Male Belly Dancers?

On Tuesday, when I went back to my Belly Dancing class, there was a man in there!  Who was he and what was he doing there?  I asked one of the ladies and she didn’t know either.  She thought that the class was going to be very interesting.  Someone told me  yesterday that he was the partner of one of the women in the class and a friend of the teacher and he wanted to know what the class was like.  HMMMMM!!!!!  If I was the partner, I would have told him, HELL NO! (then she could have shown him privately what she was up to! 😉 )

One of the reasons I LOVE my belly dancing class is because there are no men!  It is the only time I can be in a room full of people where the energy is totally feminine and where we can let our inner goddess out with no inhibitions.  Some of the women go to the class to be away from men, if only for an hour or two.  We dress up and expose our bodies in ways that we wouldn’t except in the privacy of our bedrooms, and some not even then!  We are all women of different ages and shapes.  There is no judgement because we are all beautiful.  We can also do stuff with our bodies that some people can’t, and that gives us just a little bit more confidence.

As I said, there is a man in the class.  He is dressed in shorts, t-shirt, socks and trainers, while all the women are dressed up in their outfits with coin belts around their waists.  He stays at the back of the room, three rows behind, where he can really see what is going on! Right!  He is behind me and I can see how he is doing in the mirror.  The teacher is calling us all ladies, habit I guess!  We are doing a back to basics class and working with the veil!  This is going to be tough and pretty much non-stop, a real workout!  I haven’t been to classes for a while and I am a little bit rusty, but I manage to keep up.  I know this is going to sound terrible, but I am watching the man moving very stiffly and having a difficult time of it.  I remind myself that I was once unsure and focus on what we are doing, but can’t help seeing what this man is up to as he is right behind me in the mirror!  We are doing hip thrusts, shimmies and jingling away.  We are walking, turning and moving our arms gracefully.  Everything, all at the same time!  It is not easy to do.  Sometimes I can’t even do it.  The man is really struggling.  Somehow, I manage to feel better about what I’m doing.  Sad, I know!

Then we start working with the veil.  I don’t have one yet and have to borrow one.  It is made of chiffon.  Chiffon is heavier than silk and I can really feel it in my arms and shoulders while we are working with it.  I find the veil to be a very feminine prop.  It is very floaty and makes me feel very girly.  I am watching the man with the veil.  I think he looks just a bit silly.  I am wondering (hoping) if he is regretting being in the class.

I ponder on all of this on my way home.  I consider myself open-minded, but something doesn’t sit quite right with me on this one.  I have watched the men dancing folklore in Egypt.  They are all covered up, even the women, in traditional clothes.  The women do the shimmies, and the men do other things.  They complement each other.  I look on YouTube for videos of male belly dancers.  The first one I watch is of a man called Diva.  Diva is very flexible and can do amazing things with his body.  The problem for me is that he is too effeminate.  His clothing is a bit camp and he is topless.  His physique doesn’t do anything for me.  There is no mystery or promise here.

I look a bit further down my list and find Tito Seif.  He is Egyptian.  He is fully clothed.  He has a hairy chest and facial hair.  He looks like a man.  He can belly dance on a Tabla!  As a woman, I can respond to this man, regardless of what his sexual orientation may be.  He looks cheeky.  I found him engaging.

My teacher has trained with men, one of whom is called Ozgen.  I could only find Ozgen listed on YouTube.  I looked at a few videos which seemed to feature the same routines and costumes, even though they were taken at different places.  There is no doubt he is talented and is slightly less camp than Diva, but he didn’t do anything for me either.  I guess I am not attracted to the skinny, hairless types.  The ones that look like boys.  I like men to look like men.  Anyway, here is Ozgen:

Then, I found Prinz Andrew!  Here we have a combo of belly dancing meets Bollywood!  Very oriental.  The man looks like a man, right down to the six-pack!  I really liked this.  It was subtle.  You should see him dancing with a sword!

Perhaps this man will come back to the class or not.  Maybe he should look at some male belly dancing videos to see if that is really what he wants to do.  I somehow can’t help wondering if he is doing it for another reason.  I may never know.  I do know that it changed the vibe in the room and I didn’t really like it.  We will see what happens next week.


5 thoughts on “Male Belly Dancers?

  1. When I used to bellydance, we had a man in our troupe. He added a lot, sort of rounding out as it were the presentation of 10 women. He wore harem pants and a vest, and instead of a veil, used a cape. He didn’t do the same routines as we did, but added a masculine presence that really made our show more theatrical. Yes, he danced with a sword, and also balanced a tray with glasses on his head while he danced.

    A bellydancing man can be wonderfully exciting if he is a good dancer and is masculine. Think of the male Tahitian or hula dancers.

    But I think men should be trained with men, not in a class with women. Men ballet dancers also take a men’s class. A male dancer should always dance like a man.

  2. Let me just say, the idea of a MALE belly dancer never crossed my mind.

    My first impression was also, what’s he doing there? But maybe there is no belly dancing class for men anywhere.

    So, at the very least, you gotta give him kudos for trying, and for helping you remember personal lessons about judgment, focus, and humility. And although he certainly SHOULD train with other men, it might be an interesting lesson for all – as long as he remains respectful and honest to the task. It is SO rare to see a man interested in exploring traditionally female pursuits, I’d almost as soon welcome him as dismiss him, just for that reason 🙂

    1. Arlene

      I am trying not to be judgemental, however, my gut tells me there is an alternative reason. Time will tell. 😉

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