Or is belly dancing from the Mediterranean? How can you tell? All you need is a little more digging (and patience).
Belly dancing comes from an Arabic word, ‘yazmi’ (pronounced yaz-meem). It’s a Persian word and it comes from the ‘Saqtya’ or ‘Razee’ or ‘Roshon’. It refers to people who dance in groups. It could mean ‘young women’, ‘boys’. Whatever they are, who dances in those groups and how long they last for (in terms of dancing) is what makes them a yazmi. There are two basic types that you can find in Iran.
The ‘Maghru’ is the typical type of belly dancer. They dance in groups of two, three or four. They are very similar to Iranian ‘Aghshal’ belly dancing or Western belly dancing. They dance mostly in front of their own men; they are not very sexual guys. Sometimes, you might see them with their female partners and occasionally girls. Sometimes they are married to men. They don’t often wear a headdress, but they do, especially in the Persian style. They may also wear a cloak called khat-e-nafs which wraps around them to hide their faces. The only dress they wear in public is the typical white gown, a traditional outfit. They also seem to be much, much different from Western males, who wear a suit and tie most of the time.
A little closer inspection will show you that the ‘Aghshal’ is usually dancing solo, often not even with a male partner. In fact, the ‘Aghshal’, or the ‘Dara’sha (Aghshal) are generally the ones who dance solo most of the time.
If there are more than a couple of people there, the ‘Yazmij’ is the other kind of belly dancer. They can be two or more men and sometimes, women. They will often dance together and often take turns in a group. Sometimes, they dance alone together. Sometimes they dance with others on stages. Sometimes they are seen as more aggressive than the ‘Dara’sha’ and some people consider them ‘konya’ (bad). They are definitely different from the ‘Maghru’ and they will often wear head-dresses.
When a person starts to dance and they have a big belly, they are often not very loud. Even
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