Beledi Dance

Beledi Dance
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Beledi Dance

Right now I’m currently in love with the beledi style of belly dance. I’ve talked to many people and seem to get a lot of different perspectives. For my own benefit, I’m going to attempt to put it all together. Please feel free to comment if you disagree or think I’m missing a major point. I will most likely revise this as I learn more.  Beledi style dance

The Arabic term beledi (baladi) means “of the people.” It represents the everyday life of the people, their culture. The term itself is quite confusing as there are several contexts in which this word is used, including:

1. To represent a particular rhythm found in almost all oriental music, recognized by the structure of accents, the “dums” played on the tabla. However, it should be noted that it’s purely an American practice to associate the term baladi with this specific rhythm, the masmoudi sagheer. In other words, if you went to Egypt and asked the band to play a baladi rhythm, they probably wouldn’t know what you were talking about. Variations of the baladi rhythm include maksoum and saidi.

2. To represent a central part of the oriental dance routine known as the taqsim baladi (baladi awad or baladi tet). This is also called a baladi progression or taqsim progression.

3. To loosely label what is currently popular (of the people)

4. To represent a common style of dance found in Egypt today. It’s the style of dance people use at haflas, weddings, at home and in dance clubs. The Egyptian people use this style when dancing to all sorts of music, including Al Jeer (pop) and Western music.

5. Raqs baladi (baladi dance; translated as “dance of the people”) is used to represent a folkloric style of Egyptian dance, which is very grounded and earthy. Raqs baladi includes saidi, fellahin and bambootia dance. Baladi dancers wear an ankle length, baladi dress with a hip scarf.

6. Beledi song – an earthy, folksy song. The dancing is very grounded and can be sensual.  Fatme Serhan is a very popular baladi singer. Examples of beledi songs are Tahtil Shibbak and Bint il Balad.

Baladi is the most ancient form of Egyptian solo dance. Raqs sharki or oriental dance, more commonly known as belly dance, is a by-product of this original style of Eyptian dance.

Video footage taksim baladi:

Sohair Zaki
Fifi Abdo
Orit Maftsir
Orit Maftsir

Yasmina of Cairo and Mohamed Kazafy A beledi song, not a taksim beledi or beledi progression

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About Mellilah Jamal

Mellilah teaches belly dance classes in Redmond and Bothell and performs for private parties and restaurants throughout Seattle.


  1. I think this definition confuses “baladi” and “shaabi”?
    Baladi means “of the countryside”, “rural”, “national”. It can refer to many things as well as music/dance, for example “baladi” bread means a rustic loaf like a farmhouse loaf.
    Shaabi means “of the people”, “popular”.

  2. I think of “shaabi” as edgy, pop culture, which is somewhat different. Baladi is acceptable to all people but shaabi isn’t always. At least that’s what I’ve learned. ??? Perhaps I should say that the actual definition of baladi is “of the country,” however, I also think “of the people” is appropriate.

    Below is a quote from Hadia of Canada who I highly respect: (You can read the actual article on her website.)
    “This comes from the root word Balad, which the dictionary translates as “the country”. Baladi literally means “of the country”, but a more accurate translation would be “of the people”. So, essentially anything that is from the country or from the people can be referred to as Baladi. In the context of dance, “Raks Baladi” refers to the urban, popular form of dance practiced by most Egyptian women, at henna evenings…”

  3. Hi, I am half Arabic so there is some translation
    Balad means country,homeland. Not countryside or village. Village is qariaya. Everything is correct – baladi smth belonging to the country. Shaab means folk, people – shaabi – belonging to the people

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