Artists from Sting to Shakira are belly dancing onstage

By Lori L. Tharps
Updated October 13, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Following in the footsteps of John Travolta‘s finger-pointing and Michael Jackson‘s moonwalk, the current crew of teen popsters are busting a new move. At last month’s MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears flashed her fab abs in a belly dance/striptease, undulating her hips while crooning ”Oops! … I Did It Again.” Christina Aguilera added her own hip-toss to the Latin Grammys the following week, as did two-time Latin Grammy winner Shakira, who sang her Arabic-influenced ”Ojos Así” while swiveling through a full-on belly dance. And everyone’s favorite tantric sex god, Sting, borrows from the ancient Middle Eastern dance form in his ”Desert Rose” video as Algerian singer Cheb Mami urges him on. What’s making belly dancing so, well, hip? ”People have embraced it because it’s so sexual and so sensual,” offers Backstreet Boys choreographer Fatima. But it’s not as easy as it looks. ”It takes a lot of discipline and a lot of work,” she warns. Guess it’s time to belly up.