Child Belly Dancers

Children Belly Dancing: Yay or Nay?

  • Absolutely Fine!

    Votes: 15 23.8%
  • No Way!

    Votes: 3 4.8%
  • Sure in the Right Conditions.

    Votes: 45 71.4%

  • Total voters
    63

LunaXJJ

New member
I know there are mixed views on it, so I thought it would be a great debate to have. Just remember to keep things civil, I know how some threads can get in here. ;)

In my opinion, I think belly dance is a great thing for children to learn. Since there are quite a few reasons, I'll deliver them to you in this nifty list format!

1) Self -esteem.
Any child I've ever seen belly dance was wearing an ear-to-ear smile. They looked so confident and happy. With the increasing amount of eating disorders, and low self-esteem in younger, and younger children something like BD to give your kid a boost in their confidence is great.
Honestly, if I had a child, I'd rather have him/her be a belly dancer than a ballet dancer. Many who get into dance like that end up feeling so much pressure to be a little as possible. Belly dance doesn't put that kind of stipulation on its performers. You never see curvier ballet dancers, but belly dancers come in all shapes, and sizes.

2) Culture.
BD is a great way to open your kid up to new cultures. Not only do they learn about ME culture, they also grow to be more tolerance, and even enthusiastic about other parts of the world. They also don't grow up to have the misconceptions some people have about things like belly dance.

3) Healthy hobby.
How many kids do you know that would rather spend all day in front of a metal box instead of doing something active? Why are child obesity rates so high, and still rising? Most kids today don't have an active, healthy, hobby. Belly dance is a fun way to stay healthy and active, no matter your age. I'd rather have my kid dancing than glued to a controller.

4) The whole "sexy" thing.
Some people tend to think that belly dance is too provocative for kids. I personally feel that its in the eye of the beholder. When see a child belly dancing, I don't see "sexy" or anything close to that. I see a talented child having fun dancing to middle eastern music. Honestly, I don't even see adult bd as sexy all the time either.
It also depends on costume. If you dress a kid up in a skimpier outfit it may seem pretty wrong. However if the child is wearing appropriate clothing, its less distasteful that way.
Just look at this little tyke:

or

As opposed to them wearing something like this:
 

Yame

New member
I've honestly never seen a child belly dance with an outfit like the one in the last depiction.
 

Nejmeh

New member
I've honestly never seen a child belly dance with an outfit like the one in the last depiction.
I was gonna say 'have you ever seen an adult dance in this'...but then I thought about it and decided ignorance is bliss.

Imo, there is nothing wrong with children learning what we do, children have been learning the same moves for centuries and the arab world is still triving. However, I do feel there should be a emphasis on folklore/oriental dancing instead of bellydance(so this would become a discussion about what is oriental and what is bd, but ok:/)

I have two other pluspoints btw;
- learning how to express emotions.
- getting to know a lot of different people outside of your normal 'habitat' and learning to communicate together.
 

Reen.Blom

New member
Nopes I think they should not bellydance. I guess its ok to do folkloric styles. But bellydance as in sensual dance?

Last picture is a bit extreme, But I do not think baring belly is ok. Flower girls wearing strapless dresses at weddings also freak me out. I am conservative and do not like children wearing adult costumes. No heels or makeup.

I believe it is better to be overprotective, than feed this image of sensuality. I would rather get ballet classes to get basics of posture and fexibilty and 'graduate' into belly dance at a later stage.

In Arabic countries chilren are taught at home by family members and not what we are taught in bellydance classes.

 

Mariyam

New member
Oh these costumes are horrible, Reen :shok: They're just... wrong. And the poses aren't much better, if you ask me! (girl in blue outfit in particular)
 

Kashmir

New member
Nopes I think they should not bellydance. I guess its ok to do folkloric styles. But bellydance as in sensual dance?
<snip>In Arabic countries chilren are taught at home by family members and not what we are taught in bellydance classes.
Umm, what exactly are you taught in a belly dance class? I certainly don't teach a sexuality. I don't think I've ever been to a class (except one as a send up) that I'd consider sensual - outside of sensuality of being alive.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Nopes I think they should not bellydance. I guess its ok to do folkloric styles. But bellydance as in sensual dance?

Last picture is a bit extreme, But I do not think baring belly is ok. Flower girls wearing strapless dresses at weddings also freak me out. I am conservative and do not like children wearing adult costumes. No heels or makeup.

I believe it is better to be overprotective, than feed this image of sensuality. I would rather get ballet classes to get basics of posture and fexibilty and 'graduate' into belly dance at a later stage.

In Arabic countries chilren are taught at home by family members and not what we are taught in bellydance classes.

WHAT costumer in his/her right mind would make such costumes for children??? :mad::mad::mad:

This isn't at all appropriate. I'm all for kids learning bellydance, Oriental dance, Raqs Sharqui, or, well, let's say, Middle Eastern dance, but with definite guidelines. When I think of children "bellydancing," I think of this:



and this:



(I adore Al; he's PHENOM! :D )

and this:



Darn! :( Tarik, you had a wonderful video shot in Egypt, I believe, of children dancing in a cultural context, but I can't find it in any of my saved vids, or in either one of your channels? :( Do you remember it?

I'm not so sure if whoever shot this next vid should have made it, because I'm iffy about whether he or she had the parents' permission, but the description says that it shows how people in Egypt start dancing as children with their families (it was shot backstage at the Ahlan wa Sahlan Festival in Egypt:

 

goddessyasaman

New member
I'm fine with a child learning belly dance, starting young is great, yet I don't think that they should be alound to perform on stage until they are of age, Belly dance is a art form a modren dance yet we all know the sexual parts of this dance yes?

That said When I have children, I would teach My daughter Belly dance but she would not perform on stage till she was in her late teens, but thats just me.
 

Reen.Blom

New member
Umm, what exactly are you taught in a belly dance class? I certainly don't teach a sexuality. I don't think I've ever been to a class (except one as a send up) that I'd consider sensual - outside of sensuality of being alive.

Sensual hip movements? Chest lifts and chest shimmies? Ever so feminine mayas?:lol:
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
I'm fine with a child learning belly dance, starting young is great, yet I don't think that they should be alound to perform on stage until they are of age, Belly dance is a art form a modren dance yet we all know the sexual parts of this dance yes?

That said When I have children, I would teach My daughter Belly dance but she would not perform on stage till she was in her late teens, but thats just me.
Totally understand your feelings. Then again, I've seen young children's jazz dance recitals where the students did HIGHLY suggestive, sexual moves. Makes a parent want to thwack a teacher and ask, "WHAT were you THINKING???"
 

AndreaSTL

New member
Farasha, I completely agree with you re: dance recitals. There are some really questionable cheerleading/dance team routines, too. I would much rather see a child belly dancing (in any of the costumes not posted by Reen ;)) than some of the kids who are dressed like skanks on a regular basis. Seeing a five year old with "Juicy" written across her butt makes me want to puke.

I taught my nieces to dance when they were 8. They loved it! I made them sparkly outfits that were similar to the girl in the first post. They had about an inch of belly hanging out, but they felt beautiful in their "big girl" costumes.
 

Darshiva

Moderator
I wouldn't teach a kid to dance anything I wouldn't dance in public myself. I feel that any sexiness in bellydance is down to how they are portrayed within a performance. Obviously if your performance is all pelvic tucks, chest pops and shoulder shimmies, it's going to look a little suss, regardless of your age.

Give a kid a tasteful costume to perform in & a decent choreography and the only thing sexual about the performance is whatever the audience brings with them in terms of preconceptions. I have no problems with a kid performing when s/he is ready, given the above conditions regarding costume & choreography.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
I wouldn't teach a kid to dance anything I wouldn't dance in public myself. I feel that any sexiness in bellydance is down to how they are portrayed within a performance. Obviously if your performance is all pelvic tucks, chest pops and shoulder shimmies, it's going to look a little suss, regardless of your age.

Give a kid a tasteful costume to perform in & a decent choreography and the only thing sexual about the performance is whatever the audience brings with them in terms of preconceptions. I have no problems with a kid performing when s/he is ready, given the above conditions regarding costume & choreography.
Once again, I can't rep you! :( :wall: I really like what you said, though, especially in the first paragraph. We're examples to young people---our own children, and the ones who may watch our performances. If we teach young ones not to dance suggestively, then get out there and practically have sex onstage, that says, "Do as I say, not as I do." Not a very good way to lead by example. Then again, I've been accused of being prudish, anyway. :redface:

Morocco once pointed out the fact that you can take any dance, and send different messages. It's all in the intent of the dancer. You could take the Hokey Pokey and make it suggestive. :confused:

Farasha, I completely agree with you re: dance recitals. There are some really questionable cheerleading/dance team routines, too. I would much rather see a child belly dancing (in any of the costumes not posted by Reen ;)) than some of the kids who are dressed like skanks on a regular basis. Seeing a five year old with "Juicy" written across her butt makes me want to puke.
Same here. :confused: I wonder about the parents who would let said five-year-old daughter wear shorts or pants with "Juicy" written across the butt. :mad:

My own daughter was a cheerleader in jr. high, but fortunately, the ladies who ran the team had the good sense to not let our daughters do outrageous, inappropriate routines. Her cheerleader career ended when she entered high school, though---Older Brother who was already in high school threatened to "beat her up" if she tried out for the team (he was kidding, but his sister decided to ditch the whole "preppy" image by herself). :rolleyes:

:confused: Awwww! I can't rep Andrea, either??? :wall:
 
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Kashmir

New member
Sensual hip movements? Chest lifts and chest shimmies? Ever so feminine mayas?:lol:
Sensual hip movements like circles? eights? It isn't the movement that sexualizes it is the porn face or the butt poke. With good posture I'd have not problem with a child doing those - with leering or tush waggling I would have adults do it either.

Shoulder shimmies are all over folk styles. Men do them too - again I think it is a lot in the attitude. The difference between this music says shimmy and I do against watch these puppies bounce. As childern don't have breasts and hopefully can still articulate their shoulders - no problem.

I've actually never seen mayas as sexual. They always remind me of riding a bike :D
 

Reen.Blom

New member
Sensual hip movements like circles? eights? It isn't the movement that sexualizes it is the porn face or the butt poke. With good posture I'd have not problem with a child doing those - with leering or tush waggling I would have adults do it either.

Shoulder shimmies are all over folk styles. Men do them too - again I think it is a lot in the attitude. The difference between this music says shimmy and I do against watch these puppies bounce. As childern don't have breasts and hopefully can still articulate their shoulders - no problem.

I've actually never seen mayas as sexual. They always remind me of riding a bike :D

I am glad you as a dancer and teacher perceive those moves this way.

However to me, even without anything bouncing or poking out, the moves are quite sensual, as bellydance itself. (especially performed in bra costume)

And I am extremely skeptical and doubtful that members of GP have enough education about the dance, leave alone the misconceptions, to see it like you do. I believe that western culture sees hip and chest moves as suggestive. Narrow minded, but there you go.

And no, I would not risk a child being perceived as a sexual object. Just my opinion though, but when I see 8 year old in makeup and crop top bellydance I always think of creeps on youTube or that might be in the audience. :(

I rather be overprotective.
 

Nejmeh

New member
I am glad you as a dancer and teacher perceive those moves this way.

However to me, even without anything bouncing or poking out, the moves are quite sensual, as bellydance itself. (especially performed in bra costume)

And I am extremely skeptical and doubtful that members of GP have enough education about the dance, leave alone the misconceptions, to see it like you do. I believe that western culture sees hip and chest moves as suggestive. Narrow minded, but there you go.

And no, I would not risk a child being perceived as a sexual object. Just my opinion though, but when I see 8 year old in makeup and crop top bellydance I always think of creeps on youTube or that might be in the audience. :(

I rather be overprotective.
I think we all agree on the bra costume not being appropiate for children.Make up on children is imo always risky, again, it should be age-apprpiate;)

I agree with the gp having misconceptions. But I disagree about hip and chest moves being absolute sensual, even in the gp`s point of view. I truely(want to) believe no one with a sane mind will watch children in that way. Otherwise you would just have to prevent children do any kind of dance/gymnastics/sports/playtime. If you want you could see suggestive things in all of them. I`ve seen many of these kind of playdevices, I never thought of the sliding pole as poledance pole...Kingwood - Timberlodge - Van Ee Buitenspeelgoed - Plezier in spelen :confused:

And this is not meant to be mean or something but I`m sorry to say, I believe you just cannot make sure your children aren`t percieved in a sexual way. That creep from youtube is more likely to watch your child on schoolgrounds, at soccerpractice or at the local pool then come watch a performance. That said, I understand your point of taking precautions and I would really hesitate with performances. Perhaps a performance in our own school, with only our ladies(and perhaps a husband or bf), maybe, a performance on our mainsquare in town, no *bleeping* way!(but I wouldn`t do that myself either, so:p)
 

seona

New member
This I like...hope link works!

YouTube - Dance



I beleive it's from a Childrens festival of world dance, and this is Egypt, enjoy!



to add - Glad link worked, I'm sure somewhere there's a better recording, but I could only find this one. Now this I enjoyed, but I will say, for me, there are some clips on youtbe that make me feel a tad uncomfortable whilst watching. One in particular of a very tiny tot on a tv show, dancing in a cabaret style I guess, and that for me was too much, I found it creepy.
 
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Reen.Blom

New member
That creep from youtube is more likely to watch your child on schoolgrounds, at soccer practice or at the local pool then come watch a performance.
A child on playground or soccer practice versus on stage in makeup, crop top, doing hip circles? Sorry biiiig difference for me.

I personally have seen too many kiddies on stage bellydancing, participating bellydance competitions and little 8 year old divas waaaaay sexed up, resembling grownup hookers in their glitter eyeshadows.

So I prefer to err on side of safe.... To each their own I guess. After all, it is perfectly ok for their parents and teachers.... so.....
 
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