Friday, 29 June 2012

Adina Gamal Shimmies Her Way Out of Belly Dancer Stereotypes

June 27, 2012
By Bonnie Caprara

Belly dancing. Cabaret dancing. Burlesque dancing. They all evoke visions slim, seductive and exotic women whose movements glide through a room, stirring the visions and souls of wanting men in a seductive, teasing way.

They’re the fantasies of many women, too. Housewives. Students. Even teachers like Jeanine Wilson.
They’re fantasies of the women they want to be.

“When I went through my second divorce, I was looking for things to do to make myself happy,” Wilson says.

However, Wilson put off her exploration into belly dancing for a month “I thought I’d be the only African-American and the only big girl in the class,” Wilson says. “But I’m not a quitter. I believe in seeing things through. After my first time, I thought, ‘Wow! I did this. I did this as well as anyone else.’”

Not only did Wilson see things through, but as her alter ego, Adina Gamal, she and business partner, Zaniah Amairah are tantalizing audiences as teachers and performers of Detroit Shimmy.

After several years of learning, Wilson brings a philosophy to primarily belly dancing that speaks to non-Middle Eastern women or women with perfectly proportional bodies.

“I am constantly trying to help the girls because I know what they’re going through,” Wilson says. “You strive to be the best dancer that you can be with belly dancing. You are too beautiful no matter what size you are.”

Since taking up belly dancing, Wilson has dropped from 280 pounds to 226 pounds in a regimen that also includes dieting and water aerobics. And since she and Amairah have taught and encouraged women of every size, shape and color to embrace, accept and express themselves through belly dancing and other forms of dance, what had once been a hobby is now a busy performance schedule, which has included performances at Ferndale Pride and River Days.

As for breaking down the myths that professional belly dancing is only for slim Middle Eastern women, Wilson says, “The people in the Middle Eastern community really love me because I can really dance … I’m not doing it to get anyone hot and bothered, I’m doing it for me.”

Source: The Urbane Life

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