Ok, what’s one of the many archaic myths of this dance form? How about bellydancers gyrate for the male gaze? The fair, slight, sequined, almost bare body of the dancer quivers and vibrates to a frenzied crescendo for the pleasure of men. In this stereotype, the dance is a performance of heterosexual womanhood. I am rendered invisible.
So here I am, a woman of African descent, fat, sparkly queer femme, and a bellydancer, dancing with pride for my communities and for myself. I shimmy for visibility. I hip bump beyond boxes and stereotypes. I undulate for my sister to see herself represented. I dance for a gaze…a gaze turned inward. With bellydance I can finally fully see myself. And I like what I see. I take my space in the world and on stage because I need it and I deserve it.
June is LGBT Pride Month. While pride moves with me and through me all year long, pride season is a time to reflect on and celebrate all the parts of myself. Happy Pride! Celebrate yourself, dance for yourself and perform your own story of pride every single day.
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