I think one reason SOME audience members feel uncomfortable with watching male dancers is that they believe the old incorrect stereotype about belly dance originating for the purpose of seducing the sultan, and therefore they see EVERY belly dance performance through that belief system. They then have difficulty determining how to fit a male performer into this stereotype. Assuming him to be gay enables them to keep their stereotypes.
shira, I think that can be part of it, but there is also the contingent that has a hard time seeing any man on stage at all (say nothing of dance, or further of belly dance!)
There *are* a fair number of gay men in theater, and they tend to be more visibly "out" than mainstream society has been.
I think the confidence thing is part of it. Historically, I think that's partly because it was one of the safe places where it was somewhat expected (I won't say accepted, necessarily!) since stage work was "unclean" in it's own right, if you will. but I also think that if you are confident enough to come out about *any* taboo subject in a given society, what's a little stage fright? Conversely, if you're willing to bare your soul on a stage, would you be more likely to be comfortable being true to who you feel you are?
Not all dancers/theater people are gay, not all gays are theater people. Who cares, I want to see some good dancing. State it as fact (because it is) and let the other person deal with it. It's not really up for debate.
the only real problem I have ever seen with male belly dancers was one local male belly dancer whose mother was a belly dancer and he grew up belly dancing since he was a kid. He was in fact gay. but the problem arose when he would flirt with men in front of a man's wife and children, in a very obvious, and out there way.
but other than that, I hate it when male belly dance, even tito, is gay. not that there aren't some of them, just another bd pet peeve of mine I guess
my hubby can't stand it. and everyone that I know of thinks all males who belly dance are gay! but from what I know of, that isn't true. zorba has a wife and I think Tito is too. I believe I have read an article once about male belly dancers in Egypt.
does it frusterate anyone else this stupid myth that is around? because it isn't true. It really gets on my nerves.
Not all male bellydancers are gay. Not all female bellydancers are straight. The assumption annoys me (I hate being taken for granted), but the fact either way doesn't matter. Am I enjoying the dancing is all I really care about.
First of all I don't care anybody's sexuality. If the person is good dancer, he or she is good dancer, and who cars about their sexuality?
Oriental/Belly dance is NOT our culture, but in Egypt its THEIR culture. If you go to Egypt or even go to Egyptian night club, both men, and women move their hips and dance, because this dance IS their culture, and their dance. So we have to respect other culture, and can't judge them by using Western standard for other culture (any culture). However, like Shira said some stereotype of Harem girl seduced sultan and "IMAGE" of the dance make Oriental dance is for only women and if men do it, then people think he might be a gay.
Egyptian dance is "Social dance" and men, women and children dance the same way as we see from professional dancers. However, they do in home or social setting not all of them become professional dancer, but still enjoy at home. Why not many guys become professional Oriental/Belly dancer? (there is many folkloric dancers) I assume that one reason is religion, and other is "Image" or Belly dance. Also even in Cairo, male dancer can't perform Oriental dance (raqs sharki) but only folkloric dance without shake their hips which I heard (except international dance festival such as Nile Group and Ahlan Wa Sahalan) , but in Sharm el Shiek they can perform Oriental, and therefor all male dancers (include Tito) perform there.
Here is Tito's interview about being professional male Oriental/Belly dancer in Egypt. Now he wears tight costume, but (I assume that) not in Egypt (except for Nile Group festival).
Now there is more professional male dancers in Egypt. Like he said if he can dance and he loves dance, why not to become professional dancer?
BTW, Tito has three kids (2 girls and 1 boy) and his son is sooooo cute and he has the same smile as Tito! Tito loves kids.
Not all male bellydancers are gay. Not all female bellydancers are straight.
I think these stereotypes play into one another in an interesting way. Dance, in our society, is often coded as something done by women and bellydance, even more so, is seen by the GP as something done by women for men. So not only do we get a stereotype that male dancers must be gay, there's also a prevailing assumption that a female dancer must be straight. Because ultimately, it's not about us and it's not about the love of dance. It's about the guys (and only the guys, dontcha know?) in the audience.
I think the idea of dance in western society only being for females is rather new, men used to dance in folkloric dances and in pairs with women (was still popular in the 50's and 60's, then ballroom dancing went out). It's just that in the last decades it has become unpopular for men to dance.