Belly Dancing/Male bellydancing
QUESTION: I am a 25 year old man. I always wanted to try bellydancing. Recently I went to a dancing class where they teach women how to bellydance. The dancing teacher there told me that I can join the class provided I wear the female costume which consists of a blouse and a skirt with the midriff bare. Do I have to dress as a woman to bellydance? I am not averse to doing it but I wonder if there is such a thing as male bellydancing?
ANSWER: I'd like to say emphatically to find another teacher.
No reputable teacher would ever ask a student to wear ANY costume to class.
Having said that...there are always 'requirements' for dressing in any dance class. Ballet dancers require leotards, tap dancers need tap shoes, in my class, I do not allow jeans or street shoes and I need to see my students legs and torso...so...close fitting dance/exercise clothes are needed...but no student is EVER required to wear ANY clothing that would make them feel uncomfortable NOR would ANY regular class require a COSTUME for practice unless you were practicing for performance.
AND...UNLESS you are performing as a female, there is no need for you to wear a woman's costume as your teacher has described.
Male belly dancers (yes, there are many around the world!)perform in traditional Arabic thobes, sparkly stage costumes designed for men, and even those who wear skirted outfits with vests. Do a bit of an online "Google" search for 'male belly dancers' and you'll be delighted at what you see.
But save yourself a lot of stress and find a teacher who feels comfortable bring out the best dancer that YOU can be!!!
Best of luck!
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QUESTION: I did find another class where I will have to wear tights during practice. I have watched many belly dancing videos including some male ones as well and I personally find the skirt and top to be a more elegant costume. All of the male bellydancers I have seen don't wear a skirted costume so is it possible to wear one during a performance or will the dancer end up looking like a drag queen?
It seems that you WANT to dress as a woman to dance...which is a bit misleading as your first question made it appear that your teacher insisted that you dress in a female costume.
To answer your 2nd question, when a male dresses as a woman he IS in drag...there is a history of men dancing as women in Middle Eastern Dance. If this is what you wish to do...by all means...pursue it. I know of a few men who dress as women as look very elegant.