Banderi: This lively, pre-Islamic group dance from Iran reflects Indian, African and Persian influences. A modern version of this dance can still be seen today at Persian social gatherings where everyone joins in.
Bracelet Dance: From Baluchistan, a province in Iran that borders Pakistan, comes a colorful, stylized dance in which the performers keep time to the music by shaking silver bracelets filled with tiny rocks.
Fellaheen: Featuring the popular Saidi music of Upper Egypt, this modern folkloric dance was inspiredby traditional life in rural areas where the peasants effortlessly balance a variety of things on their heads while going about their daily chores.
Ghawazee: Egypt’s infamous public dancers, believed by many to be the descendants of gypsies, have been attracting audiences for centuries with their clanking finger cymbals and vibrating hip movements. The Ghawazee were the precursor to the modern-day belly dancer.
Guedra: A primitive ritual trance dance performed by the Blue People of Morocco, the Guedra features strange hand gestures believed to be the remnants of an ancient sign language.
Khaleeji: Sometimes called “the dance of the hair,” this rarely seen social dance from the Persian Gulf States demonstrates how the long flowing robe worn by the women has become an integral part of the dance.
Kurdish: A vibrant circle dance performed with linked hands.
Loghari: When the music stops, everyone must hold their position in a fun party dance from Afghanistan that has been influenced by the neighboring countries of Iran and India.
Oulid Nail: The enigmatic and mysterious public dancers of Algeria are known for their isolated muscular control and their dowry necklaces of silver coins, collected as tribute from admiring audiences.
Qajar: a Persian court dance of the 19th century.
Qashqa’i Dance: This colorful scarf dance comes from Southern Iran, where it is popular at social gatherings of the Qashqa’i, a tribe of nomadic herdsmen originally from Central Asia.
Raqs Al Assaya: During this popular Egyptian folkloric dance, the men display their skill in combat with a bamboo staff, while the women use a cane to mimic the men’s movements in a lively and flirtatious manner.
Raqs Al Shamadan: A stately and elegant dance often performed at Egyptian weddings in which the dancer balances a huge candelabra on her head.
Raqs Sharki: Better known as belly dance, this popular theatricalized form of entertainment can trace its roots to Egypt and Turkey, where the focus is on interpreting the music with graceful as well as staccato movements of the arms, hips, and torso.
Schikhatt: The public dancers of Morocco are hired to sing, dance and play music at weddings and in restaurants, where they punctuate the music by stamping their feet and shimmying their shoulders.
Tunisian: The traditional dance of Tunisia is noted for sharp twisting movements of the hips, which are accented by the voluminous over-garment the women wear that was first brought to North Africa over 2,000 years ago by Alexander the Great and his Macedonian armies.