Helping students defeat the stereotypes?

KhezlaDurr33

New member
I made my own. My favorite patterns were hacked versions of a long-sleeved, straight dress or nightgown with or without slit(s) up the side(s). The nightgown pattern was nice because it had extra looseness in the scye that allowed for moving my arms overhead without hiking up the entire dress. Adding underarm gussets also worked, as did leaving the seam between underarm and sleeve open.
Thanks!!
 

Tourbeau

Active member
I once helped organize an event at a local school where my dance teacher at the time gave a folkloric presentation about traditional Egyptian music and dance to the fifth graders. We're talking about a woman in her 50's in a full folkloric costume (with extra harem pants underneath!) doing a cymbal piece and a cane dance. No bare body. No sexy writhing around on the floor. No peek-a-boo veil unwrapping.

The kids enjoyed it. One teacher thought it was great. The other teacher had a difficult time containing her horror at the atrocious indecencies she'd been forced to endure. As far as I know, parents were notified in advance and none complained before or after, but needless to say, the event was not repeated.

Some people...
 

Tourbeau

Active member
KhezlaDurr33 said:
BTW what is your best recommended source for a baladi dress such as you wore to teach that class?
You might also investigate the "passion play" costumes at the back of the mainstream pattern companies' books. YMMV, but if you're looking to make a plain (woven) thobe, some of them aren't bad, especially if you can pick up the patterns when they are on sale for a few dollars instead of full price.

I've even seen a couple of dress patterns in the evening gown/wedding section that could be adapted to a glam-style baladi dress (ones without boning that use stretch fabric, and are pieced in a way that sections could be replaced with sheer stretch inserts, or have skirt seams that can be converted to slits). With the right fabric, you wouldn't even have to do too much glitz work on top.
 

KhezlaDurr33

New member
I once helped organize an event at a local school where my dance teacher at the time gave a folkloric presentation about traditional Egyptian music and dance to the fifth graders. We're talking about a woman in her 50's in a full folkloric costume (with extra harem pants underneath!) doing a cymbal piece and a cane dance. No bare body. No sexy writhing around on the floor. No peek-a-boo veil unwrapping.

The kids enjoyed it. One teacher thought it was great. The other teacher had a difficult time containing her horror at the atrocious indecencies she'd been forced to endure. As far as I know, parents were notified in advance and none complained before or after, but needless to say, the event was not repeated.

Some people...
I don't know what year this happened, but there has been a lot of bigotry in the past 15 years, which unfortunately is getting institutionalized and impacting arts and cultural activities. Some parents react to cultural appreciation such as that mentioned above, as if it were a possible attempt to convert their children to a different religion (you know the one I mean) -- but they use the euphemism of "indecent" in a feeble attempt to disguise their Archie Bunker-ness. I wistfully remember "the old days" when everyone was eager to share something of their culture and learn about others'. The middle easterners gave such great parties, were so appreciative of my dancing. Now ppl are suspicious, nobody likes anybody, no more parties. :-(
 

Tourbeau

Active member
KhezlaDurr33 said:
I don't know what year this happened, but there has been a lot of bigotry in the past 15 years...
This would have been about 15 years ago, and it was a Catholic school, so it would have been a pretty nervy move to roll in with the plan of forcibly converting everybody by the...sagat and assaya? Because if there's one thing that the sort of people who embrace an overbearing, aggressive, hardline version of Islam love, it's...music and dancing?

No, I think the second teacher just had it in her head that what she was seeing was inappropriate and dirty, no matter what was put in front of her (and she was the social studies teacher).
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
that what she was seeing was inappropriate and dirty

This, I think, was the problem I ran into. Save Our Children: local school system implicated in teaching exotic dancing. Suspected ties to titty bars and strip clubs.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
I danced for a senior's luncheon at a church, of all places. There ended up being an article about it in the local paper, seems there were some who were "concerned", but everybody except one stuck up Red Hatter loved me, my performance, and had a very good time. In fact, they liked me so much that they invited me back 6 months later for "round 2". They loved the Shemadan performance.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
One of my major concerns is that I live alone and some weirdos would sit on my doorstep asking me to come out and dance <head bang>
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
I once helped organize an event at a local school where my dance teacher at the time gave a folkloric presentation about traditional Egyptian music and dance to the fifth graders. We're talking about a woman in her 50's in a full folkloric costume (with extra harem pants underneath!) doing a cymbal piece and a cane dance. No bare body. No sexy writhing around on the floor. No peek-a-boo veil unwrapping.

The kids enjoyed it. One teacher thought it was great. The other teacher had a difficult time containing her horror at the atrocious indecencies she'd been forced to endure. As far as I know, parents were notified in advance and none complained before or after, but needless to say, the event was not repeated.

Some people...
That reminds me of my early days where I was still in student recitals. There was an outcry by a few people that bellydance should not be allowed in the recitals; however, it seemed that most people were all for it because I was the first dancer out there, and some tight lipped ladies made a point of walking out before I started. The irony of the whole thing is that the place was packed so tightly and with families of all backgrounds. I and my other co-dancers felt very supported.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
One of my major concerns is that I live alone and some weirdos would sit on my doorstep asking me to come out and dance <head bang>
Back in my early days of public performance, I attracted the attention of what would now be called a stalker. Scary damn stuff to look out the window and see him sitting across the street in a truck or having him approach me in public to announce he knew my phone number, my license plate number, etc. He was the husband of a friend, which made it even worse. The problem ended when I moved out of town and left no forwarding address with anyone.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Back in my early days of public performance, I attracted the attention of what would now be called a stalker. Scary damn stuff to look out the window and see him sitting across the street in a truck or having him approach me in public to announce he knew my phone number, my license plate number, etc. He was the husband of a friend, which made it even worse. The problem ended when I moved out of town and left no forwarding address with anyone.
That's very scary. I actually ran into more stalking problems with people I worked with in "respectable" office settings.
 

LibraRaqs

Member
So, I know that while we're facing a pandemic may not be the time to think about do's-and-don'ts of bellydance classes, but this reminds me of a teacher I had who approached the topic really well. She would always welcome new students as usual, but after lessons she would ask, "So, what got you interested in belly dance?" The student's reply would automatically give some hint of what belly dancing meant to them, or what they hoped to get out of it, and if the direction of conversation allowed this would open the door for a brief discussion of the dance's history, healthy ways to view it, and answers to negative or unsavory stereotypes.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
And yet hip hop will be welcome with open arms, even though there is a lot of gyrating going on. Talk about double standard.
 

Tourbeau

Active member
But the double standard is also coming from inside the house!

There are segments of the African-American population who will be happy to argue that today's music is garbage compared to the older stuff, or that hip-hop focuses on undesirable elements (men disrespecting women, recreational substance abuse, conspicuous consumption, etc.), but you also see segments who are extremely proud of hip-hop and think it is wonderful, aspirational, and a vector for social change in the right hands.

MENA's relationship to belly dance is heavily weighted toward the negative impression. One of the biggest obstacles in getting respect for BD is not enough people who are natives respect it! Outsiders like us are caught between a rock and a hard place. It's not our culture, so we're supposed to defer to them, but too many of them would just as soon distance themselves from the dance than lead or support us.
 

LibraRaqs

Member
MENA's relationship to belly dance is heavily weighted toward the negative impression. One of the biggest obstacles in getting respect for BD is not enough people who are natives respect it! Outsiders like us are caught between a rock and a hard place. It's not our culture, so we're supposed to defer to them, but too many of them would just as soon distance themselves from the dance than lead or support us.
Very, very true! I've heard of/read about Egyptian traditional musicians and dance teachers (supportive of the dance, against the stigma) express a desire to have more regional interest in bellydance, and therefore a regional student base, but with the increasing stigma and rise of conservative thinking in these areas most of their students/performers have to be of foreign extraction, for better or for worse.
 

ZoeJohn

New member
I think the most correct thing is to do what you like without thinking about money and everything will come naturally.
In generally, it doesn't exist the best way of earning money' because it all depends on the person and another thousand things. For each person everything is different and we can't say something in general. I personally am earning money by doing some passive income streams on X and I have success but when one of my friends tried it he didn't have any luck. So for each person is different.
 
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Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
But the double standard is also coming from inside the house!

There are segments of the African-American population who will be happy to argue that today's music is garbage compared to the older stuff, or that hip-hop focuses on undesirable elements (men disrespecting women, recreational substance abuse, conspicuous consumption, etc.), but you also see segments who are extremely proud of hip-hop and think it is wonderful, aspirational, and a vector for social change in the right hands.

MENA's relationship to belly dance is heavily weighted toward the negative impression. One of the biggest obstacles in getting respect for BD is not enough people who are natives respect it! Outsiders like us are caught between a rock and a hard place. It's not our culture, so we're supposed to defer to them, but too many of them would just as soon distance themselves from the dance than lead or support us.
I do think some hip hop is great but it's like stepping in a minefield to find the positive songs and dances to it based on what you said.
 
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