Turkish Cabaret Style

Turkish belly dance is also known as Turkish Oriental or Tansi Oryental. It’s a very upbeat style that includes fast turns, pelvic shimmies, floorwork and fluid and creative arms. Some famous Turkish dancers from the past are Princess Banu, Nelja Ates, Nesrin Topkapi  and Tulay Karaca. Modern Turkish bellydancers are Didem and Asena.


Turkish costumes are decorated within an inch of their live. Beautiful flourishes, rhinestones, multicolor fringe in different lengths, drapes, cut-outs, ruffles, patterned fabric, flounces and flourishes. It’s a costuming style that matches the dance style. As Turkish dance is more flirtatious and sexy, the costumes can be quite revealing with high slits, plunging necklines and strategic cut-outs that keeps the audience guessing on how the dancer pulls of moving without showing anything. Dancers typically wear high heels during performances.

The most famous designer of Turkish belly dance costumes is Bella, located in Istanbul. She has a second store located in Ghent, Belgium.

More affordable is Legend Costumes, a business completely run by women.

Folklore and the famous 9/8

Turkish belly dance is related to various Turkish folk dances. One of the most commonly known folk style is the Turkish Romani style. This is the dance style of the Turkish gypsy people. It contains complex foot patterns, expressive pelvic moves and often live music. The music often contains complex rhythmic patterns, like the 9/8 rhythm that is sometimes referred to as Karsilama. The ‘spoon dance’ is also a typical Turkish folk dance, where the dancers hold wooden spoons in their hands that they play during the dance.

DVD resources for Turkish Bellydance

Totally Turkish with Ruby

Raw Roman with Reyhan

Turkish Romani Dance with Elisabeth Strong

Read more about Turkish Oriental dance at the following links

Learn Bellydance Styles: Turkish Oriental – Bellydance University by Lauren Zehara


Travel guides to Istanbul or Turkey for bellydancers 

Istanbul for belly dancers– Shimmy