Too Skinny for belly dance? honest question ><

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Well, bless your little belly dancing heart for going to the trouble to answer all posts! Glad I could say something that helps. Looking forward to reading about the Sadie class.
 

Selene

New member
Thank YOU all for replying :)

As soon as I find a little time I'll write about my experience in the workshop.
 

Amulya

Moderator


Amulya - Hi Amulya
I see in the picture that indeed you were very thin, pretty much like I am now, and you looked very beautiful
(also in your other pictures you look amazing and your costumes are lovely!). With me it happened way too often :/ Some family members would say something about it everytime I'd see them, which made me very self concious, but now it happens much less thankfully
Ahh Im glad none of it got in the way for you to do gigs, and you are right, it is very sad that society is like that, it shouldnt be right to be nasty to anyone just because of their physical appearance.
Ohhhh Rachel Brice!!!! that woman is amazing! But I dont know how she looks in person but in videos she doesnt look thin or overweight, and also she looks solid (her body looks strong ina good way) I need some work XD Ahhhh yes, the big movements, Im trying to improve on that. Yesterday I went to class and we are working on a choreography for december (it will be my first time performing since I started taking classes aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh) and I already know that I never do the choreography "clean" in the first tries, but I try xD there were some moves that are difficult for me, in this case hip circles small and big, and actually yesterday I was trying not to make them too big because the first time I tried the small ones I remember having pain in my lower back for a while. My teacher told me that I was missing the posture once I started doing the circles, so I tried doing them smaller, and actually they look BETTER xD so I have to keep practicing. Ohh I love the big skirts, and the ones that have multiple layers ♥ so beautiful

thank you for the compliments :) I felt so self concious at the time, but that went away when I noticed it wasn't much an issue with dancing (I got hired anyway) dancing is really great that way, it changes one's self perception. And with costuming there is so much you can do.
Rachel Brice used to be a lot thinner in the past, and very musculur, which she still is. Have a look at some of her old videos. I saw her life once, long ago, and she did look exactly like in her old videos. Amazing dancer, one of my favourites!
I love multiple layer skirts too, they are fun. I have some wrap skirts that somehow work really well with belly dance costumes and they are easy to layer to get layers with different colours, love that. Another trick I used to use was sleeves, some of the ones I used then are old fashioned now haha, but there are so many styles. The Costume Goddess has many ideas on her web sites, have a look, you might like some of the ideas.
 
Last edited:

walladah

New member
well, let's take the worst scenario and discuss as if this holds

we do not know your appearance and you do not need to bring photos here, but, let's assume that you are tooooo skinny, whatever this might mean.

First thing is to search well the bellydance world: it is not only Ava Fleming, Zoe Jakes used to be very skinny (and still is, i think), and of course golden era egyptian dancers like Katie or Hoda Shams el Din were very skinny too. You will find more and see that skinny and too skinny is beautiful if you know what to do with it.

Second thing is not only to accept your body and metabolism (personally, i would not press myself to gain weight if no other symptom of bad health exists, apart from appearances - maybe messing up with your metabolism might create more problems) but to think and work the other way round. If you think of it as a deficiency you will always be insecure. What is acceptance? Forget about that.

What if skinny body is adequate or facilitates some parts of bellydance than others? Have you ever thought of that? Being skinny myself (and have received rude comments which end up being funny, by several people in several contexts) i can tell that bellydance showed me that some things are easier or looks more beautiful on me than on dancers with different body types. The reverse holds: what is easy for another body type needs months of practice for me to look beautiful and elegant when i dance.

Third point derives from the previous one: if your skinny body is there and insists, that means that you have some advantages and disadvantages and you need to work on both. I would say the same thing to a girl who worries about extra weight: she can do some things easier than me and she needs to work on other stuff. As a teacher, i can tell you that this process is something that holds for every dancer: ones has long arms, the other has short neck, the third has not straight legs so she needs to position differently than another, etc.

Fourth point: from my own experience, i can tell that bellydance helped me to develop some flesh where i wanted it to be: my arms. They were so skinny (and i can see the difference in my early dance photos) that i did not like them. I cannot enter this "acceptance" discourse, i just did not like them, although i knew that i had to dance with them. After some years i realised that... they became beautiful not because i had accepted them, but because i had build tiny muscles that made them look perfectly fleshy (let alone my ribcage opened an dpositioned differently). Yes, i had to give up some tops and jackets because of that, although my weight remained stable and my metabolism got wilder with dance.

So, keep practicing. Your body knows what to do and in case something needs flesh, it will create it little by little.
 

Amulya

Moderator
That's a great post Walladah, I agree, don't try to change your metabolism, I did that and messed it up: I wanted to gain weight*, I did eventually and became overweight and unhealthy. After I always battled with my weight. I will always regret it.

*i got a lot of abuse in daily life about being thin, that had nothing to do with dancing, because in dancing it was fine. Just random people making nasty comments and I had enough of those.
 

walladah

New member
At some point Amulya, we need to talk about

abuse directed to all body types. THere is racism against people who are overweight but also for people who are thin and it comes not from people who are overweight but from people who for other reasons want to make others feel very badly. Our dance sister here met some of them unfortunately but their views are silly.

I am very sorry you had to pass through this. I had problems even with my own parents who had their own silly ideas about healthy children (healthy children=fat children). I ended up fighting when i was 17 because i had, they said, to take 10 kilos [their own idea, no medical condition demanded it], because.... otherwise they would not let me to go to university. I know then what you mean. It is not about body, it is that people around are intrusive without having any entitlement for this. I followed only doctor's advice who told me to eat a bit of bread for the vitamins.

Actually, intrusive and rude people attack in any case: they will comment on your weight or lack of weight, or big hips or lack of big hips, on big breasts or lack of big breasts, on everything. THis is one of those cases where my good manners let me use the F-word and move those people out of my life one way or another.
 

MizzNaaa

New member
Well I'm just gonna put it out there, as an Egyptian we are judgmental (f-word here). At some point you're going to be either too fat or too thin, too tall, too short, to flat boobied (is boobied even a word?...I'm making it one!) too big boobied (hah I used it again!) too dark skinned, too light skinned, too pear shaped, too apple shaped, too long haired, too short haired...

Me? I've been overweight in some way or another ALL my life. I've been told I'm too fat to dance and that I should be ashamed of all the jiggling. Did it stop me from getting on that dance floor in all those birthday parties and henna's and making people's jaws drop (including those who dissed my shape/body) because I'm pretty good at what I do? No it didn't and I had a blast doing it!

Hon, it doesn't matter. just get on that dance floor and own it! As long as you enjoy it of course.

Also take pictures, I love seeing all you awesome ladies rocking dem moves <3
 
Last edited:

Sophia Maria

New member
Well I'm just gonna put it out there, as an Egyptian we are judgmental (f-word here). At some point you're going to be either too fat or too thin, too tall, too short, to flat boobied (is boobied even a word?...I'm making it one!)
:lol: :D :D Flat-chested, MizzNaaa, flat-CHESTED. But boobied works too, I suppose :)
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I like "boobied" and think I will find a way to use it in a sentence someday.

Thanks for the neologism, MizzNaaa!
 

walladah

New member
I did too, Farasha!

She deserves it after all!

And i would like to add that in greek language the same word "fat" (hondros) is used for people who are rude. We say "he is hondros in manners".

I think this is the only fatness that really exists in this world. Dance, my friends, dance!
 

MizzNaaa

New member
pfft, flat-chested sounds like something your doctor would say. Boobied is better!! Boobies is a fun word you should use it more often...BOOBIES.
 

Selene

New member
after I wrote my reply, it got deleted while trying to upload a pic -.-

HI Ladies! and happy new year!

I'll keep it brief this time:

Thanks again for the replies and I will follow your advice. Dont you worry I wont do anything to change my metabolism since my doctor says Im healthy, I just have light, small bones and a very small built. I agree with you about the body shamming part and Im sorry you've had to go through that, it is just very sad that people feel they have the right to shame people simply because of their bodies. I live this all the time, mainly with my family and Im tired already of hearing things about it since I was a little girl. I get criticized because of my body, my naturally curly hair(I refuse to flat iron it all the time just because they think its more sleep and pretty), my way of seeing life, my thoughts on education, my career choice and soooo many other things. I just got to learn how to ignore that, which is super hard for me since I am very honest and can't deal with injustice and lack of respect for others (maybe it is my libra side xd). Anyway, thanks for sharing about you.

Also, very good suggestion, I should find out what my skinny body could be very good at in belly dance and work harder in other things that are not as easy. I already know, for example, that because my hips are smaller, when I do pendulum or hip slides I need to accentuate them more than other girls in my class, even if we are going for small movements, mine always have to be slightly bigger, the thing is although I get lazy at points, I realized after a while that doing it with more effort was actually strengthening my muscles in the abdominal area, my obliques and abs, and now they are more flexible and strong. So yeah, I have found that even the limitations I have because of my skinny body, make it even stronger. Now, many people have mentioned that long arms can be beautiful in dance and Im making an effort to use them more and use their extension in my favor, but I have a question, how could I use long legs? Also, thanks for the names of the dancers from the golden era, didnt know about those two(oh there is so much for me to learn) although some of my favorite dancers are from that era.

Btw, I cant choose between Boobied or booblets XD too funny hahahah

Oh, MizzNaaa thanks for the insight and Im glad you danced anyway and enjoy it! I will really try to Ignore those People.

Also I wanna share something with you. After a year of classes, my belly dance class and I had our first presentation this december. It was a different type of show, it was not in a place with a stage or a hafla type of thing, it was a space for the students from the class to show what they have learned and also dancers from other types of dance were invited. After the presentation we danced with the audience and talked abou belly dance in a relaxed environment. Anyway, we were all very excited and happy and even during rehearsals you could see how everyone just loved dancing, all for different reasons. In our presentation something was very special. We were 8 women and in that small group you could find So many different shapes and sizes, really, thin, curvy, young women, wise women, apple and pear shaped, long hair, straight, curly, blonde, short hair, athletic bodies and more! Such a tiny group and so many qualities! And in that group was reflected the name of our classes, Belly Dance para Todos, which simply means Belly Dance for Anyone/all.

Anyway, thank you!! Ahhh I said before I was gonna write about a workshop I attended in which Sadie was the instructor, and now I have more to write about, yay! Went to another workshop with Cristina Gadea and Natalie Nazario, very different from what Im used to and I loved it!

Anyway, until next time!
 

walladah

New member
Long legs?

that is tough, but it is really a very attractive feature in bellydance. First, you need to think and work on the lines your legs give to your body. You need to reflect on that heavily, particularly when you are posing in dance, i.e. you are stopping or slowing movement at some parts of the song.

Caution: long legs are beautiful but you need to take care of the safety issues. Which means you learn every move and step taking good care of knees and ankles (and hip bones). Your weight centre is far from the floor, so you need to be well balanced and very careful.

Yes, using complex steps [and a nice skirt, perhaps with cut(s)] will attract eyes to your legs. But i would recommend to keep audience eyes on your face and hands and work with body lines to take advantage of legs.
 

Roshanna

New member
Re: long legs...
I have extremely long legs (my inside leg measurement for trousers is 36 inches/91cm). I'm tall all over, but I think my legs and arms are also quite long in proportion to everything else.
I've never found that leg length has that much impact on my dancing, compared to the issues with having long arms. I think it is more important for long-legged dancers to work on good leg and foot lines, since they will be more obvious, and any weird angles will be amplified - but once you have got the good lines, they will look fantastic. I've found that ballet-based leg exercises and Pilates have helped, both with looking good in static poses, and especially with arabesques and leg extensions. Longer legs are heavier, so it takes more strength to lift or extend them in a way that looks effortless.
Oh, and in theory, you can get quite impressive level changes and breaks because you have more distance to work with.
Also, with costuming, you can really work the high-slit skirts :)

A couple of photos showing how poses look with long legs (and arms):
http://rashabellydance.co.uk/bellydance-photo-gallery/#jp-carousel-716
http://rashabellydance.co.uk/bellydance-photo-gallery/#jp-carousel-680
http://rashabellydance.co.uk/bellydance-photo-gallery/#jp-carousel-274
http://rashabellydance.co.uk/bellydance-photo-gallery/#jp-carousel-519
 

Aniseteph

New member
Wow Rasha, that is an impressive inner leg length!

I'm not especially tall by modern standards hereabouts (what do they feed kids nowadays?!!) but I'm tall enough for off the peg belly dance skirts to be too short, and I am not thin either, and I have long arms. Now I'm not saying it looks good when I make like a deranged windmill or travel too far - control matters - but it doesn't look or feel good to always try to dance smaller than I am.

IMO whatever your size or shape you have to own it and work with it and find what works and looks good on you. Belly dance is no place for being an apologist for your size or shape.

BTW I saw Rasha in a competition recently and she 100% owns it :clap: ;) :cool:.
 
Top