Thursday, October 08, 2009

succumbing to standards

My troupe is set for three performances in the upcoming two weeks. One on Saturday, another one on the next Saturday, and the last one on the Sunday. Performances mean so many things for us, or for me, at least. We get to put on our costumes, put on our make-ups, show off our moves, study our moves and mistakes (if any) later on (in the video), have a chance to show our existence, get more stage-time and experience, and of course get paid.

I was excited. My costume was almost ready (except for the white top with white/silver paillettes and sparklies that will make me look like a belly dancing member of the Ice Capades) and I got the moves right.

We were already confused as to why we were hired by one big gym franchise while the events are organized in places that not only not have those gym clubs, but the competing gyms of big names. But we brushed the thought aside and were even excited that we could perform and be seen by people from other gyms.

And then one night as I was returning from teaching, I received a message from my teacher. Apparently, the organizer was not our gym, but a fitness equipment manufacturer and distributor. And the organizer only wants female dancers. I was disappointed. Sad, even.

I mean, everyone knows I'm a total show-off and attention whore. And desperate for dough.

But seriously, folks, Oriental Dance is a dance for everyone. Male, female, gay, straight, stick thin, slim, standardly built, voluptuos, curvaceous, plain big, tall, short, young, old. Heck, I even know dancers with bipolar syndrome and one foot that's shorter than the other.

And that's right. That's exactly what it is. This is a dance that demands everything from you but keeps you liberated enough to not care about those things above. Oriental Dance can be as low impact as walking (gorgeously, that is) to medium-high (shimmies, powerful accents). And yet everyone can do it, unlike the the more complicated dances like salsa or hip hop (I know I can't). But don't get me wrong. Oriental Dance is just as challenging. I know dancers who've been dancing for a long time (modern, contemporary, hip hop, salsa) that can't dance Oriental.

However, when it comes to being hired or dancing semiprofessionally or professionally, you have to be ready for the ultimate challenge: the rejection because of the said points above.

And I have been rejected for being a male.

I can deal with the rejection. But I can't help but think the reasons I got that kind of reaction. And so I formed three theoretical answers:
  1. The organizer thinks that Oriental Dance is a women's only dance
  2. The organizer thinks that Oriental Dance is a women's only dance, that's why if it's danced by a male, he will dance in drag (and the organizer doesn't want it)
  3. The organizer thinks that Oriental Dance is a women's only dance, that's why if it's danced by a male, he won't dance seriously but just to illicit laughter from the audience (and the organizer doesn't want it)
The answers above are very much related to the organizer's knowledge about Oriental Dance and the men who dance it. And I should say it's right next to nothing.

But on a lighter note, thank goodness I haven't worked overnight to finish the white top.


Arema said...

May i add 4th hypothesis:
the organiser wants to attract male audience, thus there putting female dancers only on show
the organiser dosent give a damn about oriental dance i guess all they care about is money flow: the purpose of the show is to advertise, to sell as many equipments as possible

the boy who shimmies said...

Or that! Thank you! I didn't think about that one. Yes. Sex does sell.

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