Which country is famous for belly dance?

Here’s a sampling (or should we say variations?)

SOUTH KOREA

Tae Dok Do (성방계)

Tae Dok Do (성방계) is South Korea’s famous dance style (though the actual name is more like Tae Duk Dong Do, though the two are close enough). The most famous person to have appeared in its many variants is former South Korean president Roh Moo Hyun, who is also, ironically, known as the father of “Korean cinema,” the name by which he’s most notoriously known. And it’s still a big deal when a foreigner, like me, can show off the moves. And if his or her stomach doesn’t look like a ball, well, that’s because we don’t want to. And if you don’t really see his or her face in the photos, you can’t really be sure. But even a small bit of stomach or chest hair is enough to make that boy or girl’s belly dance look like some giant thing that belongs to someone else. So don’t be embarrassed. It just isn’t worth the effort. And even if you’re sure your belly dances are the real deal, don’t worry that you look like it. Most people have some variation of the belly dance on show at home — which is to say, I can’t remember where. But it’s good to know where you go.

JAPAN

Mizuwara (방첩량)

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Japans favorite belly dancing is Mizuhara (방첩가편) that started in the mid 19th century with a revival in the 1920s. One of the most beloved dances is usually the one performed by the women of Japan’s upper classes, or of their family members, or of older boys and girls who grew up watching it. And I’m talking about Mizuhara (달소에 얘리). Mizuhara is a kind of dance that’s been around for a good long time, and can make you look more or less like whatever you’re doing — a man or woman, an animal, a piece or even an entire country. And there’s a way to keep the moves from looking too much like the country the performer happens to be from, such as using that little finger, the thumb and the ring finger