Men in Belly Dance

In the West, most men in belly dance are husbands of bellydancers - in fact there's a great Facebook support group specially for them!

Male students are so rare, most women will never see a male dancer in their classes - but there are dedicated male belly dancers, especially in Turkey.   So here, for men who might be considering taking up the study, here is some inspiration:

Probably the most famous Western belly dancer is Tarik Sultan of New York:

Masculine or Feminine?

There are some people, including the famed Mohamad Kafazy, who feel strongly that belly dancing is a feminine dance, and men cannot dance it.  Personally, I agree 100% with Tito when he says male belly dancers shouldn't just copy the moves of female belly dancers - if he does, he just looks like a pale imitation of what the girls can do. He says that a real male belly dancer should make the most of a man's stronger musculature to dance in a way that women can't emulate, making his contribution to the art uniquely male.

Here's a male belly dancer, Shiva, from Sydney Australia, who achieves that goal in my opinion:

Having said that, many men take up belly dancing as a way of expressing a feminine side to their nature, which they feel unable to show in their everyday lives.

In recent years, Australia has welcomed male belly dancers from Greece, Lebanon and Turkey to its shores, and their style is noticeably softer and less "macho" than the Egyptian dancers, as you can see in this clip of Turkish dancer Ilhan Karabacak:

Here's some useful information on male belly dance if you decide to take it further yourself:

Belly Dance Classes for Men

One of the big obstacles for men who want to learn belly dancing is the fact that belly dance schools are often "sisterhoods". Many women choose belly dance not because they particularly like that dance style, but because they know they can "let it all hang out" in a safe, female-only environment. Some Middle Eastern women may not even be allowed to dance with the opposite sex.

So, please don't be offended if some belly dance schools won't accept you as a student. Making a living as a dance teacher is not easy, and the teacher cannot afford to lose students. If she judges that your arrival will cause some of her students to walk out, she simply can't afford to take you on.

Luckily, you will find some schools who will welcome you with open arms. At my school, the few males who dance are the darling of the class - and of course, always have the starring roles as a Sultan or Grand Vizier in student haflas!

The best solution is to Google belly dance classes in your area, ring the schools, and ask.

Learning to Belly Dance at Home

As far as I know, "Learn the Art of Male Belly Dancing" is the only belly dancing DVD designed specifically for men who want to learn to belly dance.

The teacher, Wesley Gomes is from Seattle. He was trained by well-known female bellydancer Corey Zamora, who also gives advice on costumes and style on the DVD.

 

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