Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Flying by the seat of my dance-pants!

Day 80 of practice.

So here's the thing... the Arizona Renaissance Festival is having an amateur belly dance contest on Saturday, when a bunch of my friends and I will be there. Most of us were not planning to compete. Some of us were thinking maybe. Then we noticed that one of the three criteria they were going to judge on was sexiness.

Oh boy.

Now here's my thoughts on sexiness in belly dance: Is belly dance sexy? It can be. Are belly dancers sexy? They can be. Is that the focus of the dance? It shouldn't be. Any sexiness that I have while I'm dancing is just incidental. I want to be pretty when I dance, yes, but sex appeal is not on my mind. I just want to dance in a way that fits the music and makes my audience smile. If someone in the audience happens to think "Wow, I'd tap that!" I'd really just rather not know.

So one of my friends who has connections at the Festival sent a nice note letting them know how offensive it was to judge us on our sexiness, and how all of her talented amateur belly dance friends were now turned off from entering the contest. And a couple of us posted saying "Wow, we'd love to compete... if only we weren't going to be judged on their sexiness."

The upshot of this is that I may or may not be entering a silly contest on Saturday. Which means I may or may not need to practice something for it. I'd like to do veil, because it's pretty and showy and with any luck I will pick up my new veil on Saturday. But on the other hand, I like to wear lots of jewelry and hair stuff and jingly belts to Ren Faire, which I'd have to take off to perform with a veil.

In the meantime, today's practice consisted of dancing while I did dishes, and practicing my solo for Performance Prep class. I'm a little frustrated because before, when I would practice to this song I was hitting lots of things right and it felt good, but now I'm overthinking it and not doing as well. Some of my friends are choreographing their solos, but I am just not a choreo girl. I want to do improv, but my improv to the song has been lackluster. A continuation of last week's funk, or a sign I should pick another song? I don't know.


  1. There are times when dance, even belly dance is sexy, and should be sexy, depending on who is performing it and for what audience. But not in an amateur belly dance competition. What if a group of little girls were to perform?

    If my daughter wants to perform belly dance when she's older I'm all for it, but I sure as hell wouldn't want her to be judged as "sexy" until she's at least 30!

    All kidding aside, it maybe too late for the Festival producers or judges to switch gears at this point, but I do hope they take it under consideration for next year.

    If your friend tells you what sort of answer she receives from them please let us know.

  2. There is someone on the event page asking if her granddaughters can enter and if there are age divisions. And I think there should be! There are so many little girls who love belly dance and rightly see it as just another fun, pretty, girly thing to do like pretending to be a ballerina.

    It may be too late for them to change, if they've already come up with a system by which to judge all three criteria and combine them for a score, but they could at least say "We're sorry, we didn't mean to be offensive." So far my friend's friend has ignored the issue and talked about other things, so I suspect we may not get any response and may just need to launch a campaign early next year for a more appropriate contest.


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