What is Raqs Sharqi?

Dance has the amazing function of healing the body and mind while cultivating inter-cultural awareness and respect for differing world views. Raqs Sharqi, meaning “Dance of the East” in Arabic, is sometimes elegant, and often messy like day to day life. It is relaxed in the sensual way that reminds you of moments where time stands still.

A uniquely expressive and recognizable art form where movement, music and emotion are tied together for the collective sharing of ecstatic inspiration, Raqs Sharqi is suffused in the essence that is rooted in our exploration of the colorful landscape that is the human experience. Identifiable since the late Ottoman empire in Egypt, this dance has developed over time from the local social and entertainment dance forms in addition to the often shifting influence of cultures throughout the Middle East and their contact with the western world.

Unlike art in the west, a heightened technical athleticism is not the expectation; rather it is a poetic exposition of each artist’s emotional relationship to that moment, that draws in the audience, requesting their participation in creating the environment of timeless inspiration.

In a world where we constantly rush from one activity to another, Raqs Sharqi is an invitation to slow down—and explore your humanity where it aligns with something divine.

© Shining 2016, www.shiningbellydance.com/whatisraqssharqi