How much is too much?

Twilight Spiral

New member
I recently saw a belly dancer troupe a couple of days ago and well I fell in love with them. Now I love costumes and different outfits, I find it is very fun to play as come one different, male or female. So like I was saying, they troupe was at the Old English Fair we have, they are were enchanting and well I kind of bought a top and skirt...Hehe, I save up very year to go here.

Well, I showed my friends my outfit and they loved it, turns out I have a body that is wonderful for belly dancing...A "lithe frame" one called it. Well, it turns out that their is only one troupe within hours and it seems they are all women. So while I wait on a reply from them another problem arose.

I am a person who does not believe gender separation and well I looked all over the web for male belly dancers who do the skirt piece, but no one mentioned anything more. In all honesty I hate the tops males wear, they are just, I don't know. So I love the tops women wear, but the problem is how well that will go over.

I really want to learn this dance and preform for people, I love to make them smile. Alas, I can find no one one can talk to me about the jewelry, sashes, and tops. I have to say I am scared to learn to belly dance in the way I enjoy...Cross dressing doesn't go over well with so well with some people, I know from experience. I am really a wreck here and my family has been going through tough times we need to escape it.

I am scared I jumped the gun again, big time.

If anyones knows Pava and Andreana and their classes, can you tell me if it a female only?

Hehe, I'm sorry, I'm a wreck and listen to me, I am sorry. I am just a loss here.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Hi There,

I think if you are feeling like a 'wreck' then you need to think this through in order to protect yourself.
Ask yourself a few questions..and be totally honest with yourself

What did you love the dance troupe?

How much of the attraction was the costumes like you mentioned? some, mostly, all?

The main thing is to understand why you want to do this dance and be clear about your intensions. This is the best advice I can give for avoiding any big headaches.

Read through lots of threads to see how people think about various topics.
At least you will understand the complexity of the dance and how passionate people are about it.
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Dance etc.

I recently saw a belly dancer troupe a couple of days ago and well I fell in love with them. Now I love costumes and different outfits, I find it is very fun to play as come one different, male or female. So like I was saying, they troupe was at the Old English Fair we have, they are were enchanting and well I kind of bought a top and skirt...Hehe, I save up very year to go here.

Well, I showed my friends my outfit and they loved it, turns out I have a body that is wonderful for belly dancing...A "lithe frame" one called it. Well, it turns out that their is only one troupe within hours and it seems they are all women. So while I wait on a reply from them another problem arose.

I am a person who does not believe gender separation and well I looked all over the web for male belly dancers who do the skirt piece, but no one mentioned anything more. In all honesty I hate the tops males wear, they are just, I don't know. So I love the tops women wear, but the problem is how well that will go over.

I really want to learn this dance and preform for people, I love to make them smile. Alas, I can find no one one can talk to me about the jewelry, sashes, and tops. I have to say I am scared to learn to belly dance in the way I enjoy...Cross dressing doesn't go over well with so well with some people, I know from experience. I am really a wreck here and my family has been going through tough times we need to escape it.

I am scared I jumped the gun again, big time.

If anyones knows Pava and Andreana and their classes, can you tell me if it a female only?

Hehe, I'm sorry, I'm a wreck and listen to me, I am sorry. I am just a loss here.


Dear Twilight Spiral,
I hear you talking a LOT about the costuming but very little about the dance.
First you should know that there is a great deal of difference between wearing the costume and being a dancer. They are two different things entirely. Wearing the costume takes little effort, whether you decide to dress as a male or a female. Being able to live up to what the costume promises is another thing all together. It means dedicating your time to becoming a dancer and that means you will spend your time taking classes, practicing at home, spending money on lessons, music props, being frustrated because you just can't get this or that move, trying to have a deeper understanding of what the dance really is and its meaning and purpose, countless hours reading in order to understand the cultures and peoples from whence the dance springs.... and that is just a small part of the picture of living the life of a dancer. The social aspects can be downright ugly both internally and externally. You have to have a pretty strong stomach in more ways than one to be a dancer!
I recently had a transvestite in my classes and she did well with the other dancers, but she really found out in the end that it was about learning how to move more like a woman than any other thing, not about the dance itself. She stayed in class for a year and then moved on to other things. She learned a lot about being a woman because she had the opportunity in an accepting environment, to be close up and personal with a group of us. In the end, she did not want to be a dancer, but we miss her because she was a Sweetheart.
You need to be prepared to know that even dancers are often not that socially acceptable in some circles, females and males have their own sets of problems on a social basis as well. If you want to really be a dancer and are not just enamored of what we wear, get in touch with Mark Balahadia, who has figured out ways to adapt the female costume the male body in some very effective ways.
Regards,
A'isha
 

da Sage

New member
Hi Twilight Spiral,

A troupe is for people who already know how to belly dance. I hope you asked about getting lessons, not joining the troupe!

The costumes are great, and of course you can buy a few to wear at home or when you go out. I know some local men who make good $ in a dance show at the local club, some with exotic costumes. Learning to dance well will help you to look better in a belly dance costume, and put on a better show (whether public or private).;)

Men in belly dance class (straight, gay, fond-of-crossdressing, whatever!) usually wear t-shirts, shorts (of moderate length) or yoga/track pants with proper underwear, and a scarf tied to obscure their "package". I have also been in classes with a male who wears a skirt, but I generally feel that's not the best way to start out. Most of the women will be wearing long pants, so it's better to do the same.

If it is very important to you to wear full costume while learning dance, you may need to work at home with a video, or arrange private lessons. Just like ballet and modern dance, belly dance has "class dress" and "performance dress". If you want something belly-dancey for a group class, look into Melodia pants. They are very dramatic, and flattering to both sexes. But please do not start in class with a cropped top. I think it would just be too distracting for the beginner ladies (or maybe that's just me:lol:)! Save crop tops for later. You can chop your practice tee a little shorter if it obscures your hips.
 

Twilight Spiral

New member
Caroline_afifi- The outfit isn't fancy or bright. It a a long flow maroon skirt with a ruby cop-top. I am still reading through thread and males don't have it as bad as I thought it would be.

The reason I want to dance is not only because of it's beauty but it's a way express myself in ways I never knew existed. I want to express my self and since my writing is limited only to words I want to expand it.

A'isha Azar- I realize when I posted I was more focus on my looks then the dance it self. I am a actor on the side and when the chance comes up and I know that dance is not something you can just learn, nor is singing. I am learning acting skills everyday and I will learn till the day I die and I know dance is the same; Belly Dance more then any.

I know this won't be easy, nothing ever is, but I am willing to try. If there is one thing I have learned it is that if we don't experiment we will never find our passion.

I do appreciate your concern and care, thank you.

da Sage- Haha, no, no, slow down. The troupe's leader is a teacher. She runs a studio with two others about 30 minutes from where I live. I read up on practice as well, my outfit would get in the way for a practice. I was referring to preforming for others. Sorry for the confusion.

Haha, no, I couldn't ware the top to every lesson, that would be just plain weird:lol:

Still, I wonder if this is right...I need to think.

Thank you to everyone, I will keep you posted on what I decide.
 

Twilight Spiral

New member
I am going to do IT! I don't know what I was thinking, I have lived a life were live the way I like and do what I like, so why should these stupids concerns of what others may think about me belly dancing cloud my mind. I mean my parents are ok and more then anything they support it, expand my horizon.

I know it won't be easy, and like most it will become apart of my life and I will need to give up time to practice and learn...Umm, since teachers a limited at my current location are limited and there is the possibility that the teacher who is here can really only do private, which I don't have money for. The studio is preferred to be strictly female, which is understandable.

So umm, wow this feels weird. Does anyone have any recommended DVD instructional videos, for a start at least?
 
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da Sage

New member
I am going to do IT! I don't know what I was thinking, I have lived a life were live the way I like and do what I like, so why should these stupids concerns of what others may think about me belly dancing cloud my mind. I mean my parents are ok and more then anything they support it, expand my horizon.

I know it won't be easy, and like most it will become apart of my life and I will need to give up time to practice and learn...Umm, since teachers a limited at my current location are limited and there is the possibility that the teacher who is here can really only do private, which I don't have money for. The studio is preferred to be strictly female, which is understandable.

So umm, wow this feels weird. Does anyone have any recommended DVD instructional videos, for a start at least?
Hi Twilight, congratulations on deciding to study the art of bellydance!

I like Jenna's Basics and Beyond Bellydance, The Art of the Drum Solo with Sonia and Issam, Rachel Brice's first DVD, and the warmup on East Coast Tribal (although the drills might be tricky for a beginner).

I wanted to post a wonderful male dancer video for you to watch, but I think he took it down because of costuming issues. I will edit to add it here if I find it again.
 

Mark_Balahadia

New member
I make costuming for men by the way! Not your typical vest and harem pants look though :)

Caroline_afifi- The outfit isn't fancy or bright. It a a long flow maroon skirt with a ruby cop-top. I am still reading through thread and males don't have it as bad as I thought it would be.

The reason I want to dance is not only because of it's beauty but it's a way express myself in ways I never knew existed. I want to express my self and since my writing is limited only to words I want to expand it.

A'isha Azar- I realize when I posted I was more focus on my looks then the dance it self. I am a actor on the side and when the chance comes up and I know that dance is not something you can just learn, nor is singing. I am learning acting skills everyday and I will learn till the day I die and I know dance is the same; Belly Dance more then any.

I know this won't be easy, nothing ever is, but I am willing to try. If there is one thing I have learned it is that if we don't experiment we will never find our passion.

I do appreciate your concern and care, thank you.

da Sage- Haha, no, no, slow down. The troupe's leader is a teacher. She runs a studio with two others about 30 minutes from where I live. I read up on practice as well, my outfit would get in the way for a practice. I was referring to preforming for others. Sorry for the confusion.

Haha, no, I couldn't ware the top to every lesson, that would be just plain weird:lol:

Still, I wonder if this is right...I need to think.

Thank you to everyone, I will keep you posted on what I decide.
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Male costuming

Dear Gang,
I am a professional theatrical costumer as well as a dancer. I am happy to see men moving away from shalwar and vest. To me, that particular look says certain things to the general public: Genie coming out of the bottle, or Sultan of the harem, or worse yet, eunuch in the sultan's harem. I really like some of the alternative costuming coming out for men. I like the jeans and t-shirt look really well, or the jazz pant and tank or cat suit with a fringe belt. (Mark has a turquoise one that I really like.) I also like a straight panel skirt on men really well, with a short or long pant underneath. I am not too overly fond of the bra look on men because I think one needs breasts to really do that look justice. I also like just something like some bead flatwork on the chest with attached strands, rather reminiscent of the chest plate thing but less warrior-like!
Regards,
A'isha
 

Twilight Spiral

New member
Hi Twilight, congratulations on deciding to study the art of bellydance!

I like Jenna's Basics and Beyond Bellydance, The Art of the Drum Solo with Sonia and Issam, Rachel Brice's first DVD, and the warmup on East Coast Tribal (although the drills might be tricky for a beginner).
Thank you ^^ Plus they are available at the local Borders so I can start right away ^__^


Mark
- Really? Have any examples?

jenc- It is nothing against the outfit, I just don't like them. They don't seem to fit me.

Shanazel- Aww, I Zorba! Mark and Zorba are two the greatest male belly dancers I have ever seen. I look up to them both.

Aisha Azar- What you have said is very insightful, thank you ^^

Ok, so I have been listening to my new age music and I have found several found several songs that I swear you could belly dance to. Has anyone ever found a song on their own and created a dance just for it?

If there is one thing I have learned right off the bat it is that Bell Dancers all have different ways to dance. One may prefer swords, another the Isis Wing Dance, and all of us have our own views on what looks best. So I have this to say.

"I will wear what I see fit to express myself and I won't be ashamed of it. I prefer the skirt and chop top look, maybe my look will change, my be not but this is what I like and if you don't like it then deal with it!"
 

Twilight Spiral

New member
Ow, ow, wow, Belly Dance really does work the muscles, I think my legs don't want to start again. A couple more questions have arisen ^^;

One thing become clear when I started the DVD Basic and Beyond, my body can't bend much like a instructors. Now I knew this would happen, but I am curios on how males dancers adjust to this movement?

How many practice in semi grew? At the moment I have only plain clothes and well I can't really tell if my hips are moving correctly. Shoulder yes, but hips not so much. I would buy different clothes but I am short on cash.

The topics and weigh loss are right, belly dance really does work the body:lol:

//Twilight Spiral
 

khanjar

New member
Well, I was told wear a waist scarf, then if you do the movements in front of a full length mirror, you can see. Mind I suppose if you don't have a full length mirror, you can do it with sound, by the application of jingly things like bells or something like that.

Never had the problem with leg aches, as I learned the slightly bent leg posture by doing Tai Chi. When I started Tai Chi, then I had the leg aches.

If you practice in private, you can wear what you wish, I just use shorts and t shirt, as it is fairly unrestrictive.
 
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khanjar

New member
When I first started practicing, I was a little self conscious of those who live next to me and our paper thin walls, so I used to play a bit of death metal on the stereo, and transmit the lesson to my headphones, whilst viewing the lesson on the tv

Now I don't care, if they are listening in, they can do, and wonder.
 

da Sage

New member
Well, I was told wear a waist scarf, then if you do the movements in front of a full length mirror, you can see.
Yep, any long scarf will do - you can pick one up at Target, Walmart, or a thrift store. You could even use a necktie! A really big square scarf will work, too - just fold it in half into a triangle.

Tie it so the top is at your hipbone, or slightly above.
 

khanjar

New member
Dear Gang,
I am a professional theatrical costumer as well as a dancer. I am happy to see men moving away from shalwar and vest. To me, that particular look says certain things to the general public: Genie coming out of the bottle, or Sultan of the harem, or worse yet, eunuch in the sultan's harem. I really like some of the alternative costuming coming out for men. I like the jeans and t-shirt look really well, or the jazz pant and tank or cat suit with a fringe belt. (Mark has a turquoise one that I really like.) I also like a straight panel skirt on men really well, with a short or long pant underneath. I am not too overly fond of the bra look on men because I think one needs breasts to really do that look justice. I also like just something like some bead flatwork on the chest with attached strands, rather reminiscent of the chest plate thing but less warrior-like!
Regards,
A'isha
Yes, I was wondering along the lines of the Turkish Korazin,or scale but a lot lighter.

Perhaps here might be of use for some thoughts;

Silk Road Designs Armoury
 

Twilight Spiral

New member
Well, I was told wear a waist scarf, then if you do the movements in front of a full length mirror, you can see. Mind I suppose if you don't have a full length mirror, you can do it with sound, by the application of jingly things like bells or something like that.

Never had the problem with leg aches, as I learned the slightly bent leg posture by doing Tai Chi. When I started Tai Chi, then I had the leg aches.

If you practice in private, you can wear what you wish, I just use shorts and t shirt, as it is fairly unrestrictive.
Oh, I just bought a belly dancer sash with coins on it from a local shop. I can use that, I was going to keep it with the outfit...Hehehe, I don't know what I was thinking.:think:

It was weird, I practice Tai Chi as well, but the leg stretches were different from what I am use to and I guess I suffered, or I haven't worked my legs in some time. Either way I am sure there will be more soreness to come.

khanjar- That is good to hear ^__^

da Sage- A necktie? :lol: I'm sorry, but I have never heard of a use like that before. Sorry, I don't mean to laugh, but I find this funny.

Everyone here is great, I am so very grateful. I am glad I look here for my questions ^^
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
How in tarnation did I miss this thread?

Here's my take on it - keep in mind this is what works for ME - others need to make their own choices in the matter...

There are all kinds of options for male dancers in the top department that aren't necessarily vests, but aren't bras either. I don't wear bras as I don't have the anatomy that requires one - that's my "line" between masculine and feminine (no quotes). Take a look through my galleries for "some" of the possibilities - but remember I don't have them all covered by any means! My very favorite top is my blue "Raffa top" (Named after the male dancer from whom I blatantly stole the idea) - its unabashedly masculine in the true sense (based on anatomy), yet it is very "pretty" or "beautiful" or whatever pronoun you want to apply to it. Its quite versatile in that it can be decorated much like the female bra can be in a variety of ways (lookup Raffa on the web, there's a couple of pictures of him in this kind of top). It also shows off the dancer's torso quite well and highlights isolations spectacularly - something that neither a bare chested look, nor a shirted look can do.

My "famous" quote: I'm neither a woman, nor do I desire to look like one; yet I do reserve the right to seek my own beauty.

As far as skirts go, I consider them a unisex garment as they're not dependent upon anatomy - indeed, I wear them full time in my mundane life. Plus the usual blab about skirts being worn by men for thousands of years in much of the world.

In my dance life, I wear them when the dance calls for one, i.e. the dance includes skirtwork. I otherwise tend NOT to wear them performing as I realize that my audiences most likely do NOT consider them a unisex garment and I don't want to warp their brains any more than I already do by my mere presence. But again, if the dance calls for one, I'll gladly wear one - if someone can't handle it they can leave. I'm not going to spoil my fun because of stupid cultural norms - and most of my audiences seem to love it. Remind me to tell you about the time I was asked to demonstrate skirtwork in a workshop because I was the best in the class at it!

I don't recommend wearing a skirt in class (unless doing skirtwork) - most teachers don't either because they want to be able to see what your lower body is doing. As someone else pointed out, Melodia dance pants or similar from Sharifwear or L.Rose are excellent and beautiful things to wear. They're about the only pants I'm ever seen in these days (for the simple reason that Belly Dance is about the only time I wear pants).
 
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