The dance form we call “belly dancing” is derived from traditional women’s dances of the Middle East and North Africa. Women have always belly danced, at parties, at family gatherings, and during rites of passage. A woman’s social dancing eventually evolved into belly dancing as entertainment (”Dans Oryantal” in Turkish and “Raqs Sharqi” in Arabic). Although the history of belly dancing is murky prior to the late 1800s, many experts believe its roots go back to the temple rites of India. Probably the greatest misconception about belly dance is that it is intended to entertain men. Because segregation of the sexes was common in the part of the world that produced belly dancing, men often were not allowed to be present.