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  1. #1
    Member Ahava_Melantha's Avatar
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    Default asexual dancing?

    is there really such a thing as asexual dancing?

    i have noticed many women in the dance community who want to completely deny the tiniest hint of sensuality in the dance to the point of making it . . . . .sterile.


    what is your take on this?

    forget the naysayers and revel in the femininity and sensuality of the dance?

    would love your input

  2. #2
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    If the music is sensual, follow that sensuality - its neither masculine nor feminine (although the audience can add their own expectations or interpretations to what they see). If a woman feels she is being more feminine by being sensual, then embrace it and show your sensuality. But don't confuse sensual with being feminine. Men are sensual too, and express it in the same way.The music brings out what's inside. A woman can express the music that a man plays, and a man can dance to the music a woman creates. Music is music. Its the audience that adds the gender.

    Dance is expressing the music through the body. But finding that connection to the music can be such a liberating feeling that sometimes a dancer forgets that they are expressing the music through their body, and start to express their body through the music. This can then turn the dance into something sexual, which IMO is not sensual. But also that connection with your body can, after years of denial or ignorance, feel uncomfortable, shameful and scary. The dancer might pull back from expressing themselves for fear of judgement, lack of confidence or being too self conscious, making the dance more stilted.

    There is also the bigger issue of whether bellydance has a sexual stereotype, and whether it deserves it or not. A dancer might be attempting to make themselves or the dance look more 'respectable' (for whatever personal reason) within the particular venue that they are performing in.

    I don't think I've seen a dancer consciously deny the sensuality in the music. If I feel its missing, then I interpret it as lack of experience/skill, lack of confidence/nerves, not realizing that its okay/safe to do so, or the dancer interpreting the music in a way I'm not expecting/hoping for.

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    People see belly dance being associated with stripping and sex, and instead of recognizing the multifaceted, complex nature of this dance they go in the opposite direction and deny that there is any sensuality or sexuality to it whatsoever.

    Personally I don't like to purposely overplay sensuality, nor do I like to overly tame and de-sexualize the dance. It is what it is and people can take it or leave it.

    Is there such a thing as asexual dancing?

    I guess it depends on what you consider to be "asexual." My dancing is pretty asexual to me. When I dance I'm not mimicking sex. I'm not thinking about sex. I'm not trying to be sexual and I'm not trying to be sexy.

    But it's all in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? Someone watching me might think it's sexy. Or that I'm trying really hard to be sexy. They might interpret the hip movements as being about sex, if they aren't used to seeing hip-centric dances and this is the sort of connotation hip moves have in their culture.

    It's not my intention, but if that's what people see, I honestly don't really care, as long as they can respect me as a performer and as a human being.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 07-14-2013 at 10:48 PM. Reason: merge

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahava_Melantha View Post
    is there really such a thing as asexual dancing?

    i have noticed many women in the dance community who want to completely deny the tiniest hint of sensuality in the dance to the point of making it . . . . .sterile.


    what is your take on this?

    forget the naysayers and revel in the femininity and sensuality of the dance?

    would love your input

    Sensuality and sexuality are different things. You can be sensual and really feeling the music, without being sexy. A big part of it is the intent of the dancer. While it's certainly possible for someone to find a dance sexy, that doesn't mean it's the intent of the dancer for it to be that way. You can even be playful and flirty without being overly sexual.

    It all just...depends.

    There's a huge, HUGE difference between someone really feeling the music and dancing sensually, and someone giving the audience a flirty wink and hair toss, and someone doing the wiggle worm.

  5. #5
    Member Ahava_Melantha's Avatar
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    I geuss what I meant by asexual dancing was trying to tame down the dance and repel the tiniest bit of sensuality in the music out of insane fear of what the audience might think or blah blah blah.

    I geuss thats what I meant. Sort of like how some tribal dancers refer to Oriental dancers as being like whores . . . . and YES, I have heard this with my own ears.

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    V.I.P. khanjar's Avatar
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    Belly dance to me at its most artistic is a sensual dance, and even in my limited experience there is a clear difference between a sensual dancer and one who dances by numbers for it is my belief that anyone can belly dance all it takes is to learn the movement and keep practising until you can robotically perform to the music, but when someone dances sensually there is a clear difference, a difference that makes other interpretations look wooden in comparison and this wooden feeling is a sense I get with quite a lot of the tribal style as if it is missing an important ingredient and tribal style attracted me in the past because I could keep hidden what I was uncomfortable with where now I wish to stay with oriental as oriental is doing good things for me, yeah that stuff I am uncomfortable with, it is presenting it to me.

    But sensuality and sexuality are two different things but I do suppose one can be dancing what they believe to be sensually and it can be interpreted as sexual as with society, it takes all sorts and there are some seriously repressed people out there.

    But can belly dance be asexual, I hope so as perhaps that is the sense in the belly dance community already but the problem as ever as always is the paying public's perception and as some dancers are dependant on the paying public's perception, the public get to decide what they want to pay for and yeah I am aware of the damage the public can cause but that is the way it has always been and to think perhaps the sex sells approach can even be what has made this dance so popular in the west at least and maybe even the lands of it's origin as what values are held now might have been something different in the past.

    In a way also I believe belly dance to be moving meditation as when one is lost in the music I take that as meditation and for the few that have seen me dance like that they have sad it is totally different to my usual where at least I have an idea why now, alcohol strips away that destroyer called self conscience of which I believe is motivated by lack of confidence in oneself as a person not only a dancer.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahava_Melantha View Post
    i have noticed many women in the dance community who want to completely deny the tiniest hint of sensuality in the dance to the point of making it . . . . .sterile.
    Interestingly, that is exactly what some people have accused Mahmoud Reda of doing in his Reda Troupe work. Of course, we have to remember the context of the time - in some ways, the un-sexiness of Reda Troupe was a backlash against what was going on with the belly dance scene in the nightclubs of the day. (The book A Trade Like Any Other explores this, as does the movie My Father Is Up a Tree, which you can get on DVD with English subtitles with a bit of web searching.)

    In our own society, the anti-sexiness dance stylings seem to be associated with dancers who have strong inhibitions about looking sexy in front of an audience. When I've discussed this with some dancers, they've given some valid reasons for why they aren't emotionally ready to let that sexiness genie out of the bottle. Examples of things I've heard: Having been a victim of incest as a child (and therefore afraid to look too sexy lest it attract another physical assault), having been raised in a sexually-repressed household, feeling inhibited by religious beliefs, feeling ugly and unattractive, afraid of the vulnerability that comes of releasing an aspect of oneself, etc.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sophia Maria's Avatar
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    Actually, the original post made me immediately think of this article that someone (probably here?) left a link to, and I'll repost it: Is Belly Dance Sexy? How to Embrace Sensuality When Words are Traps

    By the end of the article this dancer is pretty much getting to the question I would point out. What does sexy mean to you? I think your question has been asked many many times, but I actually never get tired of talking about it, because I think it's more about a societal question than a prejudice against a certain dance.

    My two cents? I think most people overreact to sex and sexiness, and I think this is where the problem comes from. It's something that happens in the United States a lot, as well as Middle Eastern societies (less so in European countries...anyone feel free to correct me on this one, I got this impression but I only lived there for a few months...). But it's something that happens in Western and Eastern societies. Sexuality is a bit of a scary issue, and people tend to repress it rather than talk openly and calmly about it. So, when something happens that is perceived as sexy, people tend to go "OOH LA LA!" and either condemn the sexiness or drool over it. To be honest, I get very frustrated when this happens because, to me, sex is just sex. It's another part of a multifaceted human existence--yes, it's fun, yes, it's fascinating, but there's no reason to worship it or vilify it. Just live with it!

    But beyond sex, what is "sexy"? What is this word? Does it mean something that is physically attractive by virtue of its appearance? Does it do something to be "sexy" or does it just have to stand there? Does it mean that it directly causes sexual acts? Sexy is different things to different people. To me, it just means a person who is so beautiful that I stop to admire them--and yes, it means I recognize that they have reproductive potential (that sounds weirder here than it did in my head) but it doesn't mean I act on it. I can find women sexy, but I am not a lesbian. I don't think that's a contradiction, but that's my definition. That's why I understand but don't completely agree with the sensual/sexual argument. Your dance performance should not simulate the act of having sex. (If it did, it wouldn't look like bellydance anyway, but that's another argument). All the same, yes, bellydance is sexy. It's sexy because it features a performer who has dressed up and done his/her hair, shows a sense of humor, has incredible physical ability, and displays confidence and emotional depth.

    So, don't start touching your assaya innapropriately, but don't be afraid to shake your booty and wink at the audience.

  9. #9
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Sensual is eating a banana in such a way that others know just exactly how good it tastes.

    Sexual is eating a banana in such a way that others begin to think about eating other things.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sophia Maria's Avatar
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    Sometimes an assaya is just an assaya.

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