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  1. #11
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaVidofScandinavia View Post
    Ohhh, adding: I sometimes get requests from people to dance "more like a man"... however, I am a man - whatever I do is dancing like a man in the respect that I am a man by gender.
    Yes, yes, YES!!

    Men are human beings too, and should be allowed to dance like human beings, not as as chariature of someone's idea of "Masculine".

    Ditto on what DaVid said about wanting to dance well, blah, blah. Don't let him fool you - he is TOPS as a dancer and an instructor.

    Me? I'm a hack, but I try!

  2. #12
    Moderator Yshka's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Moon:
    or those horrible shoes with pointed toes on women
    I love those..

    I do like bellyshowing shirts on men too though. In general I just love seeing men dance.
    Before I also used to be like what Shanazel describes (Shanazel, interesting topic btw), but then I went to Bruxelles and saw Amir Thaleb.
    He was the first male dancer I ever saw and IMO very masculine..he danced so beautifully, I can't even begin to mention all that I liked about him (I won't lol, I'm tired and it's late), but I just totally fell in love with males dancing.
    I have been taking every chance I get to see male bellydancers perform and take workshops with them.

    Male bellydancers rule

    Originally Posted by Zorba:
    I dance because I, like any other human being, like to feel beautiful, exotic and all that (The concept of masculine beauty has been largely forgotten in today's world). Its lots of fun and I get to play dress up. Sound familiar? Hey! Guys are human too.
    Amen!

    Oiginally Posted by DaVidofScandinavia:
    Ohhh, adding: I sometimes get requests from people to dance "more like a man"... however, I am a man - whatever I do is dancing like a man in the respect that I am a man by gender.
    "Dancing like a man"? That's total B*llshit. You should ask them to show you how next time They'll know immediately what a stupid remark they just made and it gives you a good laugh..

    I have more to say, but I'm just tired now lol. Will get back on this after some sleep.

  3. #13
    Member Recnadocir's Avatar
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    Actually, I hate belly dancing...it's so hard! I just keep doing it so I can be around hot women. Hoping I'll get lucky. It hasn't happened yet, in almost ten years, but I"m the eternal optimist!

  4. #14
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Hi Everyone, My thoghts on the topic pretty much revolves around the concept of belly dance as a woman's dance. If you think about it, how many times has this dance been described as "for all shapes, sizes and ages for women". Or good exercse to burn off unwanted pounds or better yet the concept of the "goddess dance" It's easy to subconsciously believe that there is no place for males. Belly dance as we know it today(and all of its permutations) is a performance art, complete with glittery /tribal costumes designed to fit the female form and please the audience eyes, the placement of males in this venue again seeems odd esp to Western cultural values.

    IMO, the goddess concept is part of that Western fantasy we still hold on to when we see a bellydancer, I, personally don't suscribe to that theory, I see bellydance as the artistic expression of the folkloric traditions of the Middle East and North Africa, where there is a strong tradition of male dancers, using the exact movements we use today, Dancers such as Tarik,DaVid, Zorba, Rico,Jim Boz, John Compton etc, continue to carry on that tradition very well. Maybe for me my cultural background(African-American) can easily accept male dancers because dance is for everyone, males and females doing the same moves. I enjoy seeing my Brothers in Dance in exciting costumes, dancing with passion and precision.
    Yasmine

  5. #15
    Member Recnadocir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yshka View Post
    I love those..

    I do like bellyshowing shirts on men too though. In general I just love seeing men dance.
    Before I also used to be like what Shanazel describes (Shanazel, interesting topic btw), but then I went to Bruxelles and saw Amir Thaleb.
    He was the first male dancer I ever saw and IMO very masculine..he danced so beautifully, I can't even begin to mention all that I liked about him (I won't lol, I'm tired and it's late), but I just totally fell in love with males dancing.
    I have been taking every chance I get to see male bellydancers perform and take workshops with them.

    Male bellydancers rule



    Amen!



    "Dancing like a man"? That's total B*llshit. You should ask them to show you how next time They'll know immediately what a stupid remark they just made and it gives you a good laugh..

    I have more to say, but I'm just tired now lol. Will get back on this after some sleep.
    I agree about belly showing shirts, or just bare belly or chest. I'm in a show right now where at least two of the female solos are bare chested. It's really no big deal. When you think about it, who made the rule that men can walk around bare chested, but women can't? Men! And why? Because men have a harder time controlling their lust then women. All these rules that repress women, sexually or otherwise, were made by men, and for this same reason, I think.

    But back to the other point, "dancing like a male." I think all male belly dancers must hear this some time or another, or get asked, "where does one learn male belly dancing?" Usually I take the question as honest confusion, and respond gently that there is really no such thing, other than the crockery -balancing tricks that some guys do in the ME, and the stick dances. But as far as the body movements, which are the core of the dance, it's all the same, right? I don't even think about there being any difference, unless someone else brings it up.

  6. #16
    Member Suhad's Avatar
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    DaVid, my mouth fell open when I read your comment about people asking you why you don't dance more "masculine". I've seen you dance, in Phoenix last year, and I was AMAZED. I've been around the arts in various forms my whole life, and what you did was NOT -- repeat NOT-- feminine or 'sissy' in any way.

    I honestly never dreamed that a man could take the SAME movements and show the power and grace of the masculine form in the same way that we as women show the power and grace of the female form.

    Your dancing was honestly the highlight of the show, and I only wish that my husband could have been there to see you dance -- I bought him a ticket but he was working and couldn't get there until after you were done.

  7. #17
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    I've just about finished reading Stavros Stavrou Karayanni's "Dancing Fear and Desire", which explores, among other things, responses to male dancers. His avowed perspective is as a queer Greek Cypriot man, and for him, the homoerotic desire/homophobic anxiety produced in Western men by the sight of men belly dancing is a key factor in why the dance developed into something that "only girls do". It freaked them out so much to a) realise the pretty girls they were perving at were actually pretty boys or b) feel desirous towards dancing bodies that they were fully conscious were male, that they turned on them and described them as disgusting or laughable, in a way that is not quite the same as the way they described the women. They raved about the women. They glossed over the men.

    Consider that the male dancers people like Flaubert saw (and, yes, slept with) were, like the female dancers, "for sale", and therefore their movements and presentation were viewed with sex on the brain for a start. Also, though, from what I have discerned, those male professional dancers were in a kind of "drag" - not impersonating women, but wearing clothes and makeup, etc, that suggested a kind of third gender.

    For better or worse, the movements of belly dance have become associated strongly with "female" concepts, for at least 150 years in the west. Fertility, sensuality, exoticness, weakness, seductiveness, naturalness, wildness, secretiveness, Otherness. All "feminine" in our binary system. And so to see a man doing it can unsettle the viewer. The last taboo is gender. I truly believe that. We need to know what gender a person is (or is performing) and if we can't work it out, it unsettles us because we don't know how we're supposed to react. I remember meeting a person whose gender was completely impossible to determine and it totally freaked me out, I'm ashamed to admit.

    I think this is why a lot of fairly conservative-thinking women, unless they are very entrenched in the dance and only want to see technique/performance, get quite spun out by a man being "feminine". They want to watch the man as an object of desire (however covertly) and they don't like the feeling that they might be perving on something feminine. Or else, they don't want to watch the man as an object of desire, so they want him covered and doing reassuring "manly" movements that put him squarely in the box of "man", to be admired for his masculine qualities but not perceived as a lust object. If the man is "different" - from "over there", or black, or Asian, or gay - it seems to be easier to swallow additional markers of difference. And there is probably an entire generation of younger dancers who want to see cute "bishie" guys being as femmy and gay as possible, like the cute guys in their Japanese comics.

    Recently Mark Balahadia posted a clip of himself dancing on YouTube. I am sure Mark's performance epitomises the kind of performance that creates anxiety in a lot of audience members. Mark's dance is ravishing IMO. He loves Dina to bits and he dances just like her! He's got soft long hair and elegant "feminine" moves. There is nothing "manly" in Mark's performance, at least not in the conventional sense. But he is a man. He's not performing as Dina in drag, he's performing as Mark, whose tastes run to the theatrical and campy - but whose dance, seductive opening bit with the curtain aside, is not camp at all, at least not in my opinion. It's just lovely Raqs Sharqi.

    The gender of the body is theoretically immaterial, though in actual fact it's inescapable. I kept forgetting he was a male, and then consciously reminding myself "that is a guy dancing, not a woman." Because I was responding to the dancer as being first genderless, then a woman, then a man. That has nothing to do with any gendered quality to the moves, but the gendered way in which we view certain bodies and certain body movements.

    My opinion only of course! (And I am sure Mark won't mind me using this dance as an example - because it is such a good one.)

  8. #18
    Member tim ema's Avatar
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    This is a very interesting subject! I am very new to bellydancing, though I have admired it from afar for many years..I did not know there were men who bellydanced!
    Upon reading this thread, I went to YouTube and checked some out. Very wonderful! Quite a variety of styles, costumes, etc. All of the examples I saw were very impressive and heartfelt.

    The issue of why men would be uncomfortable with the concept of men bellydancing is not something I can comment on (being female!), but I noticed something in myself when I was watching...I was most uncomfortable watching the shirtless dancer. He was VERY skilled and his dance was NOT sexually suggestive, but as I thought about the possible source of this discomfort I realized the only context I, personally, have (as a mid-thirties woman in suburban Canada) with watching a shirtless man dance is Chippendales! My cultural background is that women do not "watch" men. We DO, of course, but not openly. One does not blatantly watch a man's body and admire him or his body or his skill at whatever he's doing! Not done! Except, of course, when all your girlfriends decide they're going to get drunk and go out because the Chippendales have come to town. (If you're ME, you then pretend to get a cold and beg off, because the whole thing is embarrassing). I didn't think the male bellydancer I was watching on YouTube looked in ANY WAY like a stripper, just the venue (a nightclub with people sitting at tables) and his shirtless costume brought the association involuntarily to my mind.

    Another thing occurs to me:
    In my web-explorations about bellydance I have found a HUGE amount of the "goddess" associations that Yasmine mentioned. There is also a lot of the whole sisterhood/female initiation/Woman-is-Belly-is-Earth type stuff. I could see many women who view BD as a female "refuge" feeling threatened by men getting into it. As though their participation dilutes the inherent femaleness of it.

    Personally I'm not into that aspect, so it doesn't influence my opinion. From what I've seen and read on this board, male dancers are doing this dance for the same reason I am!

    For the first time, I am "self-referencing"! I am not bellydancing in the hopes that others will find me sensual and beautiful. I bellydance to celebrate the fact that I've discovered I am sensual and beautiful! I hope everyone can discover it for themselves!!


    AT

  9. #19
    Senior Member Mouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim'ema View Post
    My cultural background is that women do not "watch" men. We DO, of course, but not openly. One does not blatantly watch a man's body and admire him or his body or his skill at whatever he's doing! Not done!
    You have just expressed the exact same concept I have heard from men who have just watched bellydancing women for the first time (only in reverse). So many say that they aren't sure where to look, or even if they should look because thier whole lives they have been told not to focus their attention on a womans body. It can be very confronting and confusing. It only stands to reason that women could experience the same thing when watching male dancers right at first.

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recnadosir
    When you think about it, who made the rule that men can walk around bare chested, but women can't? Men! And why? Because men have a harder time controlling their lust then women. All these rules that repress women, sexually or otherwise, were made by men, and for this same reason, I think.
    I think you're right on this. Last week it was 35°C here and it was sooo unfair all the guys could take their shirts of and I couldn't. Hope they'll get a good sun burn :p

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