This is Jimmy and here is a brief history of how I got involved in the industry.
When I was a young child I experienced severe aches in my legs and doctors were unable to identify the cause or problem. Aside from doctor's performing tests for common organic or biological issues, they never ruled out the possibility of my pain to be psychosomatic. During my adolescence all of my problems suddenly stopped. I then began to find my body was something very interesting to me and the rest, as they say, is history.
As a curious teenager, I jumped from one different dance style to another, including ballet, contemporary, Latin, Greek and flamenco. The human body to me at the time, including my own, was a very interesting field for me to research. My interest in the human body included its appearance, movement, function and design.
After many years of studying ballet and contemporary, I chose to commence lessons in belly dance in the 2003. Belly dancing was popular at the time in Greece and male belly dancers were far and in between, so it was time for me to give it a try. I found that belly dancing was the perfect avenue for me to express myself through dance. Belly dancing captured my attention and interests due to my love of Middle Eastern culture, music, costumes and sensual dance movements.
The belly dance industry, like any other dance industry, is tough. You have to choose between friends or colleagues, money or quality, to be recognized or to stay quiet, to be a star, a strict professional or publicity freak. Hard decisions need to be made, and as much as the rewards and acclamations come, and need to be prepared to cut your losses.
As a dancer and performer I was always considered to be cute due to my small build and cheeky attitude. As a teacher, I am very analytical, professional and a lover of theory. As a choreographer, I aim to be creative, unconventional and uncompromising.
During my performance, the audience reactions can vary. Sometimes the audience can appear bored and can make you feel unmotivated. This usually occurs when I perform in nightclubs as the audience is already "in motion". On the other hand, the audience at private parties and special events are expecting you to "ignite the fire". Yes a performer is the kindling!
Of course not everyone is happy or comfortable in the presence of a male belly dancer, however most people are entertained, satisfied and excited to see a male belly dancer perform – and this is the main aim!
Your acting on the stage defines your quality as a performer/entertainer, and of course you are always obligated to maintain a professional level, in order to improve your social, professional, commercial, financial and personal status - or existence!
I'm sure many of colleagues and dance professionals would agree with the above!
On the flip side, as with all industries and professions, competition is strong amongst peers and has lead some dancers to act in a rude and disrespectful manner in order to satisfy their ego or to establish their value and worth. As there are no formally recognized training certifications in belly dance, it can attract people with no former educational dance or performing background and makes it difficult to set industry practices, guidelines and standards.