Plus Size Dancers

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Blissful sigh. I love it when people I like come to a happy meeting of minds. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
 

Aziyade

Well-known member
AFAA and ACE recommendations for AEROBIC FITNESS classes and weight training classes are different for obese people (over 30% of body weight is from fat) than they are for non-obese people. For the obese client, you're encouraged to start them on non-weight-bearing activities like cycling and to get them to work 40-60% of heart rate reserve.

The reasoning for this is solid -- to prevent injury.

But that's aerobic dance and we're talking belly dance, and I haven't found a need to modify my beginner classes for overweight or even severely overweight people. Actually, I don't know of any specific movements in the beginner syllabus that would be affected by excess body weight, other than just the work involved in standing and walking.


Now as for obesity in general, and obese performers:

Shortly after I quit dancing (ballet) I gained about 60 pounds (of fat) in about 2 years. My doctor griped about it constantly, and I knew it was unhealthy, but I didn't make any effort to fix it. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, and I was not happy.

Having been involved in the dance world, I KNOW there is an audience expectation that the dancer will look a certain way -- whether we like that or not. And I'm aware that in the US, people who are overweight are the subject of a lot of prejudice -- and often considered too "lazy" to do something about it. Overweight people often make excuses for their weight -- I know I certainly did. And we foster this idea that you can be 30% body fat and still be "healthy."

The research is out there and it shows obesity is NOT healthy. We are not "fit" when we are 30-35-40 % body fat. The biochemical stuff going on in our bodies is NOT optimal when we are overweight. It is NOT "Normal" to develop diabetes at age 40. We may FEEL healthy, but what is happening inside our bodies is not. That's the unpleasant fact that any good doctor will be happy to discuss with you.

That said, belly dance class is an EXCELLENT way to get involved with body awareness and to help overweight people "get over" their hatred of their body (which is common.) For people who aren't engaged in regular physical exercise, belly dance is an excellent place to start. If we can encourage body-positive thinking, we can encourage the DESIRE and the MOTIVATION for weight loss and fitness.

I'm ever so pleased because I've had two Type-2 Diabetics in my classes who have been able to go off insulin. They started with belly dance and built up the courage to do cardio kick-boxing. I'm SO proud of them because I know how much work it is to start and maintain an exercise program -- AND schedule in time for dance practice.

My doc (who is an Arab originally from Syria) wants me to lose about 15 more pounds of fat. I'm working on it. With each pound lost I feel younger and healthier. I KNOW that for me, anyway, when I was so overweight and I said "oh but I feel fine. I'm healthy and fit" -- that was a complete lie. I could run a mile without having a heart attack, but that didn't make me healthy.

That's MY OWN experience, and I don't expect anybody else's to be the same, but I know in my heart that I was NOT healthy when I was overweight, and I wonder if sometimes we tend to try and believe this in order to make ourselves feel better about something that takes a huge time and energy investment to change. ??
 

Maria_Aya

New member
I am fat... and I'm not proud !!!

But I'm happy !!! and my happiness doesnt come from my weight, but from my life, my family, my daughter, my friends, my dance, music, traveling and many other small bits that make us living !!!

If i want to loose weight? Yes, Aiwa, Nai, Evet, Da and everything !!!

If bellydance helped me? NO !!!

And I teach 5 hours per day at least !! and I dance another 2, and after all that in the middle of the night I eat a hell of rubbish things cause i'm boulimic and was anorexic when I was a teenager, even before anorexic took a term back in 80's.

I really want to lose weight for very specific reasons... Bellydance costumes !!! not dancing, but costumes that I drool lol

I would never do an operation for it, cause I will feel the stupiest person on earth to have to cut my stomack or something instead of sewing (greek expression) my mouth !!!

I cant even think of classes for students according to their weight, this is just horrible and racist !! classes should be according to dance abilities !!!

If I feel beautifull? yes... in Egypt lol
Nope in Greece, i feel kind of transparent in the road as i keep a low profile.
On stage on the other hand I'm the Ma'alema !! (the boss)

I believe that for healthy reasons ONLY someone should give it a serious try to lose weight, same as we should quit smoking or exersize more.

Quite interesting, even that I have many videos at youtube i NEVER got a message about my weight, and makes me wonder...
but I guess that its that the audience, Western or Arab have a strong instict and FEEL when the dancer enjoys the dance, and this give them joy also.
I guess its the Authentic Kitchen Baladi that makes them forget the figure lol

YouTube - Authentic Kitchen Baladi - Maria Aya - Greece

or having fun at Cairo

YouTube - Maria Aya, Cairo - Khan Halili Coffee shop ??? ????

Kisses to all the dancers of all shapes ;)

Maria Aya:D
 

lizaj

New member
I am fat... and I'm not proud !!!

But I'm happy !!! and my happiness doesnt come from my weight, but from my life, my family, my daughter, my friends, my dance, music, traveling and many other small bits that make us living !!!

If i want to loose weight? Yes, Aiwa, Nai, Evet, Da and everything !!!

If bellydance helped me? NO !!!

And I teach 5 hours per day at least !! and I dance another 2, and after all that in the middle of the night I eat a hell of rubbish things cause i'm boulimic and was anorexic when I was a teenager, even before anorexic took a term back in 80's.

I really want to lose weight for very specific reasons... Bellydance costumes !!! not dancing, but costumes that I drool lol

I would never do an operation for it, cause I will feel the stupiest person on earth to have to cut my stomack or something instead of sewing (greek expression) my mouth !!!

I cant even think of classes for students according to their weight, this is just horrible and racist !! classes should be according to dance abilities !!!

If I feel beautifull? yes... in Egypt lol
Nope in Greece, i feel kind of transparent in the road as i keep a low profile.
On stage on the other hand I'm the Ma'alema !! (the boss)

I believe that for healthy reasons ONLY someone should give it a serious try to lose weight, same as we should quit smoking or exersize more.

Quite interesting, even that I have many videos at youtube i NEVER got a message about my weight, and makes me wonder...
but I guess that its that the audience, Western or Arab have a strong instict and FEEL when the dancer enjoys the dance, and this give them joy also.
I guess its the Authentic Kitchen Baladi that makes them forget the figure lol

YouTube - Authentic Kitchen Baladi - Maria Aya - Greece

or having fun at Cairo

YouTube - Maria Aya, Cairo - Khan Halili Coffee shop ??? ????

Kisses to all the dancers of all shapes ;)

Maria Aya:D
With you all the way...love that post, Maria Aya:clap::clap::clap:
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
I am fat... and I'm not proud !!!

But I'm happy !!! and my happiness doesnt come from my weight, but from my life, my family, my daughter, my friends, my dance, music, traveling and many other small bits that make us living !!!

If i want to loose weight? Yes, Aiwa, Nai, Evet, Da and everything !!!

If bellydance helped me? NO !!!

And I teach 5 hours per day at least !! and I dance another 2, and after all that in the middle of the night I eat a hell of rubbish things cause i'm boulimic and was anorexic when I was a teenager, even before anorexic took a term back in 80's.

I really want to lose weight for very specific reasons... Bellydance costumes !!! not dancing, but costumes that I drool lol

I would never do an operation for it, cause I will feel the stupiest person on earth to have to cut my stomack or something instead of sewing (greek expression) my mouth !!!

I cant even think of classes for students according to their weight, this is just horrible and racist !! classes should be according to dance abilities !!!

If I feel beautifull? yes... in Egypt lol
Nope in Greece, i feel kind of transparent in the road as i keep a low profile.
On stage on the other hand I'm the Ma'alema !! (the boss)

I believe that for healthy reasons ONLY someone should give it a serious try to lose weight, same as we should quit smoking or exersize more.

Quite interesting, even that I have many videos at youtube i NEVER got a message about my weight, and makes me wonder...
but I guess that its that the audience, Western or Arab have a strong instict and FEEL when the dancer enjoys the dance, and this give them joy also.
I guess its the Authentic Kitchen Baladi that makes them forget the figure lol

YouTube - Authentic Kitchen Baladi - Maria Aya - Greece

or having fun at Cairo

YouTube - Maria Aya, Cairo - Khan Halili Coffee shop ??? ????

Kisses to all the dancers of all shapes ;)

Maria Aya:D
Oh I loved the clips! specially the kitchen one... the rubber gloves :lol:
The last thing (or in my case, not at all) could anyone watch this and think about weight!
The baladi reminded me a lttle of Vashti who is a beautiful baladi performer based in London, she started her career in the Arab Clubs in London in the
60's.
 

carolmorimoto

New member
Hello Girls,
Last years, in my dance group there was a girl who was really overwheight, and she was one of the BEST bellydancers in the group. We could hear, in the moment she appeared on the stage, nasty comments from some stupid people who were watching, but when she start dancing, everybody was so amazed with the beauty of her dance that the fact that she was a large girl became absoluttely irrelevant.
So, I hope you continue to dance, and don't care about the people who try to push you down. Try to find a better teacher, don't give up.
 

Native Dancer

New member
Cultural Perceptions and Weight/Size

First Nations (Native American) women tend to have a cetain body type especially as we enter our mid-30s. My mother called it "round and brown". Before I retired from my last job, I was rather like fence post-no matter which way I turned you got the same shadow-no butt, no boobs, no curve at the waist, just kinda square and flat. Older ladies would ask if I was feeling well, and my mother would tell them that I just hadn't bloomed yet. This lack of curves, especially in a family notorious for D cup and larger bust sizes really depressed me to the point that I bought all kinds of add a cup type bras, including a water bra that weighed about 8lbs all on its own (and this was a source of MANY jokes in my family for years). Once I left the work force, I started to gain some weight-first place was the bust. 4 inches and a cup size later, I finally feel like I fit in with other women of my race and age. In my culture, thin equals poor and unhealthy: fat is something you EAT, not something you ARE. Our men like curves and a round behind-traditionally this is a sign of a well fed woman who will be fertile. This works the other way as well-thin men are not seen as good providers, otherwise if they were eating well they'd be bigger. It's a cultural perception that I was raised with, and in my world view "plus sized" is normal, and "model sized" is starved and sickly. Now I eat to maintain the "38 specials" as we call them. A comment to the effect that I have lost weight will send me to the kitchen in a heartbeat. Victorias Secret is my best friend, and I shop to show off my assets. I love my curves and work on keeping them, even with an active lifestyle that includes dancing and martial arts on a daily basis.
Plus means more-why isn't there a "minus size"?
Full figured-how about empty figured?
As my mother would tell you if she were still here-"One must have a belly to belly dance-it's not called bone dancing!"
Embrace your curves and tell the super skinny girls who talk trash about you how sorry you are that they can't grow a rack like yours! Then sashay off with your shoulders back, you girls out proud as peacocks, and don't forget to switch your butt on the way!
 
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TribalDancer

New member
Funny enough, I have never found another woman or dancer who tried to tell anyone they were too big to dance. It was ignorant men. And why do we care about them, exactly...
 

Native Dancer

New member
I think those ignorant men you refer to, Tribal Dancer, are still under the stone-age impression that Belly Dancing entails the removal of the dancers costume!
BTW-Tribal Dancer, my little brother saw your avatar today and thinks your hot! Like I said, Native men love curvy women.
 

Kiadorin

New member
Funny enough, I have never found another woman or dancer who tried to tell anyone they were too big to dance. It was ignorant men. And why do we care about them, exactly...
My personal opinion is that women are often just as nasty about a dancer's appearance as men are. I think that they're just less likely to express it directly and resort to other methods of getting the same message across.

On the other hand, I do agree that dancers (the ones who are really serious about it, not the "instant pros") seem to be much more accepting of different types of dancer-packaging, so to speak.
 
honey don't let any one's opinion of you stunt your path to succeed in what you wish to do. My bellydancing teacher was a large lady .... and had the biggest heart and it showed. It did not alter her dancing ability and she taught me very much :D I wouldn't have traded her for the world.
Remember people that says negative things about others only do so to make themselves feel better because they are not comfortable in the skin they were provided with.


OUR EXTERIOR is merely a shell.... its out interior making that lets our beauty shine... with a nice nature and a happiness in yourself you will be radiant and gorgeous no matter what you wish to do :D

size is not the issue with dance... in any aspect whether it be bellydance or different genres.... i love all types of dance. Dont think you cant not do or should not do merely for the fact you dont look like kate moss :D curves are beautiful women arent meant to be sticks dear ;)
 
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masrawy

New member
little secret

I think those ignorant men you refer to, Tribal Dancer, are still under the stone-age impression that Belly Dancing entails the removal of the dancers costume!
BTW-Tribal Dancer, my little brother saw your avatar today and thinks your hot! Like I said, Native men love curvy women.

Ladies can I tell you a secret ... all man like curvy women they just in denial and can't admit to their friends. ;)
 

masrawy

New member
What .......

Men who think all women should have the figure of a 14yr old boy and men who probably LIKE 14yr old boys!:lol:
I know you will get here dear Tarik, but I am in lose of What to make of what you trying to say. I hope it's not What think you saying ..... :confused:

all what I was saying is man are reprogram to like curvy ladies they just don't admit it. If they have the chose between two thin ladies most probably will go for the heaver one. of course their is always exception to the rules. and those are the one who Extinct along with the dinosaur.;)
 

AngelaJP

New member
Many people in my country think that belly dancers are supposed to be meaty and not bony or muscly. We have many plus sized students who dance awesome!

What the heck, it doesn't matter to me whether I fit the ideal of a belly dancer's body as long as I can savor the ecstasy and fulfillment of learning belly dance and feeling the dance even if I'm still a beginner.
 
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