About Belly Dance, What Every Belly Dancer Needs To Know

Do Men Belly Dance?

The History of Male Belly Dancing
No one is quite sure when belly dancing began, although there is evidence to suggest that it has been around for centuries. It is believed that, in most places, belly dancing began as a ritual in which both men and women could participate. As Islam began to spread through many countries, it became inappropriate for women to dance in public. Men, dressed as women, would take the place of women in the ritualistic dances. As belly dancing has spread throughout the world it has been transformed into mostly a feminine activity. However, there are still many men performing the dances.

Differences Between Men Belly Dancing and Women Belly Dancing
Men and women are constructed differently, which can create challenges for men trying to imitate women’s belly dancing styles. Women have larger hips, which are well suited for side-to-side use, while men are better at forward and back movements. Most women who belly dance use a hip-tuck quite regularly, but men should not. Men normally do a pelvic thrust, instead of a pelvic tuck, while doing side-to-side movements to avoid the damage that could be done to their back. With the right amount of training and patience, men can learn to dance the same way women do, but it may take them longer.

Styles of Male Belly Dancing
Men can perform nearly any kind of belly dancing with a little practice and a few modifications. Many male belly dancers perform with women troupes and perform the same moves along with their female counterparts. Other men belly dancers prefer to cast themselves as the male protectors over their troupes and perform strong masculine moves. Male belly dancers can be found all over the world performing any kind of style. Most male belly dancers perform either in the folkloric or raqs sharqi style.

Famous Male Belly Dancers
There are many men across the globe that belly dance. Some of the best known are Jim Boz, Horacio Cifuentes and Khaled Mahmoud. Jim Boz is a male belly dancer from California. He has traveled throughout the world performing in various styles, including folkloric and cape and veil work. Horacio Cifuentes is a Colombian-born dancer. He became world renowned for his belly dancing and now teaches belly dancing with his wife Beata. Originally from Cairo, Khaled Mahmoud is now based in London. He travels around the world performing in the Egyptian folk style and raqs sharqi. He receives praise for his style, which is both extremely energetic and graceful.

Men belly dancers are not rare but they are not well known. However, that does not mean they are any less talented. There are many men who belly dance professionally and just as many who simply enjoy the thrill they get from the dance. Here is a great example of a man who is a belly dancer, and also makes the thrill of belly dance fun for all!


Additional Resources For Men Who Belly Dance

An Essay on Gender Expectations & Men Who Raq, by Dilara Sultan

The Belly Dancer's Other Half, A Supportive Partner