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Baring my fat belly

December 20, 2013

My Boring-Ass Life

Despite my spinal injury, I’ve been a belly dancer for about ten years… and I’ve always been a fat dancer. In the past few months, I’ve been dancing with an American Tribal Style® belly dance troupe. My troupe is awesomely body-positive both in practices and performances, and we have a range of bodies from short and fat (me) to tall and thin. We all tend to wear belly-baring cholis (a form-fitting cropped top that sometimes bares the upper back as well) with skirts, scarves, and belts at our hips. The costume allows the various torso isolations to be easily visible to the viewer.

What does this have to do with Fat Acceptance?  Well, quite a lot actually.

At various performances over the years, I’ve been told that I’m brave for baring my belly. My thinner dance siblings never hear this unless they have bellies with stretch marks or scars. I heard the same thing a couple weeks ago when my troupe performed at an outdoor arts event on a Friday night downtown. When our friends in other troupes performed, several of us fielded questions about how we were able to bare our stomachs and dance with confidence in such a public venue.

It was interesting hearing the responses. I joked about getting too warm with my belly covered (which is utterly true, as I’m a warm blooded creature). One of my troupemates explained that we have a body-positive culture in our studio, so it’s just part of what we do. Another talked about feeling more conspicuous with a belly cover or body stocking (as she’d be the only person covered).

The whole discussion reminded me of the fatkini movement last summer. Why should I feed on someone else’s fat hate just to fit within someone else’s idea of what my body ought to look like… especially when I’m having fun moving my body?


A clipped snapshot showing a pale red-headed fat woman with hair pulled back & stage makeup, wearing a short-sleeved teal choli, red decorated belly dance bra, wine colored skirt, and green hip scarf.

Casey Sig

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 24, 2013 12:24 am

    Belly dancing is badass! One of these days I’ll get around to trying it. I actually bought some CD’s at one point. My schedule is very chaotic, but someday…

  2. January 1, 2014 9:31 am

    Love it, love it, love it! The smiling redhead is just beautiful. I may be inspired to take up belly dancing this year. Bodies are made to move.

    • January 1, 2014 10:59 pm

      Thank you! If you want to give it a try, I highly recommend it…..a lot of studios are very welcoming of a variety of bodies, plus it’s usually a dance form people try out as adults instead of as kids, so most folks come in as raw beginners (which for me made it way less scary when I started out)

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