Thank you for your insight! As a Middle Eastern dancer of Lebanese heritage who started a professional career in the late 1970s, I appreciate your perspective and your faith that our sensitivity to a long-held culture Are more in tune with the orientalist implications. Shukran! This is an article that provokes reflection. I was thinking recently of a group on the cultural appropriation inherent in non-Middle Eastern belly dancing - and will continue to reflect.
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Al Jamal dancers were professional dancers, not sordid and good. If you were expecting a folk dance or an artistic performance, that was not it. It is a popular restaurant. Also the dance styles are changing over time to not be the same as 50 years ago and Turkish belly dancing is different eg Egyptian style or Arabic style. Turkish dancers are following more and more a Shakira-style dance.
Women often danced with other women, in private spaces, so that this dance was for the other. When they danced at parties at home with present men, the dynamic changed. When women were dancing for single women, there was a different type of erism, maybe more powerful, a lot more fun, or maybe it was like that. Was, child and adolescent, distrust of men's intentions. At weddings, the dance was festive and charming, something a professional dancer would do, and something that everyone would continue to do.
Maybe belly dancing has evolved over the past 50 years, or maybe we just are not going to the right places, but I'd like to see the style we have seen in ancient times. Since I was a kid, that's the way I know you're tipping the belly dancers. I do not think it's suspicious or strange or anything like strip club shows. I tipped Al Jamal's men's bellydancer. He could perfectly make this ripple movement and of course, traditionally in the Ottoman era, it was the norm to have male dancers, called zenne.
Here we have a bunch of lads from Wigan belly dancing in Turkey. The best bit is at the end when the belly dancer gets one of the lads on the floor !