Belly Dancing – a type of solo dance that has its origins in the Middle East – has become a widely popular form of recreational and competitive dance the world over. Durban’s foremost dance show, Shall We Dance, once again showcases this centuries-old dance form with ten belly dancers from four different dance studios.


Introducing the Raqs Arabia belly dancers…

Known as Raqs Sharqi (‘Eastern dance’) in Arabic, belly dancing comprises different forms, featuring different costumes, specific to different regions in the Middle East. Cairo in Egypt is generally considered the ‘headquarters’ of belly dance, and it’s here that Senta Duffield, the Chairlady of SADTA Belly Dance, and the director of the Maya Dance Company, has trained extensively in this intricate performing art. Duffield has been teaching belly dancing for eleven years, completed her SADTA training to fellow level in 2009, and has choreographed the belly dancing numbers for Shall We Dance since 2006. This year, she heads up Shall We Dance’s belly dance troupe, Raqs Arabia.

Along with Duffield, Raqs Arabia comprises ten belly dancers from four different schools – Belly Free Dance Studio, Belly Divas, Maya Dance Company and Raqs Sharqi Dance Company. All the talented dancers in the troupe do extensive SADTA belly dance exams and/or competition training.

Authentic Middle Eastern belly dancing

SADTA’s dance teachers are passionate about dance, and Senta Duffield is no different – apart from teaching belly dance to dancers of all ages in Durban, she runs annual belly dance tours to Egypt, where belly dance enthusiasts get to experience belly dance as an art form, and the authentic Middle Eastern culture from which it emerged. In addition, she’s judged many regional and national belly dance competitions, and has written a book on dance healing entitled Dancing With Your Skeletons, published internationally by Balboa Press and self-published locally. Duffield sits on the KZN Women in Business Committee, was awarded the Umhlanga Women Achiever Award in 2013, and was a finalist in the KZN Women in Business Award in 2012.

Lucille Kambarran will be assisting Duffield with choreography for Shall We Dance’s 2016 season – she’s been belly dancing for ten years, has performed in four seasons of Shall We Dance, as well as in various other dance productions across the country, and is now developing her choreography skills.

See our belly dancers at Shall We Dance, 9-17 September, The Opera Theatre, The Playhouse, Durban. Buy tickets now!