Home > Terminology


This is a brief explanation of the terms we use to organize the videos on Datura Online. There may be other terminology or definitions you use, no problem. We’re all a little different. Use this as a reference to help you find the material you're looking for. Videos are organized by Teacher and also by these main categories:

Style | Level | Topics | Class Type


American Cabaret
American Cabaret Belly Dance has developed its own distinctive theatrical style, often using traditional Turkish and Egyptian movements to modern or traditional music. American Cabaret Belly Dance is popular in restaurants and street festivals, and is known for props used while dancing and encouraging audience interaction.

American Tribal Style®
American Tribal Style® Belly Dance is a modern style of belly dance created by FatChanceBellyDance® director, Carolena Nericcio. American Tribal Style® Belly Dance is clearly defined and documented with the primary characteristics being that of group improvisation, a distinct vocabulary and costume, and specific guidelines for leading and following.

FatChanceBellyDance®, FCBD®, ATS® and American Tribal Style®, are federally registered trademarks of FatChanceBellyDance, Inc. For more information, please visit here.

Classic Egyptian
Raqs Sharqi, literally meaning “Eastern Dance,” is the classic Egyptian style of Belly Dance that developed during the first half of the 20th century. Based on traditional folk styles and informed by western influences such as marching bands, the Russian Ballet, Latin dance, etc., this hybrid style was primarily performed in the cabarets of Egypt and in early Egyptian cinema.

Contemporary Belly Dance refers to Belly Dance with a strong influence from modern or contemporary dance.

This very general category can refer to any type of Belly Dance that is fused with any other dance form.

Indian Dance
Indian dance forms are as varied as the multitudes of cultures and ethnic groups in India. Styles range from classical forms such as Odissi, Khatak and Bharatanatyam to many folk dance forms including Kalbelia, the dance of Rajasthani tribal nomadic "gypsies", as well as popular dance forms such as Bollywood and Bhangra. We present here a humble selection of classes in some of these dance traditions and fusions of these traditions with other dance forms including belly dance.

Improvisational Tribal Style (ITS)
Improvisational Tribal Style (ITS) belly dance is a group of dancers with tribal style bellydance roots composing choreography on the spot (i.e., improvising) through previously arranged cued moves. Solos are performed, but are generally supported in a group environment.

Tribal Fusion
This is a style of dance that originated around the year 2000. Often it fuses American Cabaret with American Tribal styles, but is known to fuse contemporary, Indian, and Hip Hop influences into its style. Classes are usually high energy, with a strong focus on strength and flexibility.

Tribal Style
Tribal Style Belly Dance is derived from the term American Tribal Style®. The philosophy is often similar, but the vocabularies may differ. It is a modern style of bellydance with the primary characteristic being that of a shared vocabulary, strong posture and arms, and a strong emphasis on improvisation.

Pilates is an exercise system that is a wonderful complement to Belly Dance because of its focus on posture, alignment, and strengthening. Pilates conditions the muscles that aid in your dance technique as well as those other muscles that will keep your body balanced in order to prevent injury.

Optimizing your body's functional movement patterns will improve anything you do, especially with dance. Increase flexibility and joint stability in these practices designed for Belly Dancers or anyone who shares those fitness goals.

Any Style
These videos are appropriate for dancers of any dance style. They range from classes for preparation and compensation to classes that are suitable to develop general knowledge and experience of Belly Dance.


Suitable for those who have never danced in their life! This is square one. Doesn't guarantee it'll be easy, but watch and practice a lot and you'll get it. These videos were made to be watched over and over… and over… so have fun and take your time.

Beginner / Intermediate
It helps to have a little bit of experience for these videos, and is appropriate for those with more than a little bit.

An "intermediate" dancer in this context has a solid foundation in the fundamentals and feels relatively comfortable learning combinations.

Intermediate / Advanced
A slightly faster pace than Intermediate, and offers lots of changes and different movements. Chock full, so get ready!

More complex, layered, and quick paced, these classes require strength and stamina. Lots of fun for the brain and body.

This category applies to movements that can be learned early on in your Belly Dance experience, and require consistent work to keep strong technique. All levels of dancers would benefit from working with these classes.


Warm Up
Warm up classes help you prepare for intense training and drills, and often include conditioning exercises that are essential for healthy Belly Dance. Dive in!

Strength and flexibility are essential to strong Belly Dance technique. If you love working on that, you'll love conditioning. 

Cool Down
Moving from Belly Dance back to the real world can leave you pretty excited! Take a moment to relax, deeply stretch the muscles you just worked, and luxuriate in breathing deeply. Good for your body, and great for your mind and heart. 

These classes will get your heart rate up with belly dance and fitness based routines. You may want to have some water and a towel nearby!

Drills are more than just creating new muscle memory for technique, improvisation and choreography; they are a ton of sweaty fun. Be sure you're good and warmed up, and drill down into some strong dancing!

Technique is to dance as pronunciation is to speech: the clearer your pronunciation, the better people can hear what you're saying. To work on strong and beautiful technique, click on these videos. 

The word "combination" refers to any combination of movements, from 8 to about 64 counts in length, that can be used for choreography, improvisation, or just plain improving technique. They could be considered mini-choreographies and have a wide application.

Props for Belly Dance can refer to any object that is manipulated for theatrical use. The most common are balancing swords, candelabras, or dancing with a veil. Props can add excitement and drama to Belly Dance performances, as long as you know your prop like the back of your hand, so practice often!

Zils, or finger cymbals, are a classic rhythmic companion and embellishment for belly dance. Zils add a wonderful dimension to any belly dance performance, providing excitement and a celebratory feel while highlighting the rhythms in the music. As with any musical instrument, it takes time to develop a level of proficiency and technique to allow you to play while dancing.

Fundamentals refer to the foundational movements in Belly Dance, and beginners and advanced dancers alike return to them again and again to get and stay strong. 

Strong musical interpretation is one of the definitive features of Belly Dance. Deepen your understanding about the relationship between music and dance with this material. 

These classes will teach movements that you can add to your vocabulary for improvisation or choreography.

Learn partial or full dances for fun or performance.

Improvisation can refer to a structured set of movements, strung together in an unplanned order, or it can refer to a completely free style of Belly Dance. These classes will demonstrate a wide range of approaches to steps or movements that can be used for getting into music and going with the flow, whether in front of 1,000 people or alone in your room. Let go and enjoy!

Class Type

These mini-classes focus on one thing at a time, and really help you get the gist of the subject.

Full Classes
Warm up, conditioning, topic, cool down… it's all here, just like you'd take in a regular studio.

These are longer and more in-depth classes that are great for a kick-start, to go deeper into a subject, or to revisit as part of your regular schedule.

Multiple classes that sequentially build on work from the previous class. Schedule these once weekly, do one every day for a week before you switch, or try them one right after the other if you're hard core.

Belly Dance and fitness classes to fit your style, schedule, and budget.  Anytime.  Anywhere.