belly dance

Recent posts

The Dark Side Of Belly Dance

As longtime MSP readers know, I’m a belly dancer in addition to a scholar and blogger. I’ve written posts about belly dancing and sexiness, the stigmas associated with belly dance, and the body acceptance that comes from belly dancing. I know, from doing academic research on the American belly dance community, that my perspectives are not wholly unique; many Western women find solace in the belly dance community, rediscover a sense of embodied pleasure, and feel greater self-esteem and confidence due to the dance. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses in the belly dance community. This very important (but potentially triggering) blog post by Charlotte Desorgher relates her experience visiting Cairo as a young belly dancer. Continue Reading →

Thoughts On Life Changes, Size Acceptance, And Bellies

Debby recently posted some provocative thoughts about size acceptance as it relates to a healthy sense of self and sexuality, to which I would like to add based on my own experience with life changes forcing me to come to terms with, among other things, my belly (which you can see in the photo to the right, playfully protruding from my coin belt at a dance performance). You see, I am a belly dancer – yet one who, for the majority of her life, has not had much of a belly to speak of. Whether due to my genes or my active life style, that’s just not where my body tends to store fat. Because of this, I’ve had to confront some uncomfortable body policing, such as when people tell me I “can’t” be a belly dancer because I don’t have enough of a belly (um, I’m sorry, if you’re the belly dance police you’d better show some documentation! oh wait, haha, there is no belly dance police, it’s a totally open dance form that accepts people of every body type, age, size, and gender!). Continue Reading →

“Well, Don’t Tell Them You’re A Belly Dancer”: Stigma And Sexiness

Before moving to Bloomington, Indiana for my Ph.D. in folklore, I met with my mentor, Professor Alan Dundes, in his office at UC Berkeley. He had also done his Ph.D. in Bloomington, and he was giving me advice about relocating to the Midwest and adjusting to grad school. Among other gems of wisdom that he dispensed, he told me:

“Well, don’t tell them you’re a belly dancer. Continue Reading →

Sexiness As A Byproduct of Belly Dancing

How erotic is the art of belly dance? Is it used for seduction, or is it instead an expressive medium for the dancer’s emotions and aesthetics? Or can it be both? Dancers from Bloomington, Indiana interviewed in Bloom magazine (link to the article as pdf) argue that the dancer’s sexiness is a byproduct of being confident, graceful, and strong. The dance is sensual, but much of the sexiness is in the eye of the beholder…which, really, is the case with most aspects of sex appeal, isn’t it? Continue Reading →