Mentalities towards Oriental Dance – aka “bellydance” – don´t change unless DANCERS and THEIR WORK change. The responsibility and the power for positive change is in the dancers´hands.
The mainstream audiences won´t wake up, suddenly and out of nowhere, and erase all their prejudices towards this dance. Nobody will knock on your door affirming, with absolute conviction and deep respect:
– That dance of yours is a real art form!
Although pointing fingers, judging others and focusing on what is wrong – including who we think are doing it wrong and therefore blemishing the name of our beloved dance – is an easy, universal hobby, it´s not an effective one.You end up promoting the things and people you say you dislike.
Doing better; being a living example of the things you defend; not expecting audiences to know what they cannot know while delivering them EXCELLENCE is our job and the only thing that can help clean up the mess Oriental Dance has been for so many centuries.
Take responsibility for THE CHANGE.
Ask yourself: what can I do better in my dance? How can I prove – through constructive actions and not through criticizing others – those prejudices are wrong? What can I add to the history of Oriental Dance? How can I be an agent of positive change?
Those are the questions and, probably, the direction.
Let others be – they´re doing the best they can, according to what they know. There´s space for beginners who think they´re professionals; space for twisted stuff, ignorance, pretension, wanna be´s and false idols. There´s space for everything and everyone.
Make sure the space you create reflects the respect you want for you and for your dance.
Photo: The legend Samia Gamal photographed for LIFE magazine