When I'm not teaching, sleeping or complaining about pregnancy, I'm bellydancing.
It has now officially been my all-consuming* hobby for 4 years. During that short period of time I have learned a lot about dancing - which I love! I've learned even more about the belly dancing community - which I find absolutely fascinating!
It is a thriving culture at many levels: from fishbowl (Vancouver Island) to aquarium (The Westcoast belly dance scene) to ocean (The many faces of international belly dance and fusion).
It is a world of personalities each of varying fame, each of different talents, images and reputations. Not unlike Hollywood's star culture, it can sometimes turn into a carnival of oogling, and gossip - we're dealing with a bunch of chicks who love the spotlight, after all.
While I DO enjoy ogling... at expensive costumes and I have, of course, developed ,my own still-expanding opinions on the styles and types of dance- and dancers we appreciate. Neither me, nor anyone I dance with takes themselves so seriously that it becomes an ego thing. We love dancing. We love dancing together and we love sharing our love of dance with others.
That being said, I have to admit that once, in a moment of boredom, I tried googling "Male Belly Dancer" because I was honestly intrigued... Really! You don't often see male belly dancers around. I mean, we've got Nath Keo on the island here, who's got a style all his own, but I've never seen any other males dance.
Anyhow, amongst the many flamboyantly interesting icons of male belly dance, (some veiled, some not), I ran into one that piqued my interest so much that I had to share him with my friend and dance-mate Sarah. His name is Jim Boz. He is not a girlyman at all.He has the build of a trucker, or maybe a biker, or perhaps a WWE wrestler - in any case, he's got an enormous torso and a neck thick as an oak tree. Looks like the type of guy you'd expect to see donning a skullcap helmet, riding a Harley, not dancing. Yet, he is an Egyptian-style bellydancer - in my opinion, the most poised and graceful kind! Fancy that!
Hmmm... I said to myself, I wonder if he can dance. Turns out he can. Very well. Technique? Flawless. Plus, his costumes are tasteful and manly-looking (at least for a belly dancer) he doesn't wear makeup beyond what is required on stage and apparently he's an amazing teacher and has a great sense of humour.
Well, it turns out he's teaching some workshops in Nanaimo coming up in May. How can I NOT go? The curiosity is practically killing me! I'm sure I can learn more than a thing or two from someone who has the soul of a dancer, but is wearing the body of a professional wrestler. Talk about rising above challenges!
* Time, money, interest, you name it...