The term "belly dance" is a translation of the French term "danse du ventre", which was applied to the dance in the Victorian era, and referred to Egyptian and oriental female dances.
In Arabic, the dance is known as Raqs Sharqi ("Eastern Dance") or as Raqs Baladi in Egyptian Arabic ("Country Dance" or "Folk Dance").
Belly dance is primarily a torso-driven dance, with an emphasis on articulations of the hips. Unlike many Western dance forms, the focus of the dance is on isolations of the torso muscles, rather than on movements of the limbs through space. Although some of these isolations appear similar to the isolations used in jazz ballet, they are sometimes driven differently and have a different feeling or emphasis.