Shantae is able to use magical belly dances to cause various magical effects. In Shantae, each dance is a series of dance moves performed in a timed sequence, while in Shantae: Risky's Revenge, the dances are much simplified, with each dance only requiring one move, the moves being cycled by holding down before releasing it when Shantae does the move corresponding to the desired dance. In Shantae: Half-Genie Hero it is done by pressing the dance button then choosing what you want.
Generally, dances are used to make Shantae transform into various animals, but they can also be used to warp her from place to place and even heal herself.
Although her dancing style is certainly mostly fanciful, similarities have been noted with the Turkish Oryantal Dans style of belly dance.Matt Bozon confirmed in a tweet that her belly dancing moves are based on Turkish dance, with elements of Egyptian dance and some more.