"It's like stripping, right?"

Makeda Maysa

New member
On occasion, morons are known to follow it up with "you must be really good in bed!"
That really gets my goat!! :naghty:
My response is usually: "Yeah, I am, but that has nothing to do with bellydance. I was really, really good even before I started dancing." (All while thinking, "Jackass.")
 

Oresai

New member
I have an online blog...I live on a small island so there`s an island blogging community (or was, before the BBC closed it down, though another one has reopened :) )
and when I discovered bellydance, and made my first costume, I wrote a blog about it and posted a pic of the costume, me wearing it. It was nothing indecent!
But I got mixed reactions from some of the islanders...particularly the men! Who told me I shouldn`t be baring so much flesh, and that it was indecent. My response was polite but I did say, wait a moment...if you were on a beach you`d see scantier clad women in bikinis, would you say the same thing to them?
 

lizaj

New member
I have an online blog...I live on a small island so there`s an island blogging community (or was, before the BBC closed it down, though another one has reopened :) )
and when I discovered bellydance, and made my first costume, I wrote a blog about it and posted a pic of the costume, me wearing it. It was nothing indecent!
But I got mixed reactions from some of the islanders...particularly the men! Who told me I shouldn`t be baring so much flesh, and that it was indecent. My response was polite but I did say, wait a moment...if you were on a beach you`d see scantier clad women in bikinis, would you say the same thing to them?
To any woman on a beach in her bikini up you you live I'd say "Hardy!"

I look back at how I thought of belly dance when I were a lass back in the 1960s...mmm..sexy dance, showgirls with an oriental twist. People just need educating there's more to it. But it's still about a SENSUAL dance you do while keeping your costume on.
 

Mya

New member
My response is usually: "Yeah, I am, but that has nothing to do with bellydance. I was really, really good even before I started dancing." (All while thinking, "Jackass.")
How'd i miss this?! i love it. i'm saving that for next time :D
 

SmilingMarie

New member
It doesn't help matters when certain belly dancers think it would be appropriate to include burlesque workshops as part of belly dance festivals, or to do fusions of belly dance and burlesque in their performances, or to feature burlesque performances in what are otherwise entirely belly dance shows.

(I don't have a problem with belly dance and burlesque being on the same stage when that stage features a diverse collection of acts such as fire-eating, comedy skits, clowns, etc. I'm not hating on burlesque, just want people to treat it as being separate from belly dance in the same way you would treat the polka as separate from belly dance.)
Shira, I couldn't agree more! It seems like all the years of getting the public to see bellydancing as an art form in its own right with no links whatsoever to stripping etc is lost when burlesque is fused with bellydance (either by one performer in one performance or in a show specifically for bellydance).
I'm sure that burlesque dancers who know more about the history of burlesque than I do might be able to 'defend' it (ie defend it as an artform in its own right too) but I'll leave it up to them.

I've seen burlesque done well (with degrees of stripping involved) but prefer to see it on its own turf so to speak and not in a bellydance setting. I know I can tell the two apart but I am not sure that goes for the general public.
 

stellastar

New member
Not stripping, but still very sensual

I totally understand that it's not like stripping at all, but it's so sensual that I find myself getting really shy about performing and even watching.

Has anyone else ever felt this? How do you get into the mindset to overcome these feelings?
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Maybe you need to concentrate more on the technique because I think you are missing the mark on this. This dance is an art that does make you feel good about yourself. But personally I've never had a problem with being shy about my own dancing because I felt too sensual. If that's the case, for lack of a better phrase, do you think you may be sexing it up a bit? Because if so, I think you aren't understanding this dance right.
 

da Sage

New member
I totally understand that it's not like stripping at all, but it's so sensual that I find myself getting really shy about performing and even watching.

Has anyone else ever felt this? How do you get into the mindset to overcome these feelings?
I don't know what kind of bellydancing you are doing/watching. But perhaps the thing to do is to watch as much bellydance as possible to desensitize yourself to it. At the same time, seek out less obviously sensual bellydance variants: cane dancing, Tunisian, Khalegy. Dance for a friendly audience, and be conservative in your costuming.
 

shiradotnet

New member
I totally understand that it's not like stripping at all, but it's so sensual that I find myself getting really shy about performing and even watching.

Has anyone else ever felt this? How do you get into the mindset to overcome these feelings?
Over the years, I've had a number of students express this same concern. Usually, the people who have said so had originally signed up for lessons in the hope that this dance would make them feel sexier, more alluring. Because that's what they wanted the dance to do for them, they didn't have a framework for performing it in front of strangers.

As a dancer, you can choose to express a variety of different personalities. There are many moods/characters you can express other than a sexy seductress.

This article on my web site offers several ideas on personalities you can explore in the dance. My suggestion is to pick one that feels comparatively "safe" to you, and experiment with it:

Exploring Stage Personalities in Oriental Dance
 

Elfie

New member
Just a couple of months ago, my best friend and I were discussing belly dance. She expressed interest in practicing with me to some DVDs. Another friend of hers was there, and asked a few questions. Thinking she was truly interested, I asked if she'd like to come practice with us and the DVDs.

Her response?

"Sure. Do I need to bring my own stripper pole?" And she laughed.

I think my best friend saw how angry I was at that comment, because the other girl was promptly told that she was needed by her husband and me and my best friend retreated elsewhere in the house to talk about it seriously.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Just a couple of months ago, my best friend and I were discussing belly dance. She expressed interest in practicing with me to some DVDs. Another friend of hers was there, and asked a few questions. Thinking she was truly interested, I asked if she'd like to come practice with us and the DVDs.

Her response?

"Sure. Do I need to bring my own stripper pole?" And she laughed.

I think my best friend saw how angry I was at that comment, because the other girl was promptly told that she was needed by her husband and me and my best friend retreated elsewhere in the house to talk about it seriously.
I know - I got a couple of comments like that at work and I really got steamed, especially since they had come to see me dance and knew that it wasn't like that. My answer? NOT FUNNY.
 

Elfie

New member
I know - I got a couple of comments like that at work and I really got steamed, especially since they had come to see me dance and knew that it wasn't like that. My answer? NOT FUNNY.
Bolding mine.

It really isn't a bit funny. It's sad. The United States is such a superficial society and hyper sexualized by both the media (meaning journalists who focus on celebrity goings on tabloid style... you guys know what I mean) and, sadly, musicians. As a result, something emotional, cultural, artistic and beautiful is seen as just another cheap pony trick to get a man's attention.

US-ians tend to infer sexual meanings into even the most innocent of things. Beauty pageants where three year old girls are dressed up like high cost call girls, even the act of "dress up in some of Mommy's silkies" is now cause for concern. It's something our society can never gain back, I'm afraid. We as a society have lost all sense of innocence, and it's a darned shame.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
Bolding mine.

It really isn't a bit funny. It's sad. The United States is such a superficial society and hyper sexualized by both the media (meaning journalists who focus on celebrity goings on tabloid style... you guys know what I mean) and, sadly, musicians. As a result, something emotional, cultural, artistic and beautiful is seen as just another cheap pony trick to get a man's attention.

US-ians tend to infer sexual meanings into even the most innocent of things. Beauty pageants where three year old girls are dressed up like high cost call girls, even the act of "dress up in some of Mommy's silkies" is now cause for concern. It's something our society can never gain back, I'm afraid. We as a society have lost all sense of innocence, and it's a darned shame.
You would think they would've learned something from the Jon Benet Ramsey murder. :(
 

LadyFatima

New member
My sister LOVES watching that show "Toddlers and Tiaras". . . .I seriously can't stand even glancing at it. . .I think I watched 15 mintues of it ONCE and after that, my blood was seriously starting to boil, I couldn't take it anymore. . . .

Now they've made it even worse by coming out with a TV show (I forget the exact title of it) but basically it's this woman who instructs little girls in dancing. Again, I made the mistake of watching this program for a few mintues, and I'm still appauled that they put that stuff on TV. . .some of the costumes those girls wore and the choreography they danced to basically made them look like "baby prostitutes" (and I really hate to call them that, but it's the truth.)

Seriously, what kind of world is this where even little girls can't escape from being over sexualized, and these so called "moms" just look the other way. . . .

"Oh, she's so talented. It's not degrading, it's art. She's beautiful and she's a wonderful dancer. . . ."

Me: "Look lady, your 7 year old daughter is covered in make up, has about 3 pounds worth of product in her hair, and you've got her in a tiny little dress and high heels; and her "dance" is pretty much just her looking 'innocent' while humping the air. . .it's not art, it's SICK!"

All of us on here know by now that belly dance is a beautiful form of art and self expression, and we all should have a pretty good idea of where to draw the line between "sensual" and "sexual".

It pains me to say it but I've got to admit, in today's society, it's no wonder that people have trouble drawing the "line" between the two. It especially makes beginners like me second guess ourselves when it comes practicing our chosen art. . . .:-(
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
$40,000 a year on dance and dressing little girls up in outfits that would make hookers blush.

Some people have more money than good sense.
 

Elfie

New member
Yeah. If I had 40 grand to spare, I think I could find a better use for it. Like building houses for low income families. Or feeding some of the homeless right here in the United States. Or donating it to the Salvation Army. The Red Cross. St. Judes. The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. There are no ends to the charities that need money, and that amount would do wonders,

But no. Mommas of the talented few get to buy dresses and spray tans and pounds of makeup to cake on their three year olds.

Sometimes I lose hope in the world we live in.
 

Aziyade

New member
Dance Moms?

This one is like a train wreck for me, I can't turn it off.
OMG -- I caught part of one of those shows and was APPALLED!!!!

One of the girls had an injury that was causing her pain. The "mother" kept telling the camera (and her child) that "professional dancers work with injuries all the time!" and pushed her to perform in whatever stupid competition it was they were dancing for.

I was floored.

As a former pro, I can say YES, it's true that pros in some cities will definitely dance on injuries -- but NOT WHEN THEY ARE STILL FREAKING CHILDREN!!!!!

The ONLY reason dancers dance on injuries now is fear of losing the role or their job. Professional dance is extremely competitive and cut-throat, especially in the larger cities -- it was a little different for regional companies, and our companies around here would always pull you out of the lineup if the doc pink-slipped you -- and dancers will do anything to keep their roles.

But it is absolute BULLPOOP to encourage that kind of attitude with a CHILD still in training. If any of our apprentice dancers ever had a mom pushing them to dance through an injury, the dancer would be OUT, period. Possibly for the whole season.


As a soon-to-be mom, I'm absolutely disgusted by what some parents push their kids to do. "Oh I always wanted to be a dancer and be a star in the spotlight, so I think I'll live vicariously through my kids, risking their health and happiness for MY OWN dream." Disgusting. They should have their kids removed from them.
 
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