Turkish Belly Dancing & Dancers

Last Updated on July 22, 2022

Belly dancing is popular in Turkey. Night clubs are the most common venues, but belly dancers are also hired göbek atmak (“to toss the belly”) at weddings and special events.

Far from being a resuscitated tourism show, this is a very old art form still enjoyed by Turks of all classes and ages. The dancer is usually a woman with exceedingly well-trained abdominal muscles. She accompanies her moves with clangs on small finger cymbals called zil (Turkish for “cymbal” or “bell”). Belly dancing is not limited to women, however. At any good Turkish belly dance party, at least one brave guy is bound to jump up and throw some moves of his own.

Go to the Hodjapasha Arts & Culture Center in the Sirkeci district of Istanbul for an evening of Turkish traditional dances, including belly dance.


—by Tom Brosnahan

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