Belly dance show of the magical Marrakech

Belly dance show

   In Marrakech, Shikat, as the Belly dance show is known in the region, is a spectacle that attracts visitors from all over the world. The brightly colored costumes of the professional dancers and the sensuality of their pelvic movements exert a special enchantment on the spectators. The dance is hypnotic for those who contemplate it. It is accompanied by percussion music that alternates faster rhythmic sections with slower ones.

   In the Moroccan capital, there are many offers of shows in places that promise the best performances. It is a good way to enjoy this unique art. But the way Moroccans live it and integrate it into their daily life is perceived with greater authenticity if you attend a local party or a wedding. In this ceremony, the guests dance dressed in the typical kaftans.

History and origins of a seductive dance

   Belly dancing is common in different countries of the Middle East and North Africa. There are many variations of this type of dance based on the seductive movements of the belly and hips. It is a fusion of different styles of ethnic folk dances.

   Images of similar choreographies have been found in pharaonic tombs of ancient Egypt and in murals of the Neolithic sanctuaries of Catal Huyuk in Turkey. The origins are not entirely clear, but what is known is that this type of dance is related to the theme of fertility, the earth, and the magical powers attributed to women for their ability to give birth to new lives.

   The denomination of belly dance began to be used in the 19th century. It was the name given to it by European travelers. The exoticism of the dance, so different from the western modalities, impressed them from the first moment and contributed to expanding its fame far from its natural borders. Previously it was known as Oriental Dance. In Arab countries, the most elementary form of dance, based on simple movements of the hips, coexists with other more sophisticated ones, where all parts of the body acquire prominence.

   The erotic and mystical components of the Belly dance show are evident. This ancient artistic specialty is increasingly practiced in the West, although it is not well regarded by Muslim fundamentalists. In countries where Islamism is strongest, the dance is forbidden in public places and is practiced clandestinely in certain places. But this is not the case in Morocco, where it is totally permitted, enjoys great acceptance, and is a favorite attraction for tourists.

Particularities of the belly dance in Morocco

Shikat has always been linked to the celebration of life through the womb as the fertilizing center. The Moroccan variant of belly dance is characterized by sensual movements of the hips, pelvis, arms, and hands. Professional dancers wear brightly colored costumes with sequined tops and long skirts or loose pants. Exotic jewelry is also used, including belts made of coins that, in the past, constituted the wealth of the entire family. Other accessories used during the Belly dance shows in Morocco include swords, snakes, large glasses, and even huge candelabras with lighted candles.

   A light cloth is often worn on the hips to draw attention to the movements of the lower body. Faster wiggles, to the rhythm of the percussion, alternate with softer and more undulating ones. Very old instruments called crótalos (made of brass, also known as zills) are used. The dance is generally practiced barefoot, a way of emphasizing the physical connection between the dancers and Mother Earth.

   The choreography changes slightly whether attending a party or a traditional Moroccan wedding. At the wedding celebration, the guests wear kaftans, typically long, loose-fitting dresses with bell-shaped sleeves and beautiful embroidery. The custom at these gatherings is for one woman to dance in the center of a circle, surrounded by the others, who applaud her to the rhythm of the music. The men present kneel in a circle and encourage the woman to continue her solitary and intoxicating dance.

Where to see belly dance shows in Marrakech

In Marrakech, you can enjoy belly dancing shows in many regional and cultural festivals, but the most common when traveling to the city is to go to restaurants and private clubs specializing in this type of performance. In the ancient imperial city, this seductive dance was mainly used to please the sultans and enliven weddings. Today it is valued as an artistic expression and the dancers demonstrate their skills, style, and mastery at numerous festivals throughout the country. Demonstrations are also very frequent in private performances for groups.

   Belly dancing harks back to the legends of the Thousand and One Nights, but it has also become a fashionable dance that women from other parts of the world are eager to learn. In the more modern and cosmopolitan Marrakech, there are clubs and restaurants where the dance is a definite attraction for visitors.

Restaurants where to dine and enjoy belly dancing

   The Hivernage district, where many hotels are located, is an area to visit in search of a good performance. If you want to accompany an exquisite dinner, you should note the address of the restaurant Le Comptoir Darna, on Avenue Echouhada. It is a very chic place, fashionable in the capital’s nightlife circuits. It stands out for its modern decor, good value for money, and the strength of the show.

   Other options are Le Marrakchi and Dar Nejjarine, both in the surroundings of the famous Jemaa El Fna Square. The former is a restaurant overlooking this setting in the heart of Marrakech. It offers dishes prepared with traditional recipes and there is a belly dance show every night. The second is the former residence of a governor and now an elegant riad. In the surroundings, food, music, and dance delight visitors.

   Nearby, on the Place des Ferblantiers, is Le Taneja. In its space, with panoramic views of the spectacular Koutoubia Mosque and the rooftops of the Red City, you can enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner, enlivened by music and a Belly dance show.

A movie set in the heart of the medina

   The popularity of the Dar Essalam restaurant is due to the impact of the film. A scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Man Who Knew Too Much was shot here. Although the establishment has several rooms, the most famous among visitors is the K’Dim Room, where Doris Day and James Stewart sat down for some of the film shots. This space is the oldest and most refined of the premises, with a traditional Moroccan style.

   In addition to Hitchcock, famous people including the statesman Winston Churchill and the French musician Charles Trenet dined at this opulent royal restaurant in the medina (170 Riad Zitoun Kedim). In its facilities, you can enjoy a typical Moroccan meal. It is accompanied by a number of performances featuring musicians and belly dancers from across the nation. Film lovers visiting Marrakech do not usually miss a dinner in this magical setting.

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