Question from Tattooed Lady:
I need an opinion on tattoos for dancers.
I have one and plan to get several more tattoos - on my neck, back, and legs.
I don't have nor plan to get any tattoos on my stomach or bust.
need to know if I should make efforts to hide my tattoos. Does the design make
a difference? Is the general opinion that dancers should not be tattooed? Or should
I show them off? What about women who do have tattoos on their stomach area -
how would this affect their image?
I personally like tattoos
and have seen many which have made me consider such a choice. They are sexy, beautiful
and exotic. However, I know of one very professional dancer who works in Los Angeles
in a lot of clubs and other venues who must often hide hers. She uses special
makeup (check with "Cinema Secrets" in Hollywood) or covers with a vest,pants,
skirts, sleeves, or dance dress. It depends on where you are working and for whom
you are working. Most professional actresses in the trade cover theirs depending
on what film, video or appearance they are making.
market do you wish to target, are you a full-time actress/entertainer or a hobbyist?
Are you in a Punk Rock or Goth band? Do you also perform exotic dance? (Do not
confuse this with Bellydance, please). Are you die-hard American Tribal like Fat
Chance and friends? Are you part time and like it that way?
to be very realistic about your goals and your image as these are important for
the aware performer. It is certain that most Middle eastern, Mediterranean, and
Asian club and restaurant owners will not appreciate these kinds of decorations.
In their eyes, it makes you a member of a very low caste - and believe it or not,
dancers already suffer from this type of general reputation. And sometimes making
a living may preclude the "Just be yourself" axiom.
as a Los Angeles couturier costumer and dance coach puts it, "This dance is sexy
enough already." Exceptions exist. I know of two other very young, blond, talented,
and beautiful members of "Desert Bloom" who have large flying fairies tattooed
on the smalls of their backs. They worked together for a while, and then separately
in a lot of avante garde or edgy generation x-er venues and like it that way,
though I think they sometimes have shows for Mediterranean clients. It is possible
they cover their designs up when they perform in certain places, and one of them
sometimes works with a small snake. I have used temporary tattoos to give an exotic
effect when called for. - M.
More response about TATOOS.
I am a belly dancer from South Africa and I have
read some of your Q/A on the net. I myself have a tatoo of a dragon circling around
my belly button. Apart from my old teacher, who were a bit misinformed about most
things, I really haven't had anybody making comments about my tatoo - in fact
- most people (Greeks etc.) find it fascinating. Only for some TV appearances
like ads I have to cover it up. Of course it also depends on what the tatoo looks
like. I have seen some really ugly ones that had to be covered up. I actually
have read that the middle easten women do henna tatoos and real ones as a symbol
for protection. But in the end it's a matter of taste and many people are still
very conservative and misinformed about tatoos.
Picture of Tatiana's Tatoo
My name is Maria and I am a member of a New Mexico
Belly Dance troupe. I am a tatooed Dancer - I have five tattoos, one of them being
Egyptian wings of Ra with two snakes that surround my belly button. I had just
recovered from surgery. I got my tattoo, I had planned it for about a year, and
to me it symbolizes earthly protection and spiritual strength, and the colors
in the tattoo-orange-teal-red-and yellow-were picked out by my tattoo artist.
The colors are bright, and do shock some
people when they first view the tattoo. I have gotten mixed reactions to my tattoo,
many people asking me if it is real, and some thinking I am crazy for "doing such
a thing to my body." Others appreciate the artisitic beauty of the design, and
commend me for the painful hours it took to accomplish the tattoo in one sitting.
I can understand how Middle Eastern or
Mediterranean people might not approve of tattooed dancers, as this permanent
decoration is not normally a part of their dance culture. For those people, I
do not mind wearing a dance dress that would hide the tattoo; sometimes it feels
better to dance more covered up, and I would respect their culture even if it
is different than mine.
What I do not
agree with is people who look at my tattoos and judge me harshly before ever getting
to talk with me. I would never think of looking at a person with different color
skin than I, and judge them based on the fact that they might be different than
Everyone is an individual, and there
are kind people and awful behaviors in people of all colors and cultures on this
earth. Please do not judge tattooed bellydancers, or consider us as being freaks
or lower class dancers. When you see the chosen colors on our skin, those colors
are a part of us, that will be with us the rest of our lives. There are stories
behind these tattoos, and if someone would actually sit down with one of us to
hear some of them, I am sure others might begin to understand the symbolism and
spirit of the souls of the "inked".
is a world out there beyond the mainstream where all colors can dance to beautiful
rhythms and melodies in peace. It starts in the mind." ---- Maria, Albuquerque,