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Belly Dance: A Space for Personal Expression – Part of the Symposium The Mashrabiya: Heritage and Future in Architecture

July 21, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Belly Dance: A Space for Personal Expression – A Part of The Mashrabiya: Heritage and Future in Architecture Symposium | Fri. July 21, 2023 | 6:00 – 7:00 pm EDT | In-person Event

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Please join us for the close of The Mashrabiya: Heritage and Future in Architecture symposium with an interactive talk on the history of Middle Eastern dance (“belly dance”) with Habiba, a Philadelphia-based historian, educator, choreographer, and dancer.

The solo interpretive dance that Americans call “belly dance” is actually called raqs al sharqi in the Middle East. It means “Eastern dance.” It is one of the oldest documented dance forms and can be traced back to ancient Egypt. It has a long history as a women’s art form done by professional entertainers at weddings and celebrations of all kinds, but it also has a long history as a social dance that everyone, both men and women, know as soon as they are old enough to stand. Belly dance has attracted adherents around the globe because it is a perfect vehicle for women to express their femininity and their strength.

In the Middle East, dance and music are inseparable from daily life, a vital part of virtually all celebrations and family gatherings.  In the belly dance performance, the dancer actually “becomes” the music through movements of the torso, hips, and arms. Habiba will trace the long history of the dance and invite the audience to participate in some basic movements.


Portrait of Habiba

Habiba is internationally recognized as a performer, choreographer, teacher and lecturer on dances of the Middle East.  She has performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad in nightclubs and on concert stages. She is a leading researcher of the dances of Egypt and Tunisia and teaches belly dance as well as the traditional folkloric dances that have been performed and passed down for many years. As a result of her fieldwork she has published numerous articles for national dance magazines.

To learn more, visit: www.habibastudio.com






This event is free to the public. The Museum for Art in Wood interprets, nurtures, and champions creative engagement and expansion of art, craft, and design in wood to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of it. A suggested donation of $5 per person enables us to provide programs and exhibitions throughout the year.


Questions? Please contact Katie Sorenson, Director of Outreach and Communications, at [email protected].

To learn more about The Mashrabiya Project and Seeing Through Space, click HERE.

The Mashrabiya Project has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


Special thanks go to:
Bresler Foundation
Rockler Tools for in-kind support

The exhibition program at the Museum is generously supported by members of the Cambium Giving Society of the Museum for Art in Wood, the Bresler Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, William Penn Foundation, and Windgate Foundation.

Corporate support is provided by Boomerang, Inc. and Sun-Lite Corporation.


July 21, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Museum for Art in Wood


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