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The reason we hold Men's Belly Hafla

As you all know, most bellydance schools in Japan do not accept men.

"There's no place to change clothes" "The women are embarrassed with their mid-sections exposed" "There are frivolous men who come just to pick up girls"

They all gave so many different reasons, but it simply all came down to gender discrimination, although some without meaning any harm.
In sport clubs, in very rare few studios which allow men's participation, or in most of dance school forbidding men, there's not much different.
I will discuss this issue another time, since it will be extremely long.

Well, so how do we get rid of the gender discrimination in question here?

Should a "Let's abolish the friggin' discriminatory treatment!! Yeah!!"kind of demonstration be considered?
Should we create a pressure group, sending out interrogatories to each dance school?

No, if we do something like that, gender exclusionism trend would just get worse.
Just like the story of theNorth Wind and the Sun, the traveller would only wrap his cloak around himself tighter. (Aesop's tale's moral teaches us that superior force leaves us cold, the warmth of love dispels it.)

Even though we don't do those things, there's already the best solution.
You already know it, right?

"Showing the world that men are dancing their hearts out!"

There's no use in explaining and trying to change people's minds if they don't accpet us from their hearts.

Especially, it is important to let the students' acceptance, rather than the teachers. Even though a teacher think "I want to accept male students (into the dance school), if the students are against it most of the time the teacher will bend to their wills.

That's the reason why I still have more student dancers than professionals in this show, even though MBH became a very popular event. We would like to receive empathy (among student danceres) rather than mere interest.

In the beginning, I was thinking about assembling the male professional dancers and show everyone that men can dance well, not any less than women.

Ironicly, men are not allowed to study in dance schools in the first place! So, there are only 1-2 male professionals around!! LOL
Talk about a major set-back right from the start.

Therefore, the course of action was changed. We first start with a student hafla (recital), and create friendships among male dancers. Then, when they grow and blossom into professionals, it will be a chance!

The first show (Vol. 1) began in a venue that hosted less than 50 seats, as a domestic event with almost no promotion/advertisement whatsoever.

But as soon as the event is uncovered, cheering parties showed up the support the male dancers from their schools who got a change to shine, and the venue was totally packed!!

Hafla itself also got an extremely good review. People came praising and cheering "It was great!" "We want see more of the male dancers!"

At that point, I realized "Oh, it doesn't have to be the professionals. We just have to show everyone that we are working really hard!"

Come to think of it, most of the audiences who came to see our shows are students who are still in training themselves. Even though the performets are men, as they watched these men trying their bests, and they empathized "These people are working as hard as I am!"

"After seeing the show, I felt like I want to practice really hard!", some of the audiences said. LOL I guess they feel like they are in the same shoes (as the male performers.)

So, we are not professionals yet, but we will continue this event!
We are determined we would like as many ladies to see the show!

The second show we had was in a bigger venue, with two separate shows in the afternoon and at night. (150 audiences)

For the third show, an Egyptian male dancer, whom I unexpectely befriended with, was our guest dancer. Therefore, we rented a hall for our show for the first time. (300 audiences)

As we kept the event going, we had more fans, and the atmosphere in the community shifted to be more accepting toward male dancers.

Some dance teachers who did not allow men in their schools until that point, saw MBH and decided "We will gather our courage and try accepting male students!"

"It's our first time to see male bellydancers, and it totally changed our points of view!" said many of the women audiences.

A bellydance magazine here, as well, has specially featured a men bellydance column to show their support.

There was also a time my application for a workshop in Nagoya city was declined (as a male), but thanks to the teachers who petitioned for me I was allowed to participate in the workshop.

Of course, we've still got a long way to go.
Even now, the numbers of dance schools which allow male participants probably haven't reached 0.1% And, the "Male bellydancers are unacceptable! Disgusting! They should disappear!!"kind of verbal abuses are also very deep rooted.

But, if we get angry, we are defeated. (Well, I can't help being angry though. LOL) In the future, we must not become the North wind, but the warm Sun and keep working hard.

Personally, this event is a gender equality involved democratic movement.
But I will be careful not to make stinking debate and become a kill-joy.

I believe we can reach an understanding by peaceful way.
The way, it's named Men's Belly Hafla !!
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