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  1. #1
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    Default Exotic Fusion(stripping and belly dance)

    So the thing is, I'm a stripper.
    However, I belly dance also(the genuine kind, not what some people might think of as "stripper belly dancing). I'm still somewhat of a upper level novice, but I'm planning on really focusing on it and practicing more.
    I really want to combine belly dance with exotic dance for my job.
    I love both. Most people of course, view strippers as promiscuous and too dumb to do anything else (think of the way that some people view belly dancing as "not proper"). I know that it's an extreme comparison, and belly dance is nothing like stripping (so don't be offended by thinking that's my point). I'm just saying that, although it is risque, I actually view my job as art. Besides the initial intent of it being erotic, I try to express something more to my audience as well. And I am not a prostitute, I don't have relationships with my customers. I take my job seriously.
    I love belly dance, I think it's sensual and sexy, but yet it's classy and elegant, in a way that has been lost in most mainstream "erotic" dancing. So I wanted to fuse it into my own dancing for the club.
    I have no intentions of advertising it as if its pure "belly dancing" if I fuse it into exotic dance. I would only give credit for it inspiring my dance style, and I wouldn't even do that if you all prefer I don't. I would make sure to inform anyone who I discuss belly dance in relation to my job with knows that all belly dance is not anymore sexual then ballet, and that its only the other dance styles I mixed in that are.
    I have the greatest respect for all of you, which is why I'm bringing it up. I value the community's opinions, and will definitely take them into consideration. So please, tell me your opinion and tell me what kind of guidelines you'd like me to follow (as far as promoting belly dance and what parts to include goes). And please, let's try to keep this mostly about your thoughts on the considered fusion, not my job choice or morals. As much as possible at least.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Personally I would keep both styles completely separate. Sure I see BD movements appearing in MTV singers videos, and they tend to spic them up a bit, but they don't say they are from BD. But I am sure bellydancers would recognise the steps/movements just as salsa etc dancers would recognise steps/movements from their dance style.

    Erotic dance is its own style and another entertainment art form and has possibly been influenced from many different styles over the years, but is not advertised as influenced by ..., don't fuse them. If you do take some movements from BD and spice them up, don't say they are BD inspired. I know in the States dancers have worked very hard to remove the 'labels' from BD & try to keep BD pure and respected. Seeing you love BD just keep them separate.

    Thank you for your honesty.
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  3. #3
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I love belly dance, I think it's sensual and sexy, but yet it's classy and elegant, in a way that has been lost in most mainstream "erotic" dancing. So I wanted to fuse it into my own dancing for the club.
    Please don't. The public confuses the two too much already and you'd just be adding fuel to the fire. You can explain the classiness of fusing belly dance and stripping until you are blue in the face and 99.3% of the public is still going to see your performance as plain old stripping.

    I have nothing in the world against burlesque (I like it) but we already have enough trouble with people equating stripping and belly dance. A couple of months ago I was banned from teaching a very popular belly dance workshop in the school district because a parent equated it with exotic (read erotic) dance and the school district was too sooky la-la to back me up or even let me demonstrate the class to the school board.

    Stripping is exotic dance; belly dance is not. Stripping is adult fare; belly dance is family friendly. Strippers take their clothes off; belly dancers keep theirs on. Stripping appeals to prurient interest; belly dance is far less concerned with (ahem) getting a rise out of the audience. Fusion brings belly dance's rep down, not stripping's rep up. Sad, perhaps, but true. I like to see them kept completely separate.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #4
    Member Starmouth's Avatar
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    I really would rather you didn't! I suppose I would have less of a problem with your using a few belly dancing moves in your routines, as long as it wasn't advertised as belly dance, or anything containing the phrase belly dance. Hip circles, omis and the like are often used in other dance styles anyway so I don't think anyone would automatically equate them with belly dance on sight.

    Like others have said, belly dance has already had its reputation damaged by the belly dancer = stripper belief. I have no problems with stripping, and agree that it can be an art form, but I would rather the two things were not combined. Sometimes it can be hard enough to get the general public to realise belly dance is a legitimate dance and not just a bit of glittery wiggling and jiggling.

    Belly dancers don't want to be seen as strippers. Just as I imagine strippers don't want to be seen as prostitutes!

  5. #5
    Moderator Aziyade's Avatar
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    Please don't play into the harem myth for your club sets by wearing a bellydance costume, dancing to Middle Eastern music, or relying on anything (or any schtick) that alludes to the Middle East.

    First of all, none of the movements of belly dance are "owned" by the cultures of the Middle East, and a great percentage of our movement vocabulary seems to now be shared by contemporary club dancing and other dance forms. Second of all, you're not "fusing" anything really, so don't think of it as fusion. Exotic dancers have for a LONG while shared a movement vocabulary with Polynesian and Middle Eastern dance, and they've played into that until the schtick has been done to death.

    What do you like about belly dance? The musical interpretation? The more internal feeling of how the movements are generated? Just incorporate that technique into your own dance. You don't have to acknowledge or "give credit" to belly dance for your inspiration -- THAT would be what would equate the two forms in the public's eye. (Well that and dressing like a belly dancer.)

    I have a lifetime of ballet experience that definitely gets incorporated into my belly dancing, but I don't have to acknowledge that when I perform. I simply draw out what I like most from the ballet technique and training and use that when I perform. Same applies to any dance. My personal spiritual and religious faith has a great impact on my dancing as well, but since the two are only connected in MY MIND and my heart, I don't need to acknowledge that connection to the public.

    Keep the two dance forms totally separate in your own mind, and in the public's mind too, PLEASE. Like Shan, I've lost teaching gigs because in some person's mind, belly dance was something that was done in the bedroom, not the schools or the boardroom. Avoid the Shakira, I Dream of Jeannie, and harem girl fantasy in costuming, presentation, and staging please please please.

    Try something NEW -- instead of thinking of the same old dried out, age-old fusing of belly dance and burly (or whichever type of dance you specialize in) think of taking your OWN dancing to a higher level by incorporating the good technique and the musical connection from belly dance, but go a different direction with it. Draw your inspiration from performances like those at the Theatrical Bellydance Conference, or An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance, but make it yours and make a new and different kind of art in the process, not some 1930s idea rehashed yet again.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosaic View Post
    Personally I would keep both styles completely separate. Sure I see BD movements appearing in MTV singers videos, and they tend to spic them up a bit, but they don't say they are from BD. But I am sure bellydancers would recognise the steps/movements just as salsa etc dancers would recognise steps/movements from their dance style.
    Yes, the style of dance used by a lot of girls in the hip hop industry (dance hall) definitely has ties to belly dance. I think there were influences in both directions, considering, the modern type of Cabaret emerged about the same time or soon after dance hall got really popular.
    But neither dance claims each other as a source. However, a belly dancer could pull off dance hall within minutes of learning it, although it would be a more contained and poised version.
    Last edited by bdfusion; 08-03-2011 at 06:40 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Please don't. The public confuses the two too much already and you'd just be adding fuel to the fire. You can explain the classiness of fusing belly dance and stripping until you are blue in the face and 99.3% of the public is still going to see your performance as plain old stripping.

    I have nothing in the world against burlesque (I like it) but we already have enough trouble with people equating stripping and belly dance. A couple of months ago I was banned from teaching a very popular belly dance workshop in the school district because a parent equated it with exotic (read erotic) dance and the school district was too sooky la-la to back me up or even let me demonstrate the class to the school board.

    Fusion brings belly dance's rep down, not stripping's rep up. Sad, perhaps, but true. I like to see them kept completely separate.
    I didn't mean to say i was trying to bring stripping's rep up. What I was saying was that I just like it, and when I dance it's me. If that makes any sense. And I was saying I wasn't going to trash it, as in making it "jiggly and wiggly" so to speak.
    The school thing is just a display of how two-faced the American public school system is. When I was in high school, which was only a few years ago, a group of girls would dance around in tiny skirts in front of the whole school, flashing everyone with what was only an excuse for shorts that ended up riding up their rear ends by halfway through the routine anyways.
    So anyways, about belly dance in a strip club environment, I really think it would be a similar situation to stripper "costumes" say like, dressing like a nurse (I wouldn't do this probably, but you know). So just because your doing nurse cosplay doesn't mean that next time they go to the doctor and see one, they'll think it makes sense to request a striptease.
    And unlike nurses being classic erotic cosplay, it's not like thousands of strippers are going to be running around advertising stripper modified "belly dancing." Just myself.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but I'm having a REALLY hard time taking this thread seriously. Whenever someone signs up for this forum and the first thing they do is post a thread that is controversial, I can't help but smell a troll.

    But okay, let me give you the benefit of the doubt.

    First of all, I'd like to know about your experience with belly dance. How long have you been belly dancing? How proficient are you? What style do you do? What do you like about belly dance? What are your goals in belly dance?

    As for the stripping part, I could honestly care less about how you dance as a stripper. I don't care if you pole dance, I don't care if you do ballet moves, I don't care if you Irish step dance, I don't care if you do moves inspired by belly dance. You can do whatever you want according to what you think will satisfy your audience.

    With that said, I am sure your customers could care less about your "influences." Do strip clubs even announce their acts, anyway? Last I checked, the girls just come out, do their thing, and leave. Maybe their stage names are announced. But it's irrelevant what kind of training they have just like their favorite color and dish are irrelevant. I don't think anybody is going to a strip club to get to know you, and they certainly aren't watching you expecting any sort of high Art.

    What I'm trying to get at is that there's no reason to want to "credit" belly dance, and it seems like you'd have to really go out of your way to be able to do that in that kind of environment, so why are you considering doing that?

  9. #9
    Moderator Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdfusion View Post
    And unlike nurses being classic erotic cosplay, it's not like thousands of strippers are going to be running around advertising stripper modified "belly dancing." Just myself.
    I'm curious and want to clarify -- you do realize that the stripper doing bellydance thing is quite common, don't you? Many of us have students in our classes who are also strippers or pole dancers (I'll admit I''m not exactly sure what kind of dancing they do. In my town, it seems to be a lot of topless pole dancing, and the actual "stripping" part of it is minimized.)

    And the reverse -- belly dancer doing stripping -- is also pretty common. Striptease is a popular workshop topic, and companies like World Dance New York are producing instructional dvds on the art, alongside their bellydance dvds.

    There are many quasi-famous belly dancers who also explore striptease and burlesque. Some of them blend the two, but most don't. They have different stage names for each art form, and don't USUALLY teach both at the same workshop or perform both in shows. Most keep the two art forms pretty distinct and separate.

  10. #10
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    bdfusion: Have you asked your teacher what she thinks?

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