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Too sexy for this dance?

July 23, 2009

So I am looking at dancing in a weird light right now. Wondering why we view things the way we do. A part of it came to light when my ex roomie from NYC who is a burlesque dancer mentioned an idea that included bellydancers in with burlesque dancers, pole dancers and even lap dancing. “Sexy Dancing” is the way she put it. I told her that bellydancers would have a hard time putting themselves in with pole dancers and lap dancers, but we have no problem with burlesque dancers it seems. This gets a chuckle of course and raises a question in her mind and mine, “why are we fine with one style of sexy but not another?”
A dancer friend of mine stated that she doesn’t consider bellydancing “sexy” but, “sensual”. Lines we draw, boxes we put ourselves in.

So I wonder then why are we so afraid to say what we do is sexy? It’s powerful, it’s sensual, it’s engaging, it draws people in. Why are we as dancers afraid of saying that the type of dance that we do can be considered sexy? Yes we’re not strippers and we want the respect that learning our dance form deserves yet it seems that we are willing to be comfortable with our burlesque sisters so much so that we are seeing a fusion style ripping through the tribal bellydance community of everyone wanting to dress and act like either a burlesque dancer/ 1920’s brothel whore/saloon girl. So we embrace the costume, act coy and cute, but if someone calls the act “sexy” it is immediately met with a fight. Saying that bellydancing is not sexy.

So why are we dressing like this? Why make the looks that draw in the audience and makes every man and in some cases women weak in the knees with your gaze? Why are we as dancers and more to the point as women afraid to embrace being sexy as people and as artists?
Is it society’s stigmas that hold us back?
Is it because we don’t feel that we meet the stereotypes of “sexy” therefore we can’t be?
Is it that we as Americans are so sexually repressed that the thought of expressing ourselves in a “sexy” manner might draw the wrong kind of attention or labeling?

I’m at a point with my creativity where I am looking to make a leap that will either alienate some of my dance sisters or have them encourage me. So far I have met no negativity which gives me much hope. For me the only place where I have ever felt comfortable as me hole and completely is in a kink/leather environment. When the real world has me wondering why I can’t be a size 6 in just 6 weeks I find myself able to grasp my “being me” at leather events far easier as I don’t have to hide who I am. I’m not a perfect size 6. Far from it and some days it is harder than others to reconcile that. I’m not the perfect fetish model size and nor am I a Rachel Brice thin dancer. Yet, when I go to a leather event I feel completely at ease with dressing in what makes ME comfortable, confident and “sexy”. So my leap is almost so simple to me now I sometimes wonder why it took me this long to consider it. To start dancing at more events. Not only do I want this to be the next logical step and I am already planning on dancing at an event in August, but I want to help spread the word more. I want to teach basic dance classes at leather events. To teach women to feel empowered with their bodies, to feel sexy with their movement. No matter what the size. I want people to feel sexy dancing. I don’t want people afraid of it.

Now I know that there will be some that will be against this. It’s not like I will be dancing with a flogger and grinding on the floor a la Madonna style. I want to show how this dance is what it is. Strong, powerful, alluring and sexy.

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