My problem with this dance....

Tarik Sultan

New member
Everybody has a different body shape and the part of body we have with tiny muscles are the ones we need to work more for the dance, just for the sake of improving our dance and harmonious movement and not for the sake of any masculinity or feminity model.

So, you can dance if you can walk. You are not supposed to fit a certain way of gender style of oriental dance, for it does not exist really. Stating that you want to be you, that is the very basis of everything. You may explore videos of dancers, of any gender, who dance using upper and lower bodies to express themselves and pick up which ones you like as role models or teachers. Better to invest in a one-in-a-life time workshop with a dancer you like very much than wander to worry about dancing like A or B because they are males. Personally, i have learned great things from teachers with completely different bodies than my own shape type [not only because of different gender but because this is how they are born and i am born and we have to accept this as an advantage]. Believe me, the good teacher will assist you to dance with YOUR body and style and not with the imaginary-expected body and style people might stereotypically want from you.
I totally agree with everything you said. I'd like to point out that this notion that the dance is meant for only one gender or body type is a very recent notion created primarily in the context of the commercial market of the 20th century. Before that timepeople of all gender identities and body types could be found performing. If you lookat pictures of Egyptian dancers in the 19th century, none of them had coca cola bottle figures. The overwhelming majority of the were stout and thick waisted. It was only when the entertainment industry began to mirror the western model that skin color, gender and body image became matters of consideration. Now I'm not neccessarily saying that it was all a bad thing, but what I am saying and have been saying these many years is that we need to expand our consciousness because there is room for everybody. Also, when you consider thast this is primarily a social folk dance. However, we've placed such a heavy emphasis on the commercial aspect that these other aspects have been eclipsed.

I'd also like to mention that the mythology that sprang up to explain the origins of the dance once it was exported to the west, (especially in the context of attracting students for dance classes), has added to this. The truth of the matter is this dance is primarily an African form, one that belongs to a family of dances indigenous to the African continent. When we look to the other forms in the extended family, we see that neither body shape nor gender are a factor. This video clip is of a dance form from Cameroon called Asiko. What you will notice is the heavy emphasis on circular hip movements, the fact that it is unisex, that everyone dancing has a different body shape and that even handicaped people, providing they have the body parts necessary can dance as well. [video=youtube;aOJhnosI22k]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOJhnosI22k[/video]

There is more to dancing than performing professionally and the only limitations are the ones we have artificially created. I state again, the limitations that exist are ARTIFICIALLY CREATED. I dare say that if dance in Egypt was approached from the perspective of primarily cultural expression, rather than commercial, we would not be having these discussions.
 

Tanglefoot

New member
So in effect the west has redefined yet another region's culture and with it created falseties that we are forced to adhere to through societal training.

Of course recorded history is the problem, where there are many histories, yet only the history that is politically more acceptable to the powerful is promoted, where I personally wonder how willing a patriarchal society would be to reveal the actual truth of society particularly given allusions to sexuality via religion and politics.
 

Daimona

Moderator
So... to get us back on topic.
Tanglefoot: Have I got it right if I read in this thread that your problem with this dance isn't the dance itself because you love the dance and you love to dance, but the long-term indoctrination of genders, stereotypes and prejudices in society combined with your gender dysphoria and extra chromosome? (Yes, I know this is oversimplifying things and that your challenges are more complex.)

I know it is much easier for me to say that you shouldn't bother about the bipolarity in society, but the world isn't just black and white. There are soo many shades in between. Don't bother about categories defined by others.

Just be a human being. Be yourself the best you can and do the things you love.

I just hope you can keep enjoying the dance and keep enjoying dancing for many years ahead.
 

Tanglefoot

New member
So... to get us back on topic.
Tanglefoot: Have I got it right if I read in this thread that your problem with this dance isn't the dance itself because you love the dance and you love to dance, but the long-term indoctrination of genders, stereotypes and prejudices in society combined with your gender dysphoria and extra chromosome? (Yes, I know this is oversimplifying things and that your challenges are more complex.)
In a nutshell, yes and sure just ignore it, if it was that easy, I have been trying all my life, but in order to ignore, one has to be confident in oneself or at least uncaring which is a form of self confidence. Add a degree of autism and there comes a point where you become very sensitive to others disapproval real and imagined for without confidence one needs to at least fit in to avoid the emotional hurt of rejection and I do find society, western society suffers from bipolar disorder one has to be one thing or the other for there is little understanding for what can be both or not either.

Oh sure I love this dance and likely won't quit it, but at the same time I fear I will not reach my potential, that being what my mind's eye sees of which are not fantasies for from past experience when I have been able to realise my mind I have excelled far beyond the expectation of many but those times are very rare as I do not know the method by which I can release what makes me feel alive and in the moment. But what I will say that has caused a lot of damage with this dance is what has grown up around it, quite likely from a western political/commercial perspective, you know males or what is male looking has to be rejected or at best tolerated under licence- I actually feel it and becasue of the hurt it causes, I am not so observant these days of developments within bellydance for they always come from the same perspective, that of gender inequality and oft by those that actually cry gender equality- aye, when it suits them it seems.

Well I am going to do something this year, something rather drastic many may think, but for me not and not just becasue of the dance, but for what is put on the male I look but internally am not and that is transition and no, not to female, but in fact partial trans to rid the male label that has hurt me so much where it has been suggested everything that I am experiencing could be the result of hormones becasue I produce a hell of lot less than the male society takes me for, where I look at it this way, given infertility and asexuality what does it matter what I am for the goal truly is happiness, where maybe with happiness may come self confidence.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
western society suffers from bipolar disorder one has to be one thing or the other for there is little understanding for what can be both or not either.
Look, I have bipolar, and using it to describe society is derogatory and demeaning to people like me. Have a read of this, and please be more careful in your word useage in future. You understand what it is like to be hurt by the ill-considered words and actions of others, so I say this gently - your comment REALLY hurt me.
 

Tanglefoot

New member
Look, I have bipolar, and using it to describe society is derogatory and demeaning to people like me. Have a read of this, and please be more careful in your word useage in future. You understand what it is like to be hurt by the ill-considered words and actions of others, so I say this gently - your comment REALLY hurt me.

My apologies if my choices of words hurt you and any other similarly affected, but see how words and attitudes can hurt where of course only the affected feel the hurt, hence why people, myself included can appear not to care about the cognitive and emotional travails of others.

As to bipolar, I am aware of bipolar, it is in my family as well but in what I said it was not meant to be a term of abuse but in fact a term of understanding.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
But you know for a fact that bipolar has absolutely nothing to do with the bi-gender orientation of society in general. I'm horrified that you would use the word bipolar to describe it. There is no reason for it, and by doing so you perpetuate negative stereotypes about mental health. Of all people I am stunned that you would use such language.

Back to the topic at hand - it's time for you to just say screw you guys, I like this dance and I'm going to dance it my way. Be it in skirts and sequins or in a plain galabeya, who cares, dance because it makes you happy to do so.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
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