There seems to be a lot of merging of adult entertainment styles with belly dance these days. Burlesque and pole dancing are popular variations. I don’t have any problem with that. Just don’t call it belly dance.
This isn’t an argument about whether or not each dance is a legitimate art form. This isn’t a debate about whether or not it takes talent to do them. It’s an observation that a folk dance rooted in the middle east that is traditionally performed by women for women, at weddings, as family entertainment does not belong in the same category. To mix adult entertainment with belly dance and call it “belly dance” strengthens the hootchie cootchie stereotypes.
For decades women have fought to get middle eastern dance accepted in cultural festivals, schools, churches, Girl Scout events, and other family friendly affairs. When the public sees a “belly dancing” show that includes semi-nudity, teasing, and suggestive movements, they don’t know that that is a different variety. They just know that it’s sexual, seductive, and may involve lots of men and tipping on the body.
If you engage in adult entertainment, please respect the work of those that have gone before you to educate the public. Please advertise your entertainment as being geared to ages 18+. Borrow heavily from belly dance if you like, but please don’t call it belly dance.