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Thread: Hiding yourself

  1. #1
    Junior Member Angelofdance's Avatar
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    Default Hiding yourself

    I didn't know what to call this thread.

    Have you ever been tempted to hide your ethnicity during a performance?
    I'm white (canadian= nothern/western european mut!), usually dyed red hair, but sometimes natural ashy blonde, blue/greenish eyes, 2 tattoos- one on my upper back and one large one on my left upper arm.

    Honestly, I have been thinking of some how "claoking myself" to try to make the dance more authentic (Ha! By deauthenticating me, eh hee hee!). But wearing a longe rich borwn/black wig, brown contacts, self tanner, eyebrow darkening, and covering my tattoos. I was thinking that this way I may be more accepted at a "traditional" venue with people from the middle east. I'm white, altnerativey (sort of), and I wonder if it would be a good/interesting idea to try to "blend in" at tradition venues.

    I wear wigs to other types of events, and I know some people who do darken their skin with tanning/tanner, dye their hair darker (though they have brown eyes), and wearing contacts isn't a huge leap for me.

    What do you all think? Or do you think that middle eastern audiences will love you if you are a great dancer, no matter what you look like on the outside?

    Iris/aod

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    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelofdance
    What do you all think? Or do you think that middle eastern audiences will love you if you are a great dancer, no matter what you look like on the outside?
    I don't know what middle eastern audience think, but I think they should love you if you are a great dancer! When you come to see dancers perform, you want to see a good dancer, right? I don't think it should matter what you look like. They might even like your (for them) "exotic" look!

    I have a very white skin and decided to stop trying to become tanned and be proud of my own skin colour, although brown might be a "beauty ideal" at the moment.
    When doing my first performance, a danced with 5 other dancers and 4 of them had a light brown skin. They seemed to be very happy and proud their skin tans so easily. But I don't care and I only used a little bit of powder on my face so the lights wouldn't "wash out" my face.
    After the performance someone told me I had been very striking on stage because I danced so nice, and because of my light skin!
    You see, everyone just had to look at me because of my white skin

    In my opinion, I would rather see a good bellydancer that doesn't look middle eastern at all, than a good bellydancer that tries so hard to look middle eastern.

    There's nothing wrong with a white skin/blonde hair/blue eyes etc. Be proud of your own appearance, Iris!

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    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Hi Iris,

    I wonder if it would be a good/interesting idea to try to "blend in" at tradition venues.
    I think what would make a difference in approval/acceptance regarding an Arab or Turkish demographic has a lot less to do with whether you could pass as one or the other physically and much more to do with what you know. Instead of performing a western belly dance style, fusion or fantasy you’d want to perform Egyptian raks sharqi or Turkish Oryantal. You’d want to know the music, the movement, the spirit in which the movement is expressed, the costuming, your purpose, the essence of the style, the cultural context, the customs, the culture and people itself… If you had a deep and wide understanding of these things I think it would be of higher value than skin color etc.

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    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelofdance View Post
    Honestly, I have been thinking of some how "claoking myself" to try to make the dance more authentic (Ha! By deauthenticating me, eh hee hee!). But wearing a longe rich borwn/black wig, brown contacts, self tanner, eyebrow darkening, and covering my tattoos. I was thinking that this way I may be more accepted at a "traditional" venue with people from the middle east. I'm white, altnerativey (sort of), and I wonder if it would be a good/interesting idea to try to "blend in" at tradition venues.

    I wear wigs to other types of events, and I know some people who do darken their skin with tanning/tanner, dye their hair darker (though they have brown eyes), and wearing contacts isn't a huge leap for me.

    What do you all think? Or do you think that middle eastern audiences will love you if you are a great dancer, no matter what you look like on the outside?
    I think it would be fun to try! I love costumes and dress-up, although I am lazy about makeup and contacts. I think you should do it, and have pictures taken for fun.

    About playing up to the middle eastern audience...your coloring probably will not matter to them. You should actually be careful not to overdo the look with a Middle Eastern or African-American audience...if it looks too obviously fake close up, someone might get offended.

    I second Salome...authentic moves will be far more impressive than a "faux"-authentic look.

  5. #5
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Back in the dark ages of the 1970s, it was necessary for me to stay tan and wear a dark wig in order to dance in a couple of the venues that hired me. I always resented it, but, hey, product demand. I hope things have changed as Salome suggests- racism is no fun, whatever color your skin and hair.
    "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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    V.I.P. Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    I have a very white skin and decided to stop trying to become tanned and be proud of my own skin colour, although brown might be a "beauty ideal" at the moment
    Good for you Moon! Me too... let's be pale and interesting! Sun and tanning is very bad for pale skin anyway, slap on the sunblock. Just compare your face to the sun-worshippers' in 10 years time.
    And you're right about standing out - I saw BD superstars do a spot on a show on the TV a while back, and one was very pale and really stood out from the crowd because of it.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Angelofdance's Avatar
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    The only reason why I ask is because I have a Lebanese friend, and I got her to watch Rachel Brice. She said she was amazing, but that she would never be accepted by a traditional audience, besides her style, but she said her tattoos would freak them out. I know that my friend is quite light, so I wouldn't try to make my skin brown, just a bit more of a glow either by spray tanners/or a light glow of mineral makeup.

    I do love my pale skin...I love my corset and big boots too, but when I'm going for a job at the local spa I don't wear them*w* I hide my tattoos as much as I can when I go for a job as well. I thought it would be the same sort of thing if you were performing in certain venues. Sure they may love you because your dancing rocks, but if people don't like who you look (for whatever reason) they may not want to watch you.

    I think I may play dress up in a while....I need a reason to buy a new wig! I'll take side by side shots*lol*

    Iris/aod

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    V.I.P. Maria_Aya's Avatar
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    Pls take a min and think the situation from the opposite side:
    Look at my profile pic, and 90% you will think i'm arab, of any nationality, all arabs think i'm arab and that I hide it.
    So what I get? the worst critism on my dance part, because heyyyyy an arab girl should know Bad looks from the women, because I should stay down at my table and not get up and dance Gana el Hawa in a professional arab way, bla bla bla and bla bla, she MUST be arab she sing the lyrics exactly and do the gestures as she understand the song !!!
    (yes because a teacher MUST know the lyrics to teach the theatrical aproach of the song also) grrr
    (&(^**%&$^%%^#^*^%%$%^*(& (and all these at social dance places, since i dont perform in clubs or restaurants).
    Plus i have heard curses over my tatoo!!! (so hiding it when i go out)

    I wanna be blond with green eyes !!!!!
    to get rid off all these things, so feel lucky you dont look arab !!! there are problems that you cant imagine.

    Maria Aya

    p.s. errr ok I have mauritain blood in me, but go back 120 years, does this count????

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    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Hi Angel:

    I think that for an Arab audience, your Anglo skin/hair/eye color should not be a problem. Arabs come in a variety of "color pallettes" just like Americans! They are not all olive skinned with black hair.

    The tatoos, on the other hand, are more likely to be a problem, because they are culturally frowned on. For those you could try to find a costume that covered or at least obscured them. There is also body makeup that will cover up tatoos, scars, and birthmarks.

    Sedonia

  10. #10
    Junior Member Angelofdance's Avatar
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    Hello Sedonia!

    *nods* SO mostly be concerned about the tattoos. What about super bright red or purple hair dye? Are alternative hair dyes also frowned upon in Arabic cultures?

    Oh no Maria Aya I never knew of the troubles you have, how wreched : ( Well I think you look beautiful and probably dance circles around me, rock on girl!

    Iris/aod

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