How Many Male Tribal Belly Dancers Are There?
I'm just dipping my toes into the Tribal belly dance world and found myself wondering, how many male belly dancers are there in ATS, ITS and Tribal Fusion?
Although male performers are well established in traditional belly dancing, their numbers are low compared to females. Nonetheless, some of them are highly respected as dancers and/or teachers. Whereas in Tribal, I had never seen or heard of any male students or performers, and certainly none with any status. A quick Google and I've found a few (video clips at the end of this post), but what strikes me is how soft their movements are, which makes them look more feminine, unlike traditional belly dancers like Shiva or Tito who manage to be graceful while injecting a distinctly masculine character.
Is that femininity because of the need for all dancers in a Tribal troupe to be uniform in style? Is it just the type of man Tribal attracts? I don't know if it's true, but I read that Fat Chance Belly Dance has a strict "No Men" policy, apparently on the grounds that "it's traditional". I do hope there is a better reason than that, because it surely has to be laughable, since American Tribal Style belly dance is a modern construct taken from a multitude of different cultures, so there is no tradition! And it's just not true to say that belly dance as a whole is exclusively a woman's domain.
The first clip is a truly rare thing, an all-male Tribal belly dance troupe. The dancers are Sasha Khetarpal-Vasser, Brian Pacheco, Leon Mancilla, Eric Salazar, Chris Azcevedo & Lorenso Silva from Hot Pot Studios, Adrian Habibi, Mark Bissell, Frank Farinaro & Steven Eggers. If you want to know more, see their Facebook page.