Interesting experience, last week:
Invitation to dance at a local curry house- a fund raiser (meant I had to go and say I'd do it for nothing).
A good experience, nevertheless, to a world I was sure I'd miss- the geographical fact of the matter being there are only so many performance opportunities, in Northumberland, that don't involve the phrase 'stag do' or 'phoaarrrr!'
I'd have the chance to dance to a non-dancing audience, perhaps pick up a few new class members, maybe a nice party gig...
I doesn't matter how you dress it up, what you wear, or how much you try and dance with your knees together, belly dancers have a bit of a rep, don't they?
I researched my folkloric tunes- wore appropriate costumes- still a fair showing of eyes agog and snarling women.
Cheeky. I do cheeky, yes. Mostly to the women, in fact, who will often reply warmly.
I've never jiggled lewdly at anyone (not just for the fact I'd look a tad sad, desperate, even,) but it doesn't matter- the western audience has no previous experience of this kind of entertainment.
In the Middle East, where the dance is still permitted, a dancer is prerequisit at family celebrations, and often have the same kind of following as movie stars.
(Don't get me wrong, I'm only hankering after low-level adoration, and would find constant attention and fanmail a nuisance.)
I do like a good boogie, though, and want to spread the word about belly dancing (it's common term.) It is such a feelgood activity- encourages multi-generational, cross-cultural relations, support networks and charities have blossomed, as well as being a bloomin' good laugh, and damn good exercise.
The dance is such a multi-facetted thing- all things to all people- I suppose I have no right to tell someone they've no right to disapprove, or oogle (if that's what floats their boat).
As long as no one's hoping I'll stop dancing, or telling me to go away...
I felt...naked under the glare of a greedy pair of eyes (and I'll say again- I'm not bigging up meself- I think any moving flesh would have done) and had to work hard to banish the feeling I should stop, go and put on a big coat, maybe a veil- hide myself in shame because someone's seeing me in a certain way...
(Damn it, I was going to be funny, irreverent, whatever, but have had a rant, instead.)
I stopped myself from flouncing off, saying. 'It's an artform, actually.'
I worked really hard, on my performance- practised and put together a set. I am mindful of the appropriate styles of dance.
I could have jiggled my baps to 'The birdy Song' and would have got the same response.
No, not from everyone. There were a number of folk from my class there, and they did their part- clapping at the clappy bits, and being rowdy- sharing their energy (though not their naan breads).
I haven't reached any kind of conclusion from my experience, really. (Banning blokes from these performances seems churlish.)
I just needed to share.