Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Earl "Snake Hip" Tucker's 1920s Dance & Male Belly Dancing

Edited by Azizi Powell

While surfing YouTube, I happened upon a 1920 video of Earl Snakehip Tucker and videos of male belly dancers. The undulating, snake like movements of the belly dancers seem very similar to Snakehip Tucker's movements. What do you think?

Video #1: Earl "Snake Hips" Tucker 1920s

Uploaded by drchilledair on May 4, 2011

Video #2: Tito Egyptian male Raks Sharki (Oriental Dance/belly Dance)

Uploaded by 6969aaaaa on Sep 1, 2006

SONG: Bi Basatta by Saber Robai.

What we call belly dance is a theatrical version of the social folk dance done in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. Its an expression of celebration and fun done by both sexes.

The perofessional [sic] version we are use to seeing was developed in the nightclubs of Cairo in the 1930's. It has been done almost exclucively by women because it is tied into the tourism market where the majority of the customers in the nightclubs are male. In recent years, men have began to join their sisters on stage as well. The first modern male dancers began in the U.S.A. in the late '60's and 1970's, then spreading to Europe in the '80's and '90's. Now the numbers of male dancers is increasing world wide.

Tito Seif known as Egypt's only professional male Oriental/belly dancer. He is the most acclaimed Oriental dancer in Egypt's popular resort town Sharm el Sheikh in the Sianai.

He is being sought out more and more in Cairo and Alexandria to perform in weddings and othere special eventsI. When I spoke to him this summer he was on his way to perform at a saint day celebration in Alexandria. I filmed this performance in Giza, July 2005.

I've been told that there are at least two more guys performing in Egypt's Red Sea resort towns, but I haven't seen them. In any case, Tito is definately the first man in modern times to perform this dance in a professional, rather than social setting for the general public, Egyptian and foriegn alike

Video #3: Rachid Alexander, Best Male Belly Dance

Uploaded by sashdi on Sep 23, 2009

Rachid performing a classic egyptian dance
music: lylet hob and baladi
contact info:

video made by Robert stephan, Germany


An uploader comment of a 2008 video of Rachid Alexander indicated that he is from the Caribbean nation of Curacao, and lives in Holland as of that date.


Here's some information about Snakehips Tucker from

Earl "Snakehips" Tucker (1905 – 1937) became known as the "Human Boa Constrictor" after the dance he popularized in Harlem in the 1920s called the "snakehips (Dance)".

Tucker frequented Harlem music clubs and was a regular at the Savoy Ballroom. He built his reputation by exhibiting his odd style of dance, which involved a great deal of hip motion. The snakehips dates back to southern plantations before emancipation.

Tucker would make it appear that he was as flexible as a snake, and eventually the dance became his calling card.

YouTube also has a sound file of a 1923 record entitled snakehips, and a video of a late 1920s White American vaudeville performance of "snakehips".


Here's some additional information about belly dancing from

Belly dance or Bellydance is a "Western"-coined name for a traditional "Middle Eastern" dance, especially raqs sharqi (Arabic: رقص شرقي‎).[citation needed] It is sometimes also called Middle Eastern dance or Arabic dance in the West, or by the Greco-Turkish term çiftetelli (Greek: τσιφτετέλι).

The term "Belly dance" is a translation of the French "danse du ventre" which was applied to the dance in the Victorian era. It is something of a misnomer as every part of the body is involved in the dance; the most featured body part usually is the hips. Belly dance takes many different forms depending on country and region, both in costume and dance style, and new styles have evolved in the West as its popularity has spread globally. Although contemporary forms of the dance have generally been performed by women, some of the dances, particularly the cane dance, have origins in male forms of performance.

Raqs sharqi (Arabic: رقص شرقي‎; literally "Dance of the Near East") is the style more familiar to Westerners, performed in restaurants and cabarets around the world. It is more commonly performed by female dancers but is also sometimes danced by men. It is a solo improvisational dance, although students often perform choreographed dances in a group.

Raqs baladi, (Arabic: رقص بلدي‎; literally "dance of country", or "folk" dance) is the folkloric style, danced socially by men and women of all ages in some Middle Eastern countries, usually at festive occasions such as weddings.


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