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  1. #1
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    Default Something really weird happened....?

    Hey guys. So one of the main reasons why I joined this forum is to address this particular issue. ..because I'm feeling really weird about this. . this is going to be long, so please forgive me for that.
    My country (India) is really enjoying a boom in Belly dance right now. My school started with 2 students in 2009, and have 1k (or 2k?) plus students now. Many other schools have opened up and are doing very well. Though perceived as a very conservative country, people are surprisingly open about BD and I have never, ever got any rude or shocked comments about it, in fact many ppl tell me how they would love to join as well(And have!). Even my cousin who lives in a very small town learns!! (Irrelevant info but I'm very excited about this) Anyway, so on the problem.
    I went to this 'fest' that was held in my city, where a group of international master teachers had come to our city for workshops. Since I've never learnt any tribal moves, I signed up for that just for fun. (It was a two hour thing).

    There were almost 25-30 women of all ages who had signed up for this particular workshop. Before the teacher arrived, we all fell into conversation about BD in general. Around 15 of them had never attended a class before and had just come to check it out.

    When I told them I learn BD, they asked me questions about it and I told them my usual 'Beautiful dance - bad rep- thanks to horrible media representation- etc' A lot of them said they will surely join and asked me about my studio etc. The workshop was really good, conducted by a 'master teacher' who is performing since the last 15 years. Amazing dancer. (I don't want to name her I'm scared...)

    THEN THE AWKWARDEST THING happened. At the end of the class, she said 'these dance moves were inspired by slave girls. This particular move was used by slave girls to make their masters cum etc etc' um...OK.

    The girl who was really enthusiastic before said 'that's torture!!' The teacher shrugged and said ' yes but that's the way it is' this, I know is not true. My teachers have never told us stuff like this. I've learnt from this forum as well that this is not true. Then why did this woman, a famous, accomplished dancer said things like this?

    The worst part is, the enthusiastic girl and her friend, at the end of the class said something like.." Well, clearly this is not something I want to do.' I felt bad about this. Now these 25 girls went home with the wrong idea of BD.

    We are being very open to this dance form and its flourishing here, the last thing we need is someone coming and reinforcing more harmful stereotypes!!

    Why did she say that.? :/

  2. #2
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Shock value, most likely.
    Bellydance in Kyabram!
    Skype classes a specialty.
    Email kyabrambellydance@gmail.com for more information.

  3. #3
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Perhaps because she is improperly trained in matters historical.

    Perhaps she is just a total idiot with a fetish for emulating slave girls.

    At any rate, it's too bad you ran across her in a professional setting. Or at all, come to that.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Wilfully ignorant if she has been around for 15 years. However, my interaction with Tribal dancers has never impressed me with their interest in accurate historical information.

  5. #5
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peach View Post
    THEN THE AWKWARDEST THING happened. At the end of the class, she said 'these dance moves were inspired by slave girls. This particular move was used by slave girls to make their masters cum etc etc' um...OK.
    Ugh

    Unfortunately, this myth was spread by zoologist Desmond Morris, in his book "Intimate Behaviour: A Zoologist's Classic Study of Human Intimacy". I'm sure I heard that he has refused to remove it, even though people have pointed out that it's both demonstrably facutally incorrect, and incredibly orientalist and misogynist. Now, because it's in this 'reputable' book, it's really hard to get the idea to die.

    If you're curious, there's a quote here http://xahlee.org/Periodic_dosage_di..._behavior.html - it's really gross, and also obviously fanciful rubbish (I'm pretty sure it'd be easy to disprove the ridiculous idea that the Ottoman sultans, or upper-class middle eastern men in general, were too fat to have sex normally, for starters).

  6. #6
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I read that book about a hundred years ago; I think I was still in high school. Yep, just checked and it was originally published in 1972 and reissued in 1997. It was a remarkable book for its time as well as highly controversial but the world moved on and left it behind.

    He's also wrong about tears being mainly a social signal but that's off subject except that tears may relieve my feelings of frustration re: the statements about belly dance.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  7. #7
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    I think that author was oversexed. The text makes little sense!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    I read that book about a hundred years ago; I think I was still in high school. Yep, just checked and it was originally published in 1972 and reissued in 1997. It was a remarkable book for its time as well as highly controversial but the world moved on and left it behind.
    He repeats the same theory in his 2004 book "The Naked Woman", [http://www.scribd.com/doc/151194026/...le-Body#scribd] although he addresses those who object to his version of belly-dance origins with - "...it is now rather primly referred to as a 'traditional folklore dance', but for once it is a tradition whose beginnings have not been 'lost in the mists of time'. Modern puritans might prefer in this case that they had been lost."

    His only concession is that bellydance might also be related to movements involved in childbirth and "...became not merely a dance of mimed copulation by a vigorous young female straddling an indolent, corpulent male, but a symbolic enactment of both copulation and birth - the whole reproductive cycle in one performance."

    However he does questions whether this is just "an attempt to sanitize a purely copulatory dance and bring it into line with other 'folkloric' activities."

    His whole description of bellydance seems based on a poorly informed but vivid imagination, rather than any actual knowledge of the variety of types or movements involved. According to him, bellydance originated with and only involves three main movements - bumps (forward jerks of the pelvis), grinds (pelvic rotations) and ripples (belly undulations).

  9. #9
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roshanna View Post
    If you're curious, there's a quote here http://xahlee.org/Periodic_dosage_di..._behavior.html - it's really gross, and also obviously fanciful rubbish (I'm pretty sure it'd be easy to disprove the ridiculous idea that the Ottoman sultans, or upper-class middle eastern men in general, were too fat to have sex normally, for starters).
    It seems there was a problem with obesity amongst the Ottoman sultans, http://www.iamj.in/posts/images/upload/986_994.pdf, but I don't think impotence can be laid squarely at their door, nor that their obesity caused, or was actually evident during, any actual impotent periods.

  10. #10
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Now, now, we shouldn't bother the man with facts while he's defending his theories about subjects he never studied.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

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