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June 11, 2013

The Authentic Moroccan Tray Dance: American Belly Dancer in Orlando Explains

Whether a Professional Belly dancer in Orlando or not, this owner of Bellydance By Jennifer Inc was astounded a few weeks ago when upon reading in a book the true origins of The Authentic Moroccan Tray Dance.

You see, I have always been awed and fascinated by the beautiful balancing acts dancers do with candles, flowers, or even cakes on their head that are placed on top of a Moroccan tray. Being young and a modern dancer, I innocently had thought this was the “tradition”, but the tray balance act we belly dancers do with candles and galore is not the true traditional way to dance with the tray. The candles and such is an Americanized custom that was developed.


The true origins of the Moroccan tray balance act stems from the traditional Moroccan tea ceremony.   The tea ceremony and tea in general is a HUGE deal in Morocco and any guest to a Moroccan home will automatically be offered tea.

Tea is so important in fact that it is considered an art form in this part of the world. The tea is prepared most commonly by the head of the family through an intricate ceremony in which the tea leaves are combined with boiling water and A LOT of sugar and the mixture is filtered into a separate tea pot several times until the perfect balance is achieved. Sounds simpler when I generalize like this but this is quite the process and takes a little chunk of time to do (especially without spills).

The pouring of the tea is quite a spectacle as the pourer slowly raises the kettle upwards to high distances as it is pouring liquid into the cup. If the pourer is successful in not spilling any tea as he/she does this then they are considered to be quite skilled and given higher respect. See the process here:

This brings me now to the whole balancing and dance part. On the tray you only have the kettle and glasses. This is what would literally be balanced on one’s head for entertainment.

So when a belly dancer wants to do an authentic tray dance she thus needs to have a) a Moroccan tea tray  b) a tea kettle   c) tea glasses, that’s it. Authentic Moroccan tea sets are available online for purchase.

Anything beyond these items is not considered authentic and is in fact an Americanized version of Authentic Moroccan Tray Dance. Hope you enjoyed this piece of informational, now onto learning how to dance with kettles and glasses on a tray!

Look at this beautiful dancer balancing the tray while performing some acrobat feats!

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