Saturday, May 13, 2006

Silk Road dance class


Silk Road displays imported clothing in the shop window in Beaumont on Saturday, April 15, 2006. The shop sells imported goods, holds classes and features other specialty services such as henna tattoos and psychic readings.

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise


Alexandra Simeonides (left) teaches hip movements during an introduction to belly dance class at Silk Road in Beaumont.


Alexandra Simeonides teaches arm movements during an introduction to belly dance class at Silk Road in Beaumont.


Alexandra Simeonides laughs with students during an introduction to belly dance class at Silk Road in Beaumont.

Although most of the people taking this course were truly beautiful, none wanted to be identified taking belly dance classes. Since they're paying for the classes, I couldn't push it very far.

4 comments:

Justin DeYoung said...

Just wondering did anyone give reasons why the didnt want to be shown?

Mark M. Hancock said...

One absolutely didn't want to be seen. I think the others were supporting her decision. Many were stunning, so it didn't make sense other than this reason or possibly some strange religious taboo.

Woodrow Jarvis Hill said...

it didn't make sense other than this reason or possibly some strange religious taboo.

It's a little of both. I've been doing this dance 15+ years, now, and started doing my own photos, as a minor hobby, a couple of year back during a hiatus.
There's a number of reasons why. From the strongly spiritual sense I get from the pictures, I'd say some of it comes from having a "safe space" for women, where they aren't judged on their beauty. Even if they preform in public (and I'd bet a large number never will perform), there's a difference between dealing with paying customers, and dealing with odd comments from friends about their "weird hobby", or how pretty they are, etc.
There's a major stigma attached to being a "belly dancer" in America, to this day, much of which comes from it being identified as something seductive -- belly dance is strongly tied to the Harem Girl fantasy. But the dance is much, much more than that; in fact, I just wrote about "dancing for joy" on my blog, last week...

And a lot of that kind of thought process in mainstream culture is just one reason why dancers tend to avoid being ID'ed. Does that make sense?

Mark M. Hancock said...

I've shot several belly dance classes in the past. Photos were not an issue because everyone was proud of their abilities to move (like square dancing or ballet).

I suppose I've shot too many things that are off-the-scale, so belly dance is not a big deal after folks dangling from the roof on meat hooks.