Belly Dance or Bellydance?

You may have noticed that the word ‘bellydance’ is spelled either as two words (belly dance) or one word (bellydance). Which one is correct, or are they both correct?

The spelling that seems to be considered ‘correct’ in professional journalism is the two-word version: belly dance. This is the form used most often in newspaper and magazine articles (in print or on-line), as well as being the official version in ‘spell-check’.

I personally prefer the one word spelling: bellydance. There’re a couple of reasons for this. One reason is its’ similarity to the Arabic word ‘beledi’, also spelled ‘ballady’ or ‘baladi’ (Arabic uses different letters than the English alphabet, so there can be several different interpretations of spelling for each Arabic word translated into English).

Beledi means ‘country’ (as opposed to ‘city’ or ‘urban’) and is often used to describe the traditional music and dance of Egypt. So as a heartfelt and respectful acknowledgment to the great influence of traditional Arabic dance in Classic American Bellydance, I like to spell it as ‘bellydance’ – an American offspring of beledi.

There are other dance forms that use a two-word spelling: tap dance, ballroom dance, modern dance, etc. To me, American bellydance is such a unique dance form that I think it deserves its’ own special one-word name. I may often spell it as two words to be ‘politically correct’, but in my heart, it’s always Bellydance! ?

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