A Belly Dancer Dances for British Troops on Cyprus, 1964
In this photo from 1964, a belly dancer entertains British troops on the island of Cyprus, which is located in the eastern Mediterranean near Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. The dancer in this photograph is not from the Middle East, but rather from Great Britain, specifically Middlesex. Belly dancing was a minor fad in the UK and the US in the ‘60s, and this dancer is wearing an outfit typical of belly dancers, or at least the way we understand them today.
Belly dancing has its origins in the Middle East, although exactly where is unknown. It is considered an indigenous dance, that is focused on the movements of the muscles in the torso, not the limbs. It is believed to have been brought to Spain from Lebanon sometime during the time of the Phoenicians, a period which lasted from the 11th Century BC until the 5th Century BC. However, the name ‘belly dancing’ had its origins much later. The first known usage of the term ‘belly dance’ referred to the performance of the Middle Eastern dancers at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1893.