As a belly-dance professional and dance studio owner who has students of every age, including children, I would like to call attention the discrepancy presented in “Skin Game” (Arts & Culture, Jan. 12). The otherwise well-written article, covering nudity in the arts, mentioned the confidence in which artistic dance companies execute liberties with nudity while “burlesque girls, belly dancers and strippers are quite regulated.”
There are many ways I could laud the technique and artistry involved with each of the disciplines mentioned, but the biggest concern here is the incorrect assertion that belly dance is regulated. Belly dance is in fact not regulated at all, and for one reason: It does not need to be. Where Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulations apply to stripping and burlesque because of the extent of nudity that is often involved, there is no nudity associated with belly dance. Nudity and sensuality are two different things that can and do exist independently of one another. There is a strong and thriving community of belly dancers across the world who work hard to promote education, cultural tolerance, and help women learn to honor and find beauty in their bodies and hearts through a dance form that is decidedly woman-oriented.
I would be happy to welcome anyone to my studio, which is located within Dogtown Dance Theatre (mentioned in the article), to get a better understanding of what belly dance truly is and how it is thriving in Richmond today.
Khalima, Owner and Performer
Illumination Dance Studio