With no forethought, my loudly and proudly barked – “only if it’s a co-ed team!” – She was shocked to hear herself say that because, being an avid belly dancer, she was often the one performing, in much less clothing than a business suit, in front of a co-ed audience. Up till now, she explained, she had assumed that the occasional woman giving her the major stink eye was some sort of “bitch”, maybe she was jealous! Well, realizing her knee jerk reaction and utter conviction that sexy cheerleaders at the big meeting would drive her to set a bag of dog poop in a furious blaze of fire right on the beige industrial carpet of the convention center floor forced her to see that she’d never considered the position of the scowling bitch! And, it hit her…
She started thinking about the women in her own audiences… especially the woman sitting next to the badly behaved men like the ones at this meeting. Were those scowls from the female audience members an indictment of the bellydance performance, or were they a response to the childish behavior of the men? Because, face it, almost women actually love bellydance! We love to do it, we love to watch it, it strikes a profound cord.
The moral of the story?
#1 Raise your sons better than the previous generation!
#2 Consider having a co-ed option where you have a sexy male gymnast in an Aladdin vest or perhaps a male drummer in a flashy outfit. (Especially for corporate events, with an audience where belly dance doesn’t have a traditional/cultural context.) Having both a male and female body for available for ogling diffuses the pressure on the women.
#3 Be truly skillful as an artist. Let your technique, skill, and showmanship outshine your physical allure. (I know this is a tall order because ALL of my readers are stunningly beautiful!)
Have you experienced this at your shows? How do you level the playing field for your audience?
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