Early on in my romance with Oriental and belly dance, I bought every book I could find on the subject in college, but because I was a poor student, I learned most of what I knew about the history of the dance, how to make costume pieces, marketing myself, and learning about wonderful belly and Oriental dancers from around the world and back in time via Google. Here’s a roundup of my first six favorite most-frequented websites for belly dance information and inspiration:
- Shira.net: About as deep as the Dead Sea, chockfull of useful articles and images on Oriental and belly dance history, how-tos, Costume Goddess advice (which I wish I had followed before I started adventurously making my first costume disasters) and answers to questions you may be too embarrassed to ask as a baby belly dancer. Definitely bookmark this treasure trove!
- The Gilded Serpent: A longtime online magazine of all things Oriental and belly dance, including thoughtful original research, gossipy columns, reviews, and blog posts from dancers all over the world. Worth subscribing to the Snake Bytes newsletter for the newest stories to land in your inbox!
- Bhuz: The ultimate belly dance forums! These ladies (and a few gentlemen) have attitude, knowledge they are happy to drop on you, and years of threads archived for your perusing pleasure, and in many languages. They also have an excellent swapmeet forum which I regularly haunt for costume steals.
- Princess Farhana’s Blog: Written as if your big sister were giving you practical tips to look, dance, and feel fabulous, Princess Farhana’s blog posts are user-friendly and full of examples, especially the how-tos!
- Journey Through Egypt: Sahra Saeeda, an amazingly accomplished Oriental dancer and ethnographic researcher, has poured much of her adult life into learning everything there is to know about the dances of Egypt. Her website is full of useful articles on the history of different folkloric dances, from the urban Shaabi to sweeping and high energy Fellahin.
- Kisses From Kairo Blog: Raqs sharqi is not all sweetness and light, and Luna’s missives from Cairo, as one of the few American dancers currently performing there regularly, through political instability, an economic downturn, prove that. A fascinating, sobering inside look of how Oriental dance really works in Egypt today.