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Ask The Gypsy

Questions and Answers: Topics:

If you have a question or an answer to these Bellydance topics, send it to Email and we will post it for you. Thanks. Penny

QUESTION: Hi there!

I have just started learning belly dance with the assistance of Neena and Veena's video's . . and have now enrolled in a formal bellydance class.

I am a heavier woman, and was paralyzed from the waist down about a year and a half ago due to a ruptured disc. I cannot believe the progress I've made, even in the short time of about 4 months. I have regained so much strength, and loosened up my back, and I've lost almost 45 pounds!!!!

A couple questions. One, is that I find it interesting, that many of the top belly dancers are actually quite voluptuous - size 18 and beyond. It makes me feel so good, that there is a dance out there, that celebrates the womanly form, regardless of what you see in the fashion magazines. This really gave me inspiration - however, with that almost appearing to be a norm, why is it so hard to find tops over a 38D? I am almost into a 38D from a 42D, but not quite, so I want a little larger, but it is so frustrating to even find that rare 42, and usually the matching bottoms aren't larger than a 38 without really having to look, or pay a small fortune for them. With many of the dancers in plus sizes. Why does it seem so hard to find sizes that will fit a size 18 and up? (That's also something that really torques me off with Victoria's Secret - a double D bra or larger cup, with no larger than a 34 - 36 rib cage? Get real! hahaha!) (Catharae can make you a costume in your size and color choices - Pink Gypsy)

OK. The other question. Of these beautiful voluptuous women, some who have danced years and years, and are quite large, it seems it would cause them to lose weight if they're dancing so much, and really, it does seem like quite the workout, so why would they still be a larger size? Please don't take that wrong. I am a large woman, and I think it's so beautiful that belly dancers aren't like stick ballerina's lol. :) Even more, it's a breath of fresh air, that it is actually excepted and considered beautiful. (Finally!!!!!) It just seems strange, that after that many years of performing and practicing, that they would remain that voluptuous. I really want to try to get a flat stomach and it seems this would really do it, so I'm just wondering, why it doesn't seem to happen after that many years. I am reading this, and this sounds so pro skinny. I really don't mean it that way. It just seems, with all that hard work, you'd lose weight. Is it just not enough of an aerobic workout to belly dance.... or do they maybe choose to stay that way because it's considered beautiful?

I have finally excepted myself at the weight I am, and I started at almost 270 pounds, in a size 22/24. (I know, the weight doesn't match the size, but for some reason, I've always weighed far more than the size I can wear), I started to take on belly dance, and that's when my weight started dropping like crazy, and I have tried everything before I finally decided if people don't like me the way I am, then too bad lol. :) I quit trying, and that's when things really started to change. Belly dancing really makes you get in touch with your body, and you have to really accept your body, and love it, and by doing that, I have learned to love myself for who I am, and know that I am beautiful no matter what size. Belly dance truly makes you feel like a goddess. I was just curious and wondered if you had any thoughts on the subject.

Thanks so much! :) -- "Rhiannon"

ANSWER:
Hi Rhiannon, First off congratulations on your success and healthful recovery! Now, regarding more voluptuous dancers, I think that one thing that many of us in the US sometimes forget is that every culture except those of the western Europeans and United States regard more voluptuous women as beautiful. In the Middle East and Latin America in particular, a woman would be considered sickly looking if she is the size of the average American model or actress.

These cultures recognize that a more voluptuous woman is healthier, more sexually appealing, and will be a better bearer of children than a toothpick type girl. That being said, I believe that is the reason that more voluptuous dancers are more successful in the Middle East and Egypt. And luckily the Middle Easterners and Egyptians who move to America retain the preference for women who are healthy looking. Therefore, they hire women as belly dancers who are more voluptuous than the average American ideal.

On a personal note I have noticed that I get more work dancing when I am carrying a little more weight than I usually do. I think the reason that the dancers who you speak of that have been dancing for years do not lose more weight and kind of "level off" at a more voluptuous size is because they want to retain the sexual appeal of a larger woman. So the lack of weight loss would typically be on purpose. Also, after years of dancing, one will see tremendous gains in lean muscle mass. This is a good thing as it makes your body healthier, but it also keeps one from obtaining the stick thin body type that is preferred here in the States.

One thing that bothers me is that we have been so inundated with the idea that working out equals stick thin, that we all think, "Oh, I'll work out and then I'll look like Jennifer Aniston." The reality is that as women WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THAT THIN. The female body must be able to handle the growing and giving of life, and we can't do that if we have so little body fat that we can barely support our own life! Now, for the bra sizing issue: I believe that the reason it is so hard to find larger size bras in the States is because since it is not considered the cultural ideal, some of the costume makers ignore the larger sizes.

Have you tried Cathrae's Treasures here on the Pink Gypsy site. She can probably make something lovely for you. If you don't want to try that, then I would suggest either making you own costumes with bras that you find that are suitable, or sending away to Turkey or Egypt and having the costume custom made for you. There are some costume manufacturers that will custom make to meet your size.

The bottom line is, love yourself and your body for what it can do and how it makes you feel, not what it looks like. I've found the best dancers to be ones who feel the music and interpret it through their bodies. The beauty of dance is that it is conducive to women's bodies, no matter what shape, size or age.

Best of luck to you! Mahira


Good Evening Ladies & all,

I too am a voluptuous size dancer.   I love some of the articles here and refreshing to see others accept themselves the way they are..it's OK to be whatever size you are.   As long as you're dancing and healthy what's the problem say I.

I am just at 200 pounds and carry it well.  To answer one comment/question  after years of belly dancing some would wonder why the weight doesn't come off.  Well simply because some will, some won't lose it, our bodies are our bodies, all are different & it isn't meant to be if we don't lose weight viz the exercise you gain from dancing.    Many variables are involved..body chemistry, genetics, the type of diet, age, hormone levels.  I myself haven't lost much in actual pounds since dancing for 3 years, but have definitely lost inches!  Go figure.   I've lost 2 inches throughout all in total from each measurement from top to bottom.  This has come solely from dancing.  So the body will change, but not always will  be in a loss of weight.    Not to worry...just feel good about yourself and keep on dancing!

To comment on the dancing outfits..yes I too wonder still why aren't there more costumes available in larger sizes?   We are not all meant to be small in shape. Thank you! -- Nara

TOPIC: Voluptuous Bellydancers

QUESTION: Where can I get information of an infamous belly dancer that performed in Tombstone, Arizona in the mid to later 1800's or so. She entertained at the Birdcage Saloon. I would be interested in any pictures too. I belong to An Old West re-enacting group where we portray people of the 1800's and do living history.

She went by the name of "Fatima". Can anyone help me?

Beverlie Griffin, dakotarose1880@charter.net, 9580 172nd. St. W., Lakeville, MN 55044, 952-898-4126

TOPIC: Looking for Fatima

  

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