Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

A Review of

Intermediate Belly Dancing

by Vicki Corona


This book is out of print. The review remains on this web site to assist those who may be considering purchasing a copy through used-book sources.




This book offers how-to information on belly dancing. It provides a little bit of cultural information about Saudi Arabia, explains how to do 18 intermediate-level dance moves, has two pages on how to dance with a veil, offers 2 1/2 pages of finger cymbal rhythms, and how to dance for an audience. It then describes how to put the moves described in this book together into an intermediate-level dance. It finishes with a recipe for tabbouleh, which is an Arabic salad.



Fact Sheet


Intermediate Belly Dancing


Vicki Corona




Dance Fantasy Productions


Non-Fiction: How to Belly Dance



Number of Pages


Published In





On the surface, this book claims to be instructional information for intermediate belly dance students. But it's an odd collection of things, and very short, only 24 pages.

The book opens with a 3-page lesson in the history and culture of Saudi Arabia.

It then moves on to describe with text and line drawings how to do 18 intermediate-level belly dance moves. The information is valid, though I do think it's difficult to learn how to do dance moves from written text.

A two-page section on veil suggests some American-style veil moves. The ones it chooses tend to be in the peek-a-boo style of veil work.

The section on finger cymbals provides instructions on how to play assorted variations on the basic maqsoum rhythm, which many U.S.-trained drummers refer to as baladi.

I feel the best part of the book is the 3-page section on performing etiquette. This segment contains many tips that will enable the perform to establish positive audience rapport.

A five-page section titled "Intermediate Choreography Suggestions" offers ideas on how to assemble individual dance moves into a 3-part dance routine consisting of entrance, veil work, and finale.

The final page of the book contains a recipe for tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad made with parsley.



Is It Right for You?


You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • You are a collector of books about belly dance.


This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You are expecting a full-length book.
  • You're looking for a book filled with advice on the many aspects of belly dancing.
  • You prefer to focus on the Egyptian style of belly dance.



What I Liked, What I Didn't


What I Liked:

  • The section on performing skills contains many helpful tips. It's clear that the author has experience in this realm. This section is what motivated me to rate this book as two stars instead of one.
  • In the section, on how to do various movements, the drawings do a helpful job of illustrating what the text is saying.
  • Although it's very difficult to learn belly dance from the written word, the author described the moves well.
  • The spelling, grammar, and clear expression of ideas are all well-presented. That was a pleasant surprise - many self-published books are filled with spelling and grammatical errors because there is no professional editor to make corrections.


What I Didn't Like:

  • The booklet is small (24 pages) and cheaply produced.
  • It grates on my nerves that the author uses the term "triplet" to refer to the finger cymbal rhythm that would be verbalized as tek-a-TEK, or referred to by some using the name gallop. Any trained musician knows that music already has a term "triplet" which not the same thing as this finger cymbal rhythm, and it drives me nuts to see people spreading this ignorance around.
  • It's very peculiar that the "culture lesson" part of this book focuses on Saudi Arabia with a brief mention of United Arab Emirates. Belly dancing is not performed publicly at all in Saudi Arabia. It would have been much more appropriate to focus the culture lesson on either Egypt, Turkey, or Lebanon, because these countries are the ones where belly dance has a history of being performed in public
  • The layout of the book is sloppy. There is no table of contents, and no clear structure of chapters. It needs more section headings. The fonts used for the various headings are inconsistent with each other in both size and typeface. The "Introduction" section flows from introductory comments into a description of Saudi Arabia, and from there suddenly into how to do chest snaps. Huh?
  • The artwork sprinkled throughout the book is appealing, but seems to be a mish-mash of different artists' styles. Consistency would have been better.
  • There is no attribution of who drew the artwork, which disappoints me. Artists deserve to have their contributions recognized.
  • The style of veil work it offers is the stereotypical peek-a-boo harem fantasy style.
  • It's odd seeing written instructions for choreography without any indication of which song it is intended to fit. A very basic characteristic of belly dancing is that it illustrates the music, and the notion of learning a routine that can be danced to any random music the dancer chooses is just, uh, odd. This routine would be okay used for drills to a steady drum rhythm, but I'd rather not see anybody trying to perform it with a song.




When my copy of this book arrived in the mail and I opened the box, my first reaction was, "I paid $14.95 plus shipping for that????" This isn't a book, it's a booklet. We're talking 8 pieces of paper (one of which is the cover) folded down the middle with 3 staples as the "spine." The "cover" is a piece of colored paper that's the same weight as the pages. I read the whole thing in less than 2 hours from beginning to end, and that included time for me to stop and try doing some of the moves described.

The dance moves are well-described, though I do think it's difficult to learn a dance move from the written word. I agree with the section on performing advice. So even though this booklet is very short, it's not bad. If you can find it for a low price, you might find some helpful tips in it. But don't expect to get a full-length book.




There is nothing to disclose. I have never had any contact with anyone associated with this book.





Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Product Reviews >
Index to Book Reviews


Share this page!

On Facebook


  Top > Belly Dancing > Product Reviews > Index to Book Reviews

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |