Belly Dance - always a controversial and polemic subject which normally fuels a lot of debates and even heated arguments in some online forums - *sigh*.
In order to embark on my next dance chapter, I decided to set a definition for belly dance in which I can take as a foundation for the upcoming works.
According to Google's definition, belly dance is:
"A dance originating in the Middle East, typically performed by a woman and involving undulating movements of the belly and rapid gyration of the hips."
In other words, belly dance is a combination of movements of the torso and any other unspecified movements.
As a comparison, I also searched for the definition of ballet:
"An artistic dance form performed to music, using precise and highly formalized set steps and gestures. Classical ballet, which originated in Renaissance Italy and established its present form during the 19th century, is characterized by light, graceful movements and the use of pointe shoes with reinforced toes.
In contrast, the definition of ballet is more precise and more formal than the definition of belly dance. There are formal steps, gestures and music for it and a whole vocabulary. The belly dance definition doesn't mention anything about formal attire, steps, gestures, music, vocabulary, etc.
The definition of belly dance is vague. This lack of precision generates a lot of discussions and conflicts about who should use or who should not use the term belly dance. Some might disagree but the term belly dance is the universal term for the Middle Eastern dances as well as their westernised forms and can be used by anyone who performs its core movements.
The main point of contention seems to be the addition of other movements to belly dance - head rolls, ballet steps, gestures, back bends, technique, jumps, etc - each dancer seems to accept only their own definition of belly dance and completely disregard the other styles.
I promote diversity in belly dance. However, in my case I particularly disagree with the fact that, for some, belly dance should be a sexual dance. I believe that belly dance is an art form that should be available to all ages, genders and backgrounds. Sexualisation leads to exclusion and in some cases to marginalisation (i.e. human trafficking). However, the sexual belly dance is also a style and people have the free will to do whatever they want.
So I have named my belly dance style as Western Contemporary Oriental Dance® which has its set of rules. (contemporary as a broader meaning of the word, not to be confused with contemporary fusion style).
Setting up boundaries and rules and respect them can help to avoid unnecessary debates and conflicts.
If it is Egyptian dance or a section of it, Turkish dance, ATS, tribal fusion, fusion, etc. there is room for everyone.
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