The Salimpour Vocabulary, also called the Jamila Vocabulary, was researched and developed by Jamila Salimpour from the 1950s through the 1970s and was the first codified bellydance system. Additions were made by Suhaila Salimpour, with the full approval of Jamila Salimpour, beginning in the early 1970s. The vocabulary steps are categorized by themes into families, and each step has a sentiment and stylization.
In 1978, Aida and Ghanima, two of Jamila’s top students, compiled a general list of vocabulary steps in preparation for one of Jamila’s famous weeklong workshops. Jamila also had Suhaila teach many of the steps on video for the Archive Series: volumes 1-3 filmed in 1980 and volume 4 filmed in 1983. The workshop supplement (which became the de facto manual, The Danse Orientale) and the Archives videos served as the main, albeit not comprehensive, records of the step vocabulary for over 30 years.
In 2008, when she launched the first online belly dance class website, Suhaila included vocabulary content. Jamila begged Suhaila to rewrite the manual to incorporate all the vocabulary steps, and Suhaila published the New Danse Orientale in 2013.