Funny and awkward are the words most used to describe belly dance when it comes to socially conservative countries. The concept of doing certain dancing forms that include using your abdomen and waist or hips in a fluid and wavy motion is arguably mawkish and womanish. This is the perception of those from the male-dominant society around the world. Fascinatingly what people do not know is the fact that back in the days, males have had a significant role and part in belly dancing.
Belly dance has its origins back in Egypt during the 18th century, where women who were gypsies or traveling dancers performed during their shows. What’s more “gobsmacking” about this is the reality that male belly dancers do not only necessarily perform for the general audience, but they have a specific dance performance for the male audience only. Such an intricate dancing style involves careful coordination and execution. It was during the 20th century that belly dance started to gain more popularity as a result of the western world infiltration, especially during the 1960-1980 period when the United States took the dancing genre and adapted it for women to break the stigma of men run society. As a result of that, most women took advantage of the growing sensual reputation of the songs and engaged themselves in it to channel their feminine spirits and celebrate childbirth and the new woman’s era. As for the male performers, their percentage began to decrease since most of the westerners find it more delightful and entertaining to watch the female belly dancers. Nevertheless, a notable proportion of men in society still participate, and more have become an integral part of belly dancing.
As the history of belly dancing illustrates, belly dancing with male performers was of high requisition back then, and even though the trend has diminished in its demand, male belly dancers still hold significant roles in the belly dancing arena as top performers and teachers.
These noticeable professional male performers from all around the world have mastered the art of belly dancing in their way and require acknowledgments:
- Dr. Mo
Geddawi and Mahmoud Reda who
literally made belly dancing famous and are still trainers and choreographers.
- Khaled Mahmoud, a London based Egyptian who dances in the Egyptian folk style. He is a highly demanded dancer all around the world who is known for his vigorous dancing styles.
- Jim Boz, a performer, and teacher of belly dance based in California.
- Ibrahim Akef, the famous Egyptian belly dancer and performer who passed away recently. He was a significant influence on most of the modern belly dancers, including Khaled Mahmoud.
- Amir Thaleb is an Argentinian belly dancer who runs his dancing academy and well acknowledges around the globe.
- Ahmet Ogren, a Turkish and a very well known dancer in Istanbul, known for his performances.
- Mohamed El Hosseny, another dancer who runs his academy based in Finland.
- Horacio Cifuentes, who is a Germany-based Colombian belly dancer, and
- Shafeek Ibrahim another Egyptian who lives in London and who specializes in folkloric, raqs sharqi, and fusion styles.