Belly Dance Burlesque

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3 Responses

  1. Erica says:

    I am a bellydancer who performs regularly with a burlesque troupe so I feel I can leave my two cents here. I could probably write a short book. I do agree with some of your points here. I actually had a discussion about this with one of my students recently (I also teach), as he both dances and teases, but not at the same time, which is sort of a key distinction. If people come to my show and see me not stripping I feel I have helped make it clear that there is a difference. Burlesque is also supposed to be a variety show and often employs musicians, comedians, magicians, hoopers, etc. But, there will always be creepers, no matter if you are a stripper, belly dancer, clown, magician or just a lady walking down the street. If someone approaches me after a show about performing we have a discussion about what they expect. No, you can’t control what is going on in people’s minds, so I have stopped worrying about it. You can’t please everyone so you might as well please yourself. Lastly, straight women are not the only audience who you can trust not to be creepy. I have very respectful male, female and other audience members of all sexual persuasions.
    All of this being said, one does have to consider repercussions of one’s choices within the belly dance community. Some dancers are VERY against any association with stripping at all. Others are fine with other dancers performing in burlesque but wouldn’t themselves. And still others, like myself, have no qualms with doing both in one show – but I would not strip while dancing out of respect for my dance community’s sensibilities. You do still have to get along with people.
    Sorry this comment has been so long, but it has been a topic of discussion around here (Fargo, ND USA) recently!

  2. Thea says:

    Thanks for a great comment! I ‘d like to clarify one thing, though: the whole point of a “tease” is to tease the viewer sexually. So a man isn’t a “creep” if he shows that he’s turned on. A creep is someone who tries to grab you, or stalks you after the show – the man in the front row with his tongue hanging out, is just a normal red-blooded male doing exactly what you’ve invited him to do.

    Imagine if someone laid out a feast of chocolate in front of you – rich dark chocolate, creamy milk, fondant centers and big chunky bars, all piled up invitingly. If I tell you that you’re not allowed to sigh, or drool – in fact, you’re not even allowed to THINK about how great it would be to have that chocolate, is that reasonable? It has a right to display every inch of its gorgeousness without fear that anyone might lust after it. That’s what many burlesque performers seem to think men should be capable of, and it doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

    • Erica says:

      That is good advice for dancers to consider when choosing their venues. As women and often feminists (I don’t want to label everyone here), dancers really have to think carefully about how they want to present themselves to the public and how they feel about being viewed and judged by the public.

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