I have been noticing a lot of comments and threads on social media that are leading me to this question. Why doesn’t bellydance seem to be trending? More and more events are being cancelled or condensed, classes aren’t as full or are being cancelled altogether, and all of these things are making me wonder, is bellydance not cool anymore?
Those of us that have been in the bellydance scene for a while have seen other dance and fitness styles come and go. First it was Latin fusion exercise classes which then morphed into Zumba classes and there are also ballet classes made into more off an exercise class with barre blast. But is bellydance going to do this? Is there going to be only bellydance for fun and fitness? There are some who are marketing bellydance as an exercise class but depending on the style and the way it is taught, will students get the sweat that they desire? Maybe we don’t appeal to them as a form of cardio where you sweat a lot. Sure bellydance works your muscles and helps tone but it’s not a cardio sweat kind of class. I think an advanced class can turn into that once a student has a basic knowledge of movements you can add layers and traveling and really boost it into a cardio workout but it doesn’t lend itself initially. Also, it is a part of a culture and an art form. If we change it into fitness are we losing the essence of it and the reason why a lot of us got into this dance form to begin with?
Bellydance does seem like it gets a bump whenever a singer uses it in a music video. Shakira helped us with hips don’t lie as well as Beyonce but aside from some of the Indian pop music videos we haven’t seen any more mainstream artists use it. I know quite a few dancers who credit Shakira with getting them into their first belly dance class to begin with. Also, Shimmer and Shine have brought many a little girl into the bellydance world with themed parties as well. Maybe with the new live action Aladdin movie coming out we may see people end up in our classes. I’m not sure.
All I know is that I am seeing a downward trend as of late and I hope it’s not permanent. I hope that something comes along to give us a boost. In the meantime it’s up to us dancers to get super creative not just in our marketing but in our dance in order to lure and show that bellydance is an art form that needs to start trending again.
Have you seen a downward trend in your neck of the woods? If so, please share your thoughts below. I’d love to know if it’s just in my area or if it’s farther spread and get the discussion going on ideas to help change it!