Belly dance as mainstream?


Mainstream isn't necessary as long as the gp that do not know bd get rid of some of their strange thoughts about the dance and the dancers (no more myths and misconceptions), but I'm afraid it isn't possible as long as bd isn't mainstream, and that there still are people who will keep the myths alive if it gets mainstream.. :rolleyes:


New member
The top ad I was getting on this page was "Belly Dance like Shakira Learn Hot Arabic Dance Floor Moves". You can't say people aren't trying to appeal to the mainstream. :confused:

Belly Love

New member
Dance in general isn't really mainstream. BALLET is mainstream because yes, it has had 400 years of history and royal approval and promotion for all of its history. MODERN is tolerated because it's considered the step child of ballet.

Anyway, mainstream means conforming to a general common denominator, and it's usually low. The bar is already ridiculously low for bellydance. I would really hate to see it go "mainstream" and get any lower.
I AGREE 100%

I don't really care for bd to become mainstream mostly for selfish reasons- I want to do it professionally someday and I like that it's something uncommon.

The only way for bd to gain respect is for each belly dancer to individually carry out the art form with respect. Every time a belly dancer puts on a show, she has the opportunity to influence every single person in the room (or every person who is going to be watching a video of the performance). This alone is what is going to make up the great majority of how the gp views belly dance.

Farasha Hanem

New member
+++ for the dancers, --- for Mr. Copeland. He wants to create a brand but is going the wrong way about it: instead of making something distinguishable, strong and with its own personality, he ended up adapting to "popular" tastes in order to make a quick buck.
Exactly. Even from before the creation of the BDSS, the Almighty dollar was the bottom line. I know I've already posted the following clip in another topic, but I'd like to repeat it. Listen closely to Mr. Copeland's plans to "market" bellydance (and for Anisteph, he mentions about the perfume in this clip! xD ):

Notice at 2:50 how he talks about Middle Eastern music "morphing as rock and roll has," and how "it has advanced and absorbed" (other genres of music). I don't know much about the development of Middle Eastern music (yet!), other than what I've learned here and on other sites, such as Shira's. I do admit, I enjoy a good deal of modern pop Middle Eastern music (or pop music with a Middle Eastern flavor), fusions with other music genres (Spanish/flamenco or reggae influences, for example), and some of the club techno re-mixes, but if that was all there was, I would end up losing interest. For myself, the beauty of Middle Eastern music is in the complexity and, well, for lack of a better description on my part, cultural strangeness of it all. That's a poor choice of words, and doesn't accurately describe my love for the music and how it makes me feel. Suffice it to say that I would hate for this wonderful genre of music to become completely lost in modern, tech-driven Westernization. When the music becomes watered down to the point that it's barely recognizable, what is the point? I might as well put on a Justin Timberlake CD. :confused:

The music is only one (but very important) aspect of bellydance. I could go on about all the dance styles that have become attached to bellydance, but most of us have been there/done that before, in terms of discussion. :) Although, if we want to go there again, for the sake of anyone new here, then sure, yeah, let's go for it again! :lol:
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New member
The thing is to become mainstream and stay there, the Miles approach may be right. Recently watched Top of the Pops 80s compilation and most of that has not stayed the rest
of time

Belly Love

New member
On some level the dance needs to have different styles for it to be come more mainstream (and therefore respected). Don't get me wrong, I'm all for knowing origins of a dance and that being a part of training as a pro, but if it's all to similar all over the world, it's not going to be interesting. If you aren't a "die hard belly dance enthusiast" there is a good chance you're not going to want to see the same style of performance over and over. On top of that, everyone has different tastes. If there weren't different styles and fusions, there would be way less people interested in the dance.

Also, sometimes it takes easing into to get into something that's totally different than what you're used to. You know how someone who has always liked country music end up also liking rap? Not by throwing some hard-core gangsta not playable on the radio type songs in their cd player, but by them hearing some pop/country that eases them into pop that eases them into pop/hip-hop that eases them into hip-hop that eases them into rap, etc. It's going to be the same way for belly dance for a lot of the mainstream public. If it takes Shakira (the singer) to get them there, so be it. Without influences like her, there would be a lot less women interested in the dance (in the America's anyway) and that means a lot less gp knowledge of the dance.

Another thing, music changes vastly over time and with music changing the dance is going to change- that's just the way it is.


New member
I doubt it will ever be mainstream, I am perfectly fine with that. I do think the public can learn to appreciate it and to respect it. Mainstreme is very mundane,bellydance is anything but mundane. The bellydancer is the person who shakes things up and livens up wherever they are.

Farasha Hanem

New member
Personally, I think mainstream is boring, but then again, I've always danced to the beat of a different drummer (no pun intended). As a little girl in the early '60's, long before Miles Copeland and the BDSS, I saw bellydance on old movies, and that was what kindled my love for it in the first place. Although, as I said before, I do enjoy "modernized" bellydance music, I didn't need it to fall in love with bellydance. On that same note, although I enjoy styles such as Tribal Fusion and want to take classes, there are so many styles within bellydance/Oriental dance, that a dancer who's familiar with just a few of them can come up with several performances without being repetitive.

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
In the beginning, Miles had a great idea. But over the years, the goal for the buck overshadowed the art. He was spending a lot of money on the project and was not recouping his investment for a long time. So, in dismay, I watched bellydance, as he interpreted it, spiral downward into such a pot luck of dance, that now, while the dancers are exceptional, it doesn't even remotely look like what it started out to be. However, I do love what Sabah and DaVid together came up with on the Bollywood theme, so it does resemble more of Middle Eastern style than it has in the past. Then again, anytime you present a dance in a cabaret style, you really do have to present a more eclectic type of dance. But the problem is that most of the audience members are dancers, and they do know the difference, leaving many people rather disappointed when they leave.


New member
What classifies as "mainstream" - ?

If you've HEARD of it?
If it's so a part of pop culture that it seems like it's always been there?

Is Spamalot mainstream? Was Monty Python -- at the time? Is Monty Python now?

Are role-playing games mainstream now? World of Warcraft has 11 million players. Are MMORGS mainstream?

Is Manga and Anime mainstream?

I'm always amused (as were, I'm sure, my older friends when I was a kid) when some 20-something tries to "introduce" me to Church of the Subgenius, or waxes poetic on the mysteries of 23. Thanks to Wikipedia, every sub-referenced sub-culture's sub-meme has a encyclopedia entry. The "alternative" went mainstream the minute it lost anonymity and secrecy. FNORD.

Farasha Hanem

New member
Is Manga and Anime mainstream?
Well, my answer to this particular question's a bit off-topic, but according to my voice-over friend, Kyle Hebert, no, anime and manga are not considered mainstream, in this country, anyway. It's a "bottom-feeder" niche industry. Voicing for video games is more steady work, and it's my friend's personal dream to break into domestic animated shows and movies. Unfortunately, it's hard when studios hire box-office names to do voice-over for major animated films. :(

Sorry for getting a bit off-topic---back to our regularly scheduled discussion! :redface: