There are several types of dances, most of which have many styles and variations. Dances can differ depending on the culture, geographic region, time period and type or style.
Raks or Raqs (pronounced “rocks”) translates to “dance”
Most Arabic dances fall into one of the following categories:
Certain dances have ties to religion or are danced for certain ceremonies. These may share elements from the above types of dances or even be classified in one of the above categories.
Dances can also be classified as:
A Folk dance is a style of dance that originated among ordinary people and is traditional to their culture, community, or country. Examples include Raks Baladi, Raks al Assaya, Raks al Shemadan, Schikhatt, Guedra, Debke and Raks Al Nasha�ar.
Performance art is a form of theatrical art, usually on a �stage� that features the activity/works of an artist. Examples include Raks Sharki, Oryantal Tansi, Belly Dance, Fusion and American Tribal Style.
Just as with music, there are different views that Muslims have about dancing. To some, there should be no dancing at all. They see music and dancing as moving toward sin. To others, folk dancing just between men or just between women is fine, but not between mixed couples or in front of the opposite sex. They also would criticise dancing as is popular with youth in the United States, for example, as very wrong and too sexy. Others have no objection to watching professional dancers, but “good Muslims” would not do that. And in contrast, some Muslims saw music and dancing as a way to become closer to Allah. Throughout the history of Islam, there have been times of greater acceptance or rejection of dance.
Below you will find a brief description of several Arabic dances. This list is not comprehensive.
An impromptu Dabke dance in Syria