The business side of belly dance seems to be a little different in the rest of the world. In the States, Europe, Russia and Asia, the belly dancers themselves are in charge of all aspects of the dance. They are not merely performers. They are event organizers, agents, and in lots of cases, the majority of the customers. They are women helping other women, and they are profiting from their dedication to this art.
To those social constructionists who would suggest that there’s no such thing as “women’s art” because there’s no such thing as gender, I would suggest they take a look at the facts. It’s been pretty well established that belly dance derives from the natural movements that WOMEN do when WOMEN are PREGNANT. The belly rolls, the shimmies, the flutters, the pelvic thrusts, etc. The last time I checked, men do not get pregnant. Would anyone like to prove me wrong? :0)
What’s even further evidence of this being a woman’s dance is the fact that there is no distinct role for men in belly dance. Unlike ballet, salsa, and the thousands of folkloric dances around the world, there are no special “man moves” in belly dance. So when men belly dance, they take on a female persona. They become women (if only for the duration of their performances). And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Just saying.