Abaya is the Arabic word for dress. It is often used to describe the traditional more loose-fitting long dresses from the Middle East. They can be with or without opening the front and bands around the waist.
Oriental dancers use these traditional dresses called abaya for performances of oriental folk dances. Belly dancers also use the abaya as a cover up over their dance costume. In order to easily cover up while waiting to go on stage or between shows. For this purpose, an abaya with a opening in the front is preferable.