Belly Dance Styles

Belly Dance Styles

There are many belly dance styles from around the world that can be found in the United States. There are two basic belly dance styles, cabaret and tribal with many sub-styles under each. Cabaret is the image of what people imagine belly dance to be. It is often bright colored, sequin and beaded costumes with a bubbly, upbeat dance style. Tribal is earthy colors, layers of fabric, metallic pieces, and more fluid and grounded movements. However as the dance continues to grow there will be more belly dance styles that emerge.

American Cabaret

Is based on Egyptian style belly dance, but uses more modern music. It also included jazz and modern dance techniques in the dance form. However this dance style is also different from Egyptian since it is a blend of several belly dance forms, but it does mostly focus on Egyptian style. The costume is similar to Egyptian belly dance with a bra top, tight skirt, and belt covered in sequins and beads.

Famous Dancer: Ansuya

American Tribal Style (ATS®)

American Tribal Style® Belly Dance(ATS®) is a modern style of dance created by FatChanceBellyDance® director, Carolena Nericcio. It is wildly popular and has spread internationally over the past 2 decades. The word “American” clearly delineates ATS® as distinctly an American invention, not a traditional dance style. “Tribal Style” describes the dancers working together as a group with a “tribal” look. ATS® distinguishes itself from other tribal styles by being continuously improvisational with respect to all aspects of the performance; ‘moves’, featured dancers, and formations. Affectionately known as ‘Original Gangsta’, ATS® is the style that is “Often imitated, Never duplicated”. Additional information about American Tribal Style® Belly Dance can be found at

Famous Dancer: Carolena Nericcio


Egyptian is a more traditional style of cabaret belly dance. It focuses on soft, controlled, ballet-like movements. The dancer is elevated on the balls of her feet, and often focuses on subtle movements. Egyptian belly dance is very precise and folkloric with fully covered costuming. You will never see them do floorwork since it is illegal in Egypt. They also rarely use zills, and occasionally use veils for entrances.

Famous Dancer: Dina


Gypsy style belly dance is a broad interpretation of the dance style of Romani people. It uses core belly dance moves with Roma and Middle Eastern folkloric steps. It is high energy and very passionate with zills and skirts are often used. It also uses Roma and Balkan music. Gypsy belly dancers wear many fabrics to create volume, harem pants, vests, blouses, ethnic jewelry, and fringed shawls.

Famous Dancer: Gypsy Caravan

Improvisational Tribal Style (ITS)

ITS or Improvisational Tribal Style was founded by Amy Sigil. As the name suggests it is an improv style of dance in which the leader cues the followers of what moves to do similar to ATS. While the term ITS is used often to describe any improv it started with Amy Sigil and Unmata. They wear a variety of outfits, but Unmata is know for black pants an sports bras.

Famous Dancer: Amy Sigil


Lebanese is similar to Egyptian belly dance but high energy, bouncy, and many leg kicks. It also focuses on precise floor movements and delicate arms. They wear costuming similar to American Cabaret, but they wear high heels as well.

Famous Dancer: Amani

Tribal Fusion

Tribal Fusion belly dance combines belly dance with many different style of dance. The more common fusion styles are Flamenco, Bollywood, Hip-Hop, and Ballet. It uses all styles of music from traditional to modern. Costume varies greatly and depends on what style the belly dance is being fused with.

Famous Dancer: Zoe Jakes


Turkish belly dance is defined by being fast pace and large, jumpy movement. It is inspired by Turkish and Romani folkloric moves. Expect hair throwing, pelvis hits, bounces, jumps, and fast movements. Zills and veils are used often by Turkish belly dancers. Turkish dancers wear outfits similar to Egyptian belly dancers.

Famous Dancer: Didem