When in class one evening one of my students asks “But… I don’t understand. Belly dance is sexy, isn’t it? Why do we have to try so hard not to be sexy?” I began thinking about a puzzling issue, one that has shadowed our art ever since it was brought to the Western world. Where does sexy belong in belly dance? And what are we to do with it?
We live in an era where nearly everyone has a social online identity and it’s difficult to separate one’s personal from professional life. It used to be easy to step out on stage under whatever name you pleased only to leave behind the oriental fantasy at the end of the night. Now there will always be Facebook photos and YouTube videos to connect her to you; the digital world is an unmasker of secret identities. So how does a dancer identify herself in the digital age?
It’s spring, which means it’s hafla season. If you’re into performing you probably have at least one upcoming show in the next few weeks. And even if you’re not performing I bet you’ll be attending one soon. So I thought it would be a good time to review the P’s and Q’s of performance etiquette.