Thursday, July 5, 2007

I'm too sexy for my bedlah.....

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?


Anonymous said...

it is great that u r willing to accept the obvious - that belly dancing has a lot to do with being a classy & classic way - so whats wrong with that?
there is soo much double standard about sexiness and it is very refreshing to have you confront the issue head on.....
pretty women have always had power over men and a pretty woman who is also sexy and can move her hips in an enticing way is indeed a goddess!
all power to u, daniela! keep it shaking and keep smiling!!
raj / roger

Anonymous said...

i agree with raj. we belly dancers have double standards. we want to dance in an enticing, erotic, exciting way and then complain about guys & girls who see as as sex objects......and who focus on our sexuality and fantasize about us in sexual terms......well that goes with the territory & we cannot have it both ways. personally, i love knowing that my dance arouses both guys & girls!
this goives me power over all genders!
THANKS daniela for raising the issue............

Martha said...

I think most people might relate it to sex because of the soap operas as well (El Clon)---it was translated in Spanish and when I saw it, women would dance for fun as well as for their husbands and the TV made it seem as if it were to be used for other purposes such as seduction. I personally think, as Jessica stated, when you dance it's as if you seduce the audience and have control over everyone-not only men.

Anonymous said...

To me, it's HOW you dance. If you dance in a seductive way than how can the gp possibly think otherwise. ME dance is part flirtatious and part girls just wanna have fun. It's a celebration. Let's not forget that this dance is a celebration dance for when a girl finally becomes a Woman. This dance celebrates a Woman's right to be a Woman and not how sexy/risqué can I be.