I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we represent bellydance. We all know of one dancer that dances like she’s in the club, touches herself and gyrates like there’s no tomorrow! And every single one of us cringe at the thought that THAT is what the public is interpreting as “bellydance” – whether they see it on YouTube, Google images or at a performance. I think that before doing a choreography you have to ask yourself “am I representing what I do in a way that makes me proud?”
The reason I got thinking about this is because of this thread from http://www.bellydanceforums.net. I saw it and read through some of the comments while waiting for the video to load and thought “the video can’t be THAT bad!”
When I hit play and watched a bit I realised that they were right. In the first minute or so I just laughed at the ridiculousness of it – the fact that these woman thought that this was appropriate outfitting, etc. When Sadie and Kaya came in I was shocked. These are respected & good dancers! (Although I heard they got banned from a certain festival for lewdness) I’ve never been a big fan of Kaya’s stage personality (I can say NOTHING about her as a person, as I don’t know her – I’ve heard she is very nice) because it always made me think of raunchy dancing, never anything sensual or beautiful. To me, Sadie has always been technically excellent and somebody to look up to in terms of that – I’ve also never been a fan of her stage personality and never bought DVDs or anything like that. After I saw that video, my respect for both of those ladies as bellydancers went out of the window. I can’t believe that as PROFESSIONAL, well known dancers they would willingly perform in a music video where the whole culture and essence of bellydance is reduced to nothing more than some cultural cliché – a man with his harem ladies “entertaining” him. As professional dancers they should be educated in their art form and should know what is appropriate and not. I almost feel that random “sexy” ladies performing in a music video dressed up as bellydancers doesn’t matter much although it does have an impact on the bellydance society, it’s damages are limited. But having professional dancers (and well known to the non-bellydance community in that if you type “bellydance” into Google it comes up with Sadie’s video) performing like that in a music video (very public) can do irreparable damage.
Am I just over reacting or do you agree? Tell me your thoughts!