Do large tattoos limit performance opportunities?

double_frick

New member
How much would you guess a large tattoo might hold one back, at least in their ability to get many opportunities to perform in belly dance styles other than Tribal or Fusion?
I have a large traditional style chest piece :( i do like my tattoo, but now i see what people mean about regret, i don't regret the design or the piece other than not having the option of baring my chest all feminine and such. :rolleyes: and now, i *just* considered that it may affect my marketability as a dancer since i do gravitate more towards Egyptian and Cabaret styles of dance, which are pretty much large-tattoo free (it seems). especially when considering Middle Eastern oriented events, i imagine that the tattoo could become an issue.

how much of a hindrance can my tattoo end up being in the performance arena??:think:
 

Sophia Maria

New member
I don't know of many cabaret/Egyptian dancers with tattoos. However, I know Michelle Joyce has a noticeable one on her lower back, and it doesn't seem it have a negative effect on her performance.


What do other people think?
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Depends on where you are - here on the California central coast its pretty much EXPECTED that a Belly Dancer will have tattoos - Tribal, Cabaret, Folkloric, whatever. Lower back tattoos are especially popular - even I have one! :cool: I personally think they add to the costume...

I know Gia out of New Jersey has several, and it certainly hasn't restricted her (Cabaret) dancing that I know of. She recently opened for BDSS!
 
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Yame

New member
Yes, large tattoos, especially in unconventional places, do affect your marketability. I know a few famous belly dancers outside the tribal/fusion/gothic realms who have visible tatoos, but they aren't too large or obstructive and look feminine (butterflies, flowers, etc). Some dancers I know have multiple tattoos, but they are all somewhat hidden away and the visible ones aren't very big, so they don't encounter any issues. A chest tattoo might be problematic... but it all depends on your area, the venue, the tattoo...
 

SeeJaneDance

New member
I feel like it's important to say that if it DOES affect you, a chest tattoo is actually not all that difficult to cover up. There was a "mastectomy friendly costume" thread either on here or on bhuz that had a lot of costumes that would not only hide surgery scars, but also disguise a tattoo, and still look ravishing.

Yup yup, it was on bhuz. http://www.bhuz.com/belly-dance-beauty-costuming/65583-mastectomy-friendly-costumes.html

There are a couple different suggestions, including several similar to what Shanazel posted. And another that I love that's similar to View C of this pattern: http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m6326-products-13867.php?page_id=481
 
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double_frick

New member


there is a pic of the tattoo....i do love it...

but i do wonder how hard it would really be to cover up....

then again, what can i do if i can't? nothing. i *do* live in california, so that might at least help. i just started dancing at Jodette's, so i think after awhile i will ask her opinion (if she doesn't offer it before then!) as she knows the market in sacramento pretty well....

*hope hope*
i do like tribal...just hard to get into that IN sacramento...and i feel egyptian music much more than tribal.....
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
No written law says you have to show boobage to belly dance. If you want to hide it completely go with a top that covers the center of your chest to to the neck and leaves your arms, back, and shoulders uncovered. Couldn't find exactly the picture I am thinking of but imagine a bra made on the order of the upper bodice of this dress:
 

Daimona

Moderator
OR you can empasize it by adding glitter glue strategically placed that would match your costume... ;)
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"


there is a pic of the tattoo....i do love it...
You certainly wouldn't have a problem with that over here. I know several gals who have similar - and being that its pretty, not some punk thing full of death and destruction adds to its appeal.

But the Valley is different, especially the southern end. Since you're in the north-central end, and in a larger city - my *guess* is that you'd have little problem. *shrug* California is, thank Goddess, different from the rest of the country.

Love the facial expression!
 

Yame

New member
I'm going to have to be completely blunt here and say that this tattoo will probably severely limit your professional opportunities. I don't think it would be fair for me to pretend that isn't the case when you are here asking for honest opinions.

That isn't to say you can't become a professional dancer... you can do so and you can do it in any style that you wish so long as you can learn that style well. THAT will depend only on your talent and how hard you work. There are different kinds of professional dancing, and different opportunities out there so you can absolutely find a niche for you if you work hard enough and market yourself well.

BUT you will also encounter a lot of closed doors based solely on your tattoo. Some of them you will be able to open up if you cover it up, but not every gig is going to want you to cover up like that. Let's face it, for a lot of gigs we are expected to show skin. It would be very hard for you to break into the Arab club scene for example, because, to be blunt, they want to see cleavage. But they do not want to see tattooed cleavage (there is more of a stigma surrounding tattoos among Arabs than there is among Americans, you can probably get away with minor tattoos but nothing so big, especially if it's on your cleavage or belly).

Don't let that discourage you, because there is still a lot you can do in the professional realm. Family-oriented parties and restaurants where you can be more covered up, alternative-oriented events where people are more accepting of tattoos, and of course teaching, just to name a few. Just don't be surprised when some people do take issue with it.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
I'm going to have to be completely blunt here and say that this tattoo will probably severely limit your professional opportunities.
Again, it *really* depends on your locale. It wouldn't be a problem at all in my neck of the woods - but I certainly *do* understand that it might be in other places.
 

Salome

Administrator
You will have people that come on and say they have one, two, a hundred and get work and I don't doubt it. BUT honestly IT WILL limit you in some ways. A lot of Greek/Arab/Turkish nightclub/restaurant venues and upscale hotels, casinos, cruise ships etc. will not go in for ink like that. That is not to say none but honestly, yes, you will get turned down because of it in some area's of professional dance work.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
One more time: It depends on where you are. Not only would it not make a difference in Santa Cruz, California - you might even get MORE opportunities. Granted, Santa Cruz is weird - and we like it that way.

OTOH, around the bay in Monterey, a tattooed dancer may have the "occasional" problem - although I actually haven't seen same even there - pure conjecture on my part. The difference between the two? Santa Cruz has no real Middle Eastern population, Monterey has a small one. I've had the occasional problem with the ME crowd in Monterey - some of them just don't like me (OTOH, I've "converted" more than a few!) - but it has nothing to do with my tattoo as I didn't have one when I was dancing heavily there.

Honestly, I don't like dancing for nasty, judgmental people anyway.
 
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Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
It may be a factor with Middle Eastern-Mediterranean audiences, especially those not born in the west. But with western audiences, it will probably not matter much.
 

double_frick

New member
I feel like it's important to say that if it DOES affect you, a chest tattoo is actually not all that difficult to cover up.

M6326 | Misses' Tops | Tops/Tunics | McCall's Patterns
OOOOO i really like that pattern, i *do* need to work on my sewing. ;)

thank you! i've never even considered costumes that cover the cleavage...and now that i see them, i actually like them!

You certainly wouldn't have a problem with that over here. I know several gals who have similar - and being that its pretty, not some punk thing full of death and destruction adds to its appeal.

But the Valley is different, especially the southern end. Since you're in the north-central end, and in a larger city - my *guess* is that you'd have little problem. *shrug* California is, thank Goddess, different from the rest of the country.

Love the facial expression!
i definitely do think that being in california will make it a lot easier with my tattoo, but no matter what size city you are in people of different cultures still feel the same about some things....like, i assume, Middle Eastern cultures view of tattoos (especially on the chest like mine)....sooo....boooooo! but, live and learn i guess. besides i believe in fate, and this obstacle will just guide me where i'm meant to go. :)

I'm going to have to be completely blunt here and say that this tattoo will probably severely limit your professional opportunities. I don't think it would be fair for me to pretend that isn't the case when you are here asking for honest opinions.
i can't thank you enough for your honesty! my boyfriend and friends think its silly i would even say it could affect my opportunities, but they don't know that much about middle eastern culture other than the music i force them to listen to daily. :dance:

It may be a factor with Middle Eastern-Mediterranean audiences, especially those not born in the west. But with western audiences, it will probably not matter much.
at least there is that, i will still be able to perform and do things, maybe quite a lot of things if i really work hard! but it really bums me thinkin that i won't get to perform as much for ME audiences, as much anyway, but looking forward to exploring ways to cover it up now......just for that reason, any other time i display my tattoo with pride. lol

Have you looked into makeup concealers? They make ones just for covering tattoos and yours doesn't look like it would be that hard to cover when necessary.

example -> Smart Cover Tattoo Concealer and Camouflage Makeup
i was recently browsing at Ulta and i did see some tattoo cover up that is supposed to be really good. Kat Von D has some too, so there are a lot of options like that which i will defintely invest in.

i also liked a lot of the tops that cover the chest a little more...especially since i'm sooooo not a fan of my boobs. and they remind me of like, kitana, from mortal kombat. haha :p
 

Yame

New member
i also liked a lot of the tops that cover the chest a little more...especially since i'm sooooo not a fan of my boobs. and they remind me of like, kitana, from mortal kombat. haha :p
LOL @ Kitana. But that's not a bad thing!

Wearing modest costumes can be pretty fun. Personally I like not worrying about the way people are looking at me or whether they are looking at certain body parts rather than appreciating my dancing.

Make-up is an option too as mentioned before, for when you do want to bare more skin... but since I don't have any experience covering up tattoos, I have no idea if there is any makeup out there that can cover up well and stay on throughout entire performances without looking unnatural. If you can find that, you may find that you have less of a limitation than you are bracing yourself for.

Good luck!
 

Kashmir

New member
Yes - it will limit which audiences will accept you. I know there are areas where tattoos are very popular - obviously it probably won't affect you there. But if in the same locale you want to dance for an Arabic audience - or a more classy non-Arabic one, yes you will limit your work opportunies as a dancer. A few years back in New Zealand someone was fired from a checkout job for refusing to cover their tattoos. You are trying to deliver a fantasy - hard to do looking like a sailor, jailbird or tramp. And that same fanatasy requires flesh - I love dresses but realize for many gigs I have to wear a bra and belt.

Make the most of it - connect into the alternative market. There is probably plenty of work there - but you may need to offer Fusion rather than straight raqs sharqi.
 

Nabila Nazem

New member
In addition to makeup, you can design your cabaret style costumes to have loops, swags, fringe, etc. that help to obscure the area. That way if the makeup isn't all even, or wears off, there will be more visual confusion there and help disguise it. Be sure to add those same swags (here's an excellent excuse for extra bling!) to the rest of your costume as well so that it looks like part of the overall design scheme.

Find a professional (or professional-level) makeup artist to teach you how to cover up the tattoo properly. IMO, makeup that's not done well for this purpose looks tacky. This is an area where a "do it right or don't do it at all" attitude applies.

Stage or nightclub lighting can sometimes be dim as well which will help.

Good luck!
 
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