Male bellydancers – part 1

A question that I often get from students or workshop participants is ‘do men bellydance?’. The quick answer to that question is:’yes, men do bellydance, both in social situations and professionally. There are a lot of male bellydancers out there making a living from belly dance.’

The long answer… well, it’s long. I’m going to cut it into several blogpost so I can cover it all. Today I’m going to write a bit about the way the male body is built and how it influences how male belly dance. The most important difference between men and women is the bone structure. The pelvis of men are narrow and their shoulders are wide, creating an inverted triangle shape. As a result, hip work on a male dancer looks smaller compared to hip work on a female dancer.

Here’s a video of Rachid Alexander, a male dancer from the Netherlands.

As men have more muscle compared to women, their dancing often reflects this by emphasizing muscular technique that comes easier to men. For example, belly rolls are easier for men, and tiny shoulder shimmies look great on wide shoulders. Traditionally male dancing was often used to impress the other men (In the Middle-East, men and women party separately) and it can include martial art style moves. Here’s a video of Tito Seif, performing Tahtib (A folkloric cane dance from Egypt for men). If you have time, check out more video’s of him dancing. He is incredible.

Now for a bit of fun, here’s a Buzzfeed video of bodybuilders who try belly dancing for the first time. It is a bit cheesy, but the teacher does a great job at explaining that belly dance is a social dance. Plus the faces of the musicians are priceless.


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