Breaking into female bastion

Belly Dance

Think of belly dance and images of curvaceous women making sensuous moves, fills the mind. With actors like Rani Mukerji in Aiyyaa and Katrina Kaif in Ek Tha Tiger too getting into the act, it would appear that one of the most difficult dance forms is gaining popularity on home ground too.

However, contrary to popular perception and in an exception, some men in the City are getting attracted to hip drops, malleable belly and chest rolls, shimmies, maya step and ‘taksim’ moves of the exotic dance form, which is understood to be feminine and involves intense movements of the core muscles of the stomach.

Arun Kumar, a BPO professional and as yet a B.Com undergraduate, has been learning belly dancing and seeking perfection in the form for the last few years.

According to him, how one sees this dance form depends on individual perception. “I would watch Egyptian and Turkish men on the net, belly dancing to perfection. I thought if they could do it, why couldn’t I. In India, even girls are looked down upon if they practice belly dance, forget about men. So I took it up as a challenge and now want to be known as one of the most accomplished male belly dancers of India,” 21-year-old Arun shares with Metrolife.

He is learning belly dance from the Banjara School of Dance and has also given stage performances.

“My father has never appreciated my decision but my mother and sister are supportive. People think it is a feminine dance and men should not do it. But I say irrespective of the dance you perform, just keep your body language correct. I recently performed in my office at a Diwali function and at a competition in Saket,” he says.

Meher Malik, owner of Banjara School and a fabulous belly dancer herself, who trained Rani Mukerji for Aiyyaa’s track, Aga Bai Halla Machaye Re, says it is a new trend which will take time to pick up. Currently, the school has only three-four men who are learning the nuances of this energetic dance.

“Their families are not very happy with their decision but they are learning out of sheer passion and are very good at it. One of our students Pratik Chaudhri is very good. It is a misconception that belly dance is for women only. All master teachers of belly dance across the world are men. In fact, in Egypt men are better at it than women. It is not about ge­n­der, but about get­ti­ng the technique right,” she says.

Other dance schools of the City believe that men performing belly dance cannot come to par with the women’s version. Runjhun Gupta, owner of Zip Out Dance school in Noida, says, “So far, we have had two-three male students. They wanted to learn a few steps of belly dance for flexibility such as the maya step which is difficult.

“All over the world, it is mainly done by women, specifically young girls. It is passed on by mothers to daughters. It focuses on one of the most attractive parts of their bodies, belly. Men performing it may not draw as many audiences as women would,” says Anant Sandhu, owner of Delhi Dance Academy.

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