous example in Japan.
    • In Dragon Quest VII, official art shows what your party member Maribel would appear while using the Dancer class.
    • Jessica from Dragon Quest VIII dresses like one whenever she wears the Dancer's Dress.
    • In Dragon Quest IX, the "Lady of the Dance" sidequest involves you searching for the inheritor of the amazing belly dance left behind from Flamenca, a world-renowned dancer. The description states that the current holder is "very pretty, and he is always adorned with jewels", but before you start thinking about finding an attractive guy who can shake his hips and is adorned in glistening beauty... the inheritor turns out to be a Goody Bag enemy, a bag-shaped monster filled with jewels. Regardless, once the sidequest is complete, the Belly Dance party trick is able to be used.
  • The Blade Dancer class from Eden Eternal.
  • Ellia from Eternal Darkness.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • The Troubadours in the very first game of the series and in Heroes of Lagaard.
    • The females of the Dancer class in Legends of the Titan. The NPC Wiglaf can count as well.
  • Princia Ramode from F-Zero AX and GX.
  • A good number of examples throughout the Final Fantasy series:
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The women who belong to the Dancer class, which allows certain units to take an extra turn, often dress as belly dancers. The exceptions are Ninian and Azura, who dress more like medieval noblewomen; in Azura's case her class is renamed to Songstress to reflect this.
    • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia may not have Dancers or any alternative classes, but a cutscene shows many belly dancers performing in front of the corrupt King of Zofia.
    • In the Birthright path of Fire Emblem Fates, the group befriends the famous songstress Layla, whose outfit is based on belly dancers.
    • Fire Emblem Heroes offers the Performing Arts event, featuring an alternate dancing outfit for Olivia and finally introducing a dancing outfit for Inigo, which is fitting considering that his future mother is Olivia and decides to take up dancing in her place in-game.
  • The female elementalist dance emote in Guild Wars is a belly dance (and several of their armour sets in the Nightfall expansion were belly dancer costumes). The female paragon dance is based on an African tribal dance, but has elements of belly dancing as well.
  • Selena from the Harvest Moon series, showing up in both Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility and Harvest Moon: Animal Parade.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage For The Future: While Midler's appearance (or at least what we can see of her) in the manga has her wearing a regular dress, her redesign for the game chooses to go with a more attractive belly dancer inspired look.
  • As a dancing game, Just Dance has its share of dancers dressing up like this for their choreographies. The most blatant examples are: Hips don't lie (of course, save for the alternative version), the alternate version of Lean on and Leila (bonus for the latter being based on a Turkish pop song)
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: One quest on Nar Shaddaa requires a female member of the player's party (Either the Player Character herself, the Handmaiden if the PC is male, or Mira; Visas flat out refuses and Kreia won't for obvious reasons) to wear a skimpy outfit not unlike the one Leia would be forced to wear by Jabba four thousand years later and dance for a Hutt until he falls asleep.
  • The sequels to LEGO Star Wars (Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga) have Princess Leia in her slave form perform a dance as her taunt.
  • Jean from Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is a dancer that joins your party.
  • Namira from the Arcade/N64 game Mace: The Dark Age.
  • Primrose Azelhart in Octopath Traveler is a tavern dancer at an "Arabian Nights" Days setting.
  • Odin Sphere has Princess Velvet, who incorporates it in her chain fighting style.
  • One Piece: Treasure Cruise: Princess Vivi's new "Love" costume can fall under this.
  • Rise Kujikawa dons a brand new Arabian-inspired outfit, complete with detached sleeves, in Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
  • Medicham and, as of Generation VI, its Mega Evolution from Pokémon fits this trope.
  • Karli from Popn Music.
  • Rouge from Power Stone (shown above) adopts this into her fighting style.
  • Quest for Glory:
    • Featured in Quest for Glory II. In this case, though, it's a literal Cat Girl, which probably helped convert more than a few young gamers into Furries.
    • In Quest for Glory V, the Dead Parrot Inn has a pair of former harem girls who will occasionally dance. In a plot event, the Player Character (who is decidedly male) gets roped into belly dancing at the other local inn.
  • Ragnarok Online: The Dancer and Gypsy jobs look like typical belly dancers, while their 3rd job, Wanderer, makes them look more like carnival dancers. Their 4th job, Trouvere, subverts it by making them wear a proper dress, similar to their Japanese 3rd job sprites.
  • Rabi-Ribi: Kotri is a fox-eared Dance Battler who casts different magic spells depending on the dance she uses.
  • Rise of Nightmares features Yeli, a Romanian gypsy fortune teller, dancing in a rather trippy sequence that ends with her stabbing the player into entering the dream world.
  • Sara from Risen.
  • Sista A's superstar persona in Rumble Roses XX.
  • One of Okuni's DLC costumes in Samurai Warriors 4-II has her dressed as such.
  • The titular character of Shantae not only dresses like a belly dancer, but her belly dancing is even magical, allowing her to transform into various creatures and cast magic spells.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, when the party reaches the Nasr region, they bump into a beautiful dancer named Bellena. After she accompanies you for a mission, she reveals her true nature as Belleza, Fourth Admiral of the Valuan Armada.
  • In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, to get past a heavily guarded door, Carmelita disguises herself as a belly dancer and performed a dance to distract the guards allowing Sly and the others to get through.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Pullum Purna from Street Fighter EX is both a belly dancer and a Dance Battler.
    • Menat from Street Fighter V is both as well an her dancing style is like this, although her default outfit doesn't fully bare her midriff, instead only exposing her belly button.
  • Karin and Mina in Suikoden are both dancers you can recruit for your army.
  • In Surgical Strike, early on in the first level, a belly dancer randomly appears in a doorway for a few seconds before a guerrilla comes to shoot you.
  • The animated opening for Vagrant Story features a belly dancer, whom is no one else but Mullenkamp, the ancient priestess with an entire cult named after her in-game.
  • Violent Storm: In the Downtown stage (Stage 3 overall), the player goes through a bar/nightclub where the entertainment for the night is a belly dancer, prompting a change of background music for hard rock to Middle Eastern to fit the dancer. Once the player clears all enemies in front of the stage, the dancer stops dancing and jumps for joy while the player continues on.
  • Sanzang from Warriors Orochi 3.
  • In World of Warcraft, female trolls and draenei have this as their /dance emote. This makes some degree of sense for the vaguely Roma-inspired draenei, but for the Caribbean-esque trolls...not so much. (Both dances are based on Shakira.)

    Visual Novels 
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Lotus's outfit is that of a belly dancer. She takes belly dancing as a hobby but got kidnapped before she had the chance to change; her day job is an incredible computer hacker.
  • Solstice: Constance rocks the look quite well.

  • Dumbstruck offers a romantic night with a dancer as part of a "Priceless Valentine's Day" in its 2004 Valentine's Day strip.
  • In an El Goonish Shive pinup post, Nanase does a belly dance while her clothing gradually transforms into a belly dancer's outfit.
  • Ennui GO!: In “Tales From the Pigwater Inn”, Renee's persona during a group session of Dungeons and Dragons is shown to resemble the costume of someone with a Dancer class.
  • Araceli temporarily transforms into Jeanie and begins to dance for Neil in strips 172 and 173 of I Dream of a Jeanie Bottle. Kudos to the author for actually placing an animation inside a web comic.
  • Nerf NOW!! shows a couple of instances: one where Angie ends up modeling/cosplaying/dancing as Shantae for Jo (after making the comment that Jo was only supporting a Kickstarter for Shantae just for "belly dancing fanservice"), and another when Shantae switches places with Ora from Mark of the Ninja, where Ora learns dancing lessons from a citizen of Sequin Land.
  • 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.
  • Anna, the Love Interest of the protagonist of White Noise. In fact, they first meet during one of her performances, when she singles him out in the crowd to make him blush.
  • Winter Moon: After finally reaching the desert city of Abu Qanasta, Florence decides to relax for a bit and heads into a club with dancers performing. The female lead dancer tells Florence to leave a tip if he enjoys the perfomance —and is quickly shoved away by him. Turns out that Florence was trying to eye the male dancer performing in the back of the club.

    Web Original 
  • Disbanded Japanese pop duo 294 (つくし, or Tsukushi, featuring members Kahori and Haruka) created a online video blog called 294tv, which greatly focused on their adventures while touring Japan outside of performances. In one of the episodes, Kahori and Haruka decided to go to an Indian restaurant in the Shijuku ward of Tokyo, where they took a lesson of belly dancing from two accomplished dancers who regularly perform at the establishment.
  • Brain Dump: In Max's scathing review of Rogue One, Max attempts to summon back Goofball for more product placement. Goofball decides to return, dressed up as Jeannie, and performs hip shakes while refusing Max's request for more product placement.
  • Bravest Warriors: Beth's "30% sexier" costume is a version of this in "Butter Lettuce". And thanks to Wankershim, the Beth hologram decides to perform a dance for Chris as a "reward" for his victory.
  • Drunken Peasants: In Episode 157, the "Troll or Not a Troll" segment involves a rather big-breasted belly dancer balancing a scimitar on her head while discussing her conservative political views. Best part? She ends up being totally real.
  • Luna of Cairo is a small short story told by a real-life belly dancer in modern-day Egypt, who goes into detail of the struggles she deals with as a dancer as well as the surprisingly intricate social hierarchy for Egyptian dancers.
  • Athena from Oska Software's "Dancing Girls".
  • The narrator of "Hips of Fools", a story in The Wanderer's Library, meets one on another planet's moon.
  • In Zero Punctuation's review of Infamous, Yahtzee says it best in terms of his job as a video game critic:
    ... But then I realize that if I'm trying this hard to find complaints then I may have forgotten what I'm in this gig for: to depict the majority of games as the bland garbage that they are to highlight the few glittering belly dancers that rise above it, and inFAMOUS is good. In fact, it's great. Huge, creative and fun. It's rare that I find a game for which I'm willing to suffer haemolacria.

    Real Life 
  • To set the table here, 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.
  • Unlike strippers or burlesque dancers, many professional belly dancers are hired to perform in the presence of mixed audiences (men, women and children). Throughout its traditional Middle Eastern homeland and increasingly elsewhere, it is not uncommon to see belly dancers, male or female, performing at weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, or even retirement parties. Children will often learn to belly dance at a young age as well.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly given the similarities to if not roots in Egyptian folk dance, Modern Egypt is the home of modern belly-dancing. The Egyptian film industry in particular is probably responsible for the spread of the style within the Arab World—from the earliest days of Egyptian film up until about the 1970s, most Egyptian movies had a belly dance scene (often shoehorned in to feature a famous or promising dancer, much like a Bollywood Item number), and many Egyptian filmmakers still like to drop a dance into a movie at the slightest provocation. Egypt has thus produced the following famous names in the art, generally making their names in film:
    • One of the earliest big film dancers was Taheyya Kariokka, the founder of modern raqs sharqi. Coming into the industry in the 1930s-40s, she took her stage name from the fact that she had learned some Brazilian samba moves and incorporated them into her style (carioca being the Brazilian Portuguese term for a person from Rio de Janeiro). The samba influence she brought into the dance can still be seen in today's dance if you know what you’re looking at. (See what we mean about it being a construction?)
    • Fifi Abdou, who codified many of the norms of the art. She eventually shifted into ordinary acting. To this day, her name is synonymous with everything sexual in Egypt (she is long since retired).
    • Dina Talaat, another great.
  • Alla Kushnir, a Ukrainian belly dancer who has competed in World Championships. Her performance at Ukraine's Got Talent can be found here.
  • Bellydance Evolution, an LA-based dance company that puts on massive productions complete with storylines and world tours, including auditioning and using local dancers in each country they tour.
  • Japanese pin-up girl Fumina Suzuki.
  • Sadie Marquardt, a dancer born from Minnesota, has gone on to become a leading world-class performer, even going so far to release dance DVDs and setting up workshops in several countries around the world. Here's a sneak peek of her performances.
  • No fighting! Shakira, Shakira!
  • We now have Steampunk belly dancers! I say... There is also Gothic bellydance. And Geeky Bellydance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In recent years, China has undergone a popularity boom in terms of belly dancers, from many professional dancers emerging from the country to countless new students wishing to learn. This new fad is believed to be the work of former singer Wen Kexin, who fell in love with belly dance after having to learn it for a music video she took part in. Supposedly, China now has at least 100 schools dedicated to belly dance, all led by former students of Wen Kexin.
  • Mata Hari's style of dance was not strictly bellydance (more like exotic dance inspired by bellydance), but her revealing outfits and alluring persona are generally accepted to be a significant influence on the genre and its perception, at least in the West.


Video Example(s):


Belly Dancing Daphne & Velma

What's New Scooby Doo: E16 Mummy Scares Best - Mystery Inc, along with ally Melbourne O'Reilly, track some tourist who earlier were acting like zombies. To get close, Velma and Daphne take a job as belly dancers at the cafe they visit.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / BellyDancer

Media sources: