I had the pleasure of going to a belly dance workshop this weekend with the famous Jim Boz. Yes, a male belly dancer and a world renowned performer and instructor. I have seen him perform before, and he is incredible. I have to admit I was a bit intimidated to be taking this particular workshop. I had no idea what to expect, and I was concerned that I was going to be completely out of my league. Jim himself is a bit intimidating at about 6'4" and 260 lbs. He really looks more like a tv wrestler than what you would expect a male belly dancer to look like.
During the course of the 3 hour session, Jim taught us moves such as the "barf", which is like a reverse body undulation, but a bit more subtle, and yes, barf is a fairly good description of it. He also gave us the visual of a line of snot running out of our nose and hitting our hip, knee and foot in succession to help our alignment of a particular move. He qualified this by saying, "I may be a belly dancer, but I'm still a guy".
I figured that my skills would be challenged and I was right, but on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being "completely lost", and 10 "being this is easy" I rated myself about a 7. And I gave myself a hearty pat on the back at the end of it.
That evening there was a performance of local dancers and the "Boz Man" performed last. Let me just say it was worth the wait. If you've never seen a grown man in shimmery tight clothes do a full body shimmy-vibration you have truly missed out. My heart still beats a bit faster just thinking about it. Whew! Oh, and the rest of his dancing was incredible too....ah, but the shimmy...
Now, because I raved about Jim Boz's fabulousness, my husband has labeled him as gay, which may or may not be true, (and for the sake of my crush, in my mind he is not). Husband likes to label all my celebrity crushes as gay. In fact he's still trying to get a nasty rumor about Jeff Probst's sexual orientation going.
Although male belly dancers are rare in the U.S., I have seen one other. Notice I didn't say "had the pleasure of seeing". In contrast to Jim Boz who does belly dance moves in a masculine way, this dancer had swathed himself in orange flowy chiffon and danced in a very feminine way. That would have been fine had he been a bit more feminine or metrosexual looking, but this guy rather resembled a homeless street person with his scraggly hair and beard, his pasty white less-than-fit abdomen covered in man fur, and what looked like very hastily applied blue eyeshadow and mascara. My friend described him as Rasputin-esque. I know I sound like a belly dance snob, but really I wasn't the only one that found him a bit unsettling. Let's just say I didn't take away a good memory, and gouging at my eyes didn't help to get the vision of orange chiffon hairiness out of my mind.
So, even if you have no interest in middle eastern dance, if you get a chance to see Jim Boz, do it! You will be glad you did. However, if you see Rasputin dressed like a harem girl, please for the sake of your eyes and mind, run!