Lately I've thought a lot about the legitimacy of bellydance in the dance world. Oh don't think for a minute I'm having doubts about my chosen dance passion and life choices. It's just that moving to smaller town pretty much forces you to reassess your entire life and direction -- I'm sure you can imagine. It's been interesting to see a different perspective and it's reminded me of the countless conversations I have had on the topic of whether bellydance is a serious dance form or not.
You bet you're sweet cheeks it's legitimate.
There are categories of dance. Not meaning one is better than the other, just different.
Ballet, for example, has had much more time on a stage with an official audience so it has developed into a category of dance that is viewed quite differently from ethnic and folkloric dances.
Ballet is beautiful but not better than bellydance. And even though we sometimes borrow from ballet in bellydance, they are still two completely different animals. Again neither one is above the other. Just beside it.
Bellydance remains much closer to it's earthy roots stylization. So of course it fits perfectly into the category of ethnic and folkloric dance. A category I'm perfectly happy studying for the rest of my life.
Is it taken seriously?
Well, that depends on you and your view. The short answer is; it depends on how serious the individual dancer/performer takes it.
I know you take it seriously. But it's always good to ask ourselves "what are we doing to bring it the respect it deserves?" This touches every aspect of our dance practice; Our technique, our performance, our preparation, our cultural and historical knowledge of the dance.
Ultimately, we can't control what our audience thinks of us but we can give it our all to make sure we represent our "category" in the best light possible. And at the same time trust that we're helping our public understand bellydance as a legitimate dance form. We must each do our part.
I'll get off my soap box now. Thanks for reading but before you go, tell me;
Do you still come across people that have a hard time accepting bellydance as a dance form?
How do you handle it?