Top 10 Male Belly Dancers and Teachers
Nowadays, belly dance is a predominantly female art form; however, in the past it was not so. In belly dance’s countries of origin (Egypt and Turkey) men used to perform the same type of dance that women did and also they could perform for a male audience, which female dancers did not always do. Hence, male dancers were in demand. It was only with the arrival of westerners that male belly dancers became fewer and fewer, as westerners preferred to watch women dancing. Also, the mentality in Turkey and Egypt changed, so that nowadays in those countries men only perform folkloric forms of dance, rather than raqs sharqi. Men also dance socially to shaabi music, using some movements that are typical of what we know today as belly dance.
Nevertheless, there are now more and more performers from various countries in the world, who perform belly dance in its different forms. They perform folkloric dances, as well as raqs sharqi and American tribal, which was traditionally reserved for women. Currently, there are several male belly dancers around the world. Below a list of 10 I know of. If you know any more, please feel free to add your comment below.
- Ibrahim Akef – he was a famous Egyptian belly dance choreographer, who passed away in 2007. He taught many famous dancers and his style influenced a lot of modern dancers such as Raqia Hassan, Khaled Mahmoud, Dina and many more.
- Dr Mo Geddawi and Mahmoud Reda – are two of the founders or the Egyptian Reda Troupe, which made Egyptian folk dance famous. Dr Mo Geddawi and Mahmoud Reda are both soloists and choreographers and have taught (and still teach) workshops all over the world.
- Khaled Mahmoud – Egyptian from Cairo but based in London, UK. He dances Egyptian folk style as well as raqs sharqi. His style is very energetic and graceful at the same time. He was at the International Bellydance Congress in the UK and he is very much in demand, so he is always teaching and performing in various festivals around the world.
- Jim Boz – he is a male belly dancer based in California, whose style is quite earthy and who also taught and performed at the International belly Dance Congress in the UK.
- Amir Thaleb –belly dancer based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he runs his own academy. He is very appreciated all over the world and travels extensively to teach and perform.
- Ahmet Ogren – he is a famous Turkish style dancer from Istanbul.
- Mohamed El Hosseny – Egytpian based in Finland, where he runs a belly dance academy.
- Horacio Cifuentes – originally from Colombia and now based in Germany, where he runs an oriental dance academy with his wife, Beata.
- Ozgen – Turkish dancer based in the UK, specialised in Turkish belly dance and gypsy dances.
- Shafeek Ibrahim – Egyptian who lives in London; he performs folkloric, raqs sharqi and fusion styles.
In addition to the dancers above, there are of course many more, whom I have come across through Youtube. One who is extremely good and who is in demand worldwide is Egyptian dancer Tito. Other male dancers include, Zack (tribal dancer from Texas), Said Rashid and Samir Abut from Argentina (who both run belly dance schools there) and Jimmy from Greece just to name a few.
In terms of dance in the community and local belly dance classes, I still have not been in a class where there are male dancers, nor have I seen anyone perform at a local hafla. However, I think it is just a question of time and we will see more men joining the belly dance community.
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Valeria is a dance researcher completing a PhD in dance and heritage. Valeria also teaches and performs as a belly dance but also enjoys learning ballet, jazz dance and other dance genres.