Representing Bellydance


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!

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10 comments

  1. Dear god. Mind if I repost this to my blog? Geez. the whole thing really speaks for itself. I am HUGE fans of Sadie and Kaya, but their performances and mannerisms are a little hoochie coochie for me sometimes. So I am not surprised.
    I will link back to your blog.

    1. Feel free to repost! 🙂 Thanks for reading – I was so shocked when I saw this video! After they were banned from an event, you’d think they would rethink their style?

  2. This video made me throw up in my mouth a little. Am I surprised that “those two” were in it? Hells no…I’m not a big fan of either of their “work”. This is a typical nastyass rap video but instead of the ho’s wearing thongs and bikini’s they’re wearing bedlah. Great job “professional dancers” for representing a beautiful artform in this completely disgusting light. Yay for you, hope the money was worth it.

  3. WOW…! Shocking! Although I could never be accused of being a prude, I found this extremely uncomfortable, tacky and SUPER sleazy! What a disgusting representation of belly dance!

    I am a Sadie fan- i think her technical skill is excellent- but I never had much opinion on Kaya either way. I did think her facial expressions were a bit much but felt a little sorry for her- we cant choose our faces and sometimes dont realise how odd we look…but to appear in a video like this…! They should know better- completely discredits any artistic credibility they may have had!

  4. This is really cheap and sensational! I am also disgusted that two well-known belly dancers should so degrade this beautiful artform. Even worse, the general public is just starting to acknowledge bellydance as a genuine artform, and along comes a video like this to reverse this perception and revert to bellydance being viewed as a sexy, Hollywood striptease-style dance form. This video will do a great deal of damage to the reputation of all bellydancers. These dancers show scant regard for others in the same profession, and no artistic credibility. Disgusting indeed!

  5. The video clip is awful. I’d say that regardless of who was dancing in it mind you…

    Personal opinion, and perhaps playing the devils advocate here, but I don’t have the right to tell another dancer what is and isn’t appropriate to do with her body or her dance. If another dancer wants to dress up in trashy costumes and act like a stripper allowing herself to be degraded publicly like those three have then more power to them. They have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies.

    They aren’t worthy of being role models in my eyes.

    They certainly do not “represent Bellydance” for me either.

    The only power those women have is the power we give them through our attention.

    *Shrugs* That’s my two bob. I’d rather watch the many gorgeous dancers or all levels that show up to events in RL and appear on you tube shaking their stuff than those three.

  6. I’m lost for words. A BAD move! How can we get people who don’t really understand what belly dance is about, to appreciate the art form for what it is? shame on them, they should know this, but I suppose in this instance, for them “money talks”

  7. too bad, really is not targeting other dancers, i was thinking of buying a instructional dvd from sadie, now i just don’t care for their demographic target,tends to remind of when nursing and this series on tv depicted us as stupid, golddiggers, we did get the ANA to protest that image and it was cancelled, both r arts and there r some things n life more important than money,now, they make a great population think we can be bought like a commodity erotica bachelor party barbie,too bad, sadie could have gotten by on cost of dvds.

  8. I saw that video too… I was quite disgusted as well. I love the way they dance, but omg. What makes it worse is that they embarrassed the belly dance community for a song/video that never became popular.. I’m 17, and I’ve never even heard of those artists…

  9. I’d like to hear Kaya and Sadie’s input about the video and what they thought they were getting into. Alone and without the backdrop of the music and crap that is the music video surrounding their performance it was fairly erotic but not disgusting. It definitely tapped into the sensual aspect that the dance can be. I[‘ve seen aspects of tribal fusion that can be just as provocative. So I’m not going to slam them on their performance but I will say that they should have done a better job vetting the project they attached their dancing to.

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