Famous belly dancers: the 9 best of all time

Written By: CalypsoRoom Editorial Team - May 2023

Table of content

1. Introduction
2. Famous belly dancers
3. Conclusion
4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Famous belly dancers: the 9 best of all time - Introduction

Indeed, belly dance is a sort of art. Although there are many professional dancers in the world, both on and off the screen, not everyone is an expert at belly dancing.

The Middle East and Arab nations are known for this specific art form; hence, these nations produce the majority of belly dancers.

The Middle East is home to some of the sexiest and most well-known belly dancers in the world. They are revered as dancing goddesses, known for their elegant movements and passionate performances.

Famous belly dancers: the 9 best of all time

The best belly dancers' names in the world right now and in the past have been gathered by us in this list.

If you are interested in learning more about the best-known belly dancers of all time, without further ado, let’s dig together into the list.

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Famous belly dancers

Samia Gamal

Samia Gamal, who was born Zeinab Mahfouz, is unquestionably a legendary Egyptian belly dancer. She was the first lady to perform while wearing high heels and had some of the most captivating routines.

She was a successful cinema actress as well and paired up with Farid al-Atrash, an actor and composer, in a number of roles. She made a cameo as a dancer in the American movie Valley of the Kings as a part of her cinematic career.

Naima Akef

Naima Akef began her performance career as an acrobat while still a young kid at the circus run by her family

She finally obtained employment as a singer and belly dancer in Cairo's renowned nightclubs after the circus broke up, and in the 1940s she started singing, dancing, and acting in motion pictures as well.

She became a Golden Age celebrity in her own right before passing away from cancer at the young age of 37, but not before leaving a lasting impression on this dance style with her quick and energizing spins, dramatic arm and leg motions, and spectacular demonstrations of acrobatics.

Shafiqa Al-Qibtiyya

Born in Cairo in 1851, Shafiqa Al-Qibtiyya studied under Shooq, the first Oriental dancer in Egypt.Shafika was reportedly the first to do the candelabra dance and was already well-known in the 1920s.

She performed in the El Dorado nightclub before establishing her own, called "Alf Leyla." She eventually developed a cocaine addiction and died penniless in 1926.

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Alla Kushnir

Alla Kushnir is one of the best-known and most admired belly dancers in the world today. Although the belly dancer was born in Ukraine, she presently resides in Egypt.

She is incredibly well-known in the belly dance community, and many refer to her as the Goddess of belly dance because of the way she appears to float in the air while doing her distinctive and utterly mesmerizing motions.

Taheyya Kariokka

Taheyya Kariokka, a dancer from the Egyptian Golden Age, was born in Ismaileya, Egypt, in 1915.

She traveled to Cairo as a teenager because of tensions with her family, where she began a career as a dancer and met Badeia Masabny.

Taheyya Karioka then began dancing with Badia's group, where she eventually rose to fame and appeared in at least 150 films.

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In Egypt, Dina is a well-known actress and belly dancer. When she joined a folkloric ensemble at the age of nine, her dance career officially began.

She resumed her soloist career in the 1980s and quickly rose to fame.

At first, her parents opposed her desire to pursue belly dance. She claimed in an interview that it took her parents three years to talk to her again.

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Soheir Zaki

Soheir, who was born in Mansoura, relocated to Alexandria with her family when she was nine years old. She originally picked up dancing by watching movies with Taheyya Kariokka and Samia Gamal.

She started her dance career as a wedding performer, but it didn't take long for her to land small parts in a number of movies.

She finally rose to prominence as one of the most popular dancers of her day and appeared in more than 100 movies.


Didem Kinali fell in love with belly dance at a very young age. She was born in 1986 into a Turkish gypsy family that make their living by performing live music and dancing.

She rose to prominence after appearing on the chat show and performance program Ibo Show, where she wowed audiences with her talent and beauty.

She engages her audience with eye contact and a bright grin, which help her exude vitality.

Rachel Brice

American belly dancer Rachel Brice only performs often with the Bellydance Superstars but also serves as the artistic director and choreographer of the Indigo Belly Dance Company.

She first fell in love with this lovely dance in the early 1990s after seeing Hahbi Ru perform.

She was profoundly moved by the captivating performers, whose magnificent tribal jewelry, luxurious fabrics, and intricate face tattoos permanently altered her perception of beauty.

Amelia Zidane

Amelia Zidane, a French native, has long been listed among the top belly dancers in the world.

She has a background in children's psychology, yet she has a deep love for belly dancing.

There is no turning back for her profession because she wanted to attempt it because she likes the art form.

Amelia has gained followers throughout the globe for her versatility in numerous styles of oriental dance, belly dancing, hip hop, and more.

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Famous belly dancers - Conclusion

We really hope you have enjoyed looking through this list of the best and most well-known belly dancers around the world.

It is believed that these women are genuinely magical, transporting us to another time and place as a result of their astounding performances.

If you enjoyed this post and wish to delve deeper into dance and the music industry, we invite you to explore our blog section.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some famous belly dancers?

Some famous belly dancers include Samia Gamal, Taheyya Kariokka, Naima Akef, Fifi Abdou, and Soheir Zaki from Egypt, and contemporary dancers like Sadie Marquardt and Rachel Brice from the USA.

Who is considered the best belly dancer of all time?

This is subjective and can vary based on personal preference. However, Samia Gamal and Taheyya Kariokka are often revered as some of the greatest belly dancers of all time due to their significant contributions to the art form.

Which country is famous for belly dance?

Egypt is perhaps the most famous country for belly dance. It's considered the birthplace of Raqs Sharqi, the style of dance commonly known as belly dance.

What are the different styles of belly dance?

Belly dance has evolved into many different styles. Some of the most popular include Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, Lebanese style, Turkish style, American Tribal Style (ATS), and Tribal Fusion. Each style has distinct movements, costuming, and music.

Can men be belly dancers too?

Absolutely! Belly dance is for everyone, regardless of gender. There are many accomplished male belly dancers who perform professionally.

How can I learn belly dance?

You can learn belly dance through local dance studios, online classes, or tutorial videos. It's recommended to start with basic movements and gradually move on to more complex combinations and choreographies.

What are some iconic belly dance performances?

Some iconic performances include Samia Gamal's dance in the film "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,"Taheyya Kariokka's performance in "Shore of Love," and Fifi Abdou's numerous TV performances. Contemporary performances by dancers like Rachel Brice at the Tribal Fest are also iconic.

What is the history of belly dance?

The history of belly dance is rich and complex. It has roots in the Middle East, particularly Egypt, and possibly earlier civilizations. The dance form was popularized in the West during the 18th and 19th centuries' Orientalism period. However, the belly dance we know today has been significantly influenced by performances at the World's Fairs, Hollywood's portrayal of the dance, and the global fusion of dance styles.

Are there different costumes for belly dance?

Yes, belly dance costumes vary widely depending on the style of dance. Traditional Raqs Sharqi costumes often include a bedlah (two-piece costume), while American Tribal Style costumes feature more layers, coins, and tribal jewelry. Modern and fusion styles have a diverse range of costumes, often drawing inspiration from various global dance traditions.

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Written by CalypsoRoom Editorial Team
The CalypsoRoom Editorial Team is a skilled and diverse group of writers, researchers, and industry specialists who have access to Calypso's data and information in order to give you broad knowledge about the music industry as well as helpful advice to help you manage your music and dancing career.

Updated May 2023

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