Hoop Dancing, Belly Dancing and Public Perception
September 26, 2010 § 1 Comment
I have been getting a little more into hoop dancing lately. I have taken a workshop and now own a hula hoop. It is so much fun!
I was talking with a fellow belly dancer who is now also hooping about hooping vs. belly dancing the other day. We have both been belly dancing about the same amount of time (her ten years, me nine). We were discussing how one of the great things about hooping is that you don’t have to worry about having to explain it to people, having to educate people, or having people get the wrong idea.
With belly dance, you have to be careful about how it’s presented and in what venue. There are so many incorrect or negative preconceived notions about what belly dancing is about and what the intentions of the dancers are. It is often stereotyped as a dance of morally loose women or a dance of seduction and sexuality akin to stripping. Belly dancers often struggle with the way the general public perceives them and the art form. Sadly, many belly dancers don’t share the fact that they belly dance with people in other parts of their lives because they fear the reaction.
With hula hooping, everyone knows what it is. No one will see a hula hooper and react with “what the heck are they doing? They are amazingly keeping this big, circular thing rotating around their body! How crazy!” Everyone knows what a hula hoop is, what it’s used for and there aren’t general negative ideas about it. It would be gladly accepted at any venue. Someone could even do a provocative dance with a hoop, and it won’t make anyone think all hoop dancers are loose, because the hula hoop image is already established in our culture.
It presents a very nice sense of freedom that is not always there with belly dance. I can feel more relaxed about it. And never worry about what someone might think.