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The BBC's Chris Morris:
"Suddenly in Istanbul, male-bellydancing is all the rage"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Male belly-dancers dazzle Istanbul
Evrim struts his stuff for tourists in Istanbul
Evrim struts his stuff for tourists in Istanbul
By Chris Morris in Istanbul

Suddenly in Istanbul, male belly-dancing is all the rage.

Evrim Sultan is something of a veteran. He has been a professional dancer for nine years - and he has never had any trouble.


Preparations: His family were not too happy at first
Preparations: His family were not too happy at first

He dances at clubs across the city almost every night. His only rule - no all-male audiences.

His family were not too keen at first but once they saw him on television, and he scooped some awards, they were gradually won over.

Historical roots

Male belly-dancing does have its roots in history, when women were sometimes not allowed to perform.

"It's just a modern version of what often happened in Ottoman times when men used to dance for the Sultan," Evrim says.

"I just love to dance so I plan to retire as late as possible. Only when I need a stick to walk."



This is a form of art and once we join the EU, everything will be more open

Erol, Evrim's agent
Some conservative elements are not very happy.

One young man was recently chained to his bed for three days by his father in an attempt to put an end to his dancing career.

However, with the audience here the show went down very well.

It is all part of Istanbul's rich mix.

The world at their feet

Evrim's agent, Erol, says that there will be more male belly-dancers soon.

"This is a form of art and once we join the European Union, everything will be more open," he says.


Female dancer: Under threat?
Female belly-dancer: Under threat?
So while many people might assume that this would be women's work, the nightclubs along the Bosphorus are unrepentant.

While many people might assume that this would be women's work, the nightclubs along the Bosphorus are unrepentant.

Business is booming, and they are striking an unusual blow for sexual equality.

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21 Sep 99 | Middle East
Farewell to Egypt's Queen of Dance
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