No, I don't really think that....I'm just playing with that ever popular song from the early 90's (come on, you know you all just started singing "I'm Too Sexy" in your heads....).
Anyway, back to the blog topic that triggered visions of bald men doing their little turn on the catwalk - what do you think about the relationship of being sexy and being a bellydancer? There was a thread on Bhuz the other day talking about how the general public (let's just call them the gp to make things easier, yes?) correlates bellydance directly with sex, when it really has nothing to do with sex. Well, my response to that is....oh really?
I do agree that folkloric style middle eastern dance is NOT about sex. Definitely not. But, is that really what we do? Or is our dance so far removed from it's "roots" that it really bears no resemblence to its folkloric beginnings, and as become an American invention all its own?
We all can agree that ATS (American Tribal Style) is an American invention. But we still classify what cabaret bellydancers do in terms of Middle Eastern style - Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese, etc. Is it really?
I wanted to be a "bellydancer" since I was little. I saw the dancers in the Morocco pavilion at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World and thought they were the coolest thing since My Little Pony. I never once thought of it as an "authentic" anything - never thought about it's origination and the fact that it might mean something more than just being a sexy dancer. Like the gp, I've always correlated bellydance and sexy in my head - I mean, lets face it - we dance with our bellies exposed and create hipnotic shimmies and undulations with our bodies. What's not sexy about that???
As a beginner bellydancer, I continued on with this train of thought. At first, I was not exposed to the history and the culture of Middle Eastern Dance. I did not see myself as a conduit of Middle Eastern Culture in America. I saw my self as a sexy, sensual creature who all of a sudden had this superpower over men that I could excerise just by saying "I'm a bellydancer."
To me, that is what the American Cabaret bellydancer is all about - sensuality, sexuality, mystery, power, and grace. I don't think our sexuality as dancers is something we should be ashamed about, or be mad at someone over pointing it out. I think it's a great thing. But I am also to careful to draw the line between sexuality and trashiness - the key to the power we posses is in the "less is more" attitude we must have. We must keep up our mystique, and be careful not to cross the line.
Also, I am not saying that as bellydancers we do not have a duty to learn as much as we can about the "roots" of our dance. I am just saying that I think our dance has evolved so much from these roots that it is ok for us now to say that maybe, just maybe, it has become more of a way to celebrate a woman's sexuality and sensuality, than to accurately portray the cultural dances of the Middle East.
Ever since Little Egypt did her hoochie koochie dance at the Chicago World's Fair, since Barbara Eden crossed her arms and blinked her eyes and lived in a magic lamp, America has been enthralled with the exotic mystery of the bellydancer. And through this obsession with the "exotic", the American Cabaret bellydancer was born.
So...what do you think?