The Belly Dance at Any Size Manifesto

Everyone has a right to move their bodies in a safe and comfortable environment regardless of their age, weight, shape, ability or activity-level. Belly dance activity should not be an exception.

We receive mixed messages about who should be a belly dancer. We are often told we have too much of a belly or not enough of one. We are told our hips are too big or too small. We are told we are not the right gender or sexual orientation. We are told to forget the idea of being a professional because of our age, size or marketability. But none of these things are true. Anyone can belly dance. It is a safe and effective form of physical activity that should improve one’s physical and mental well-being. It should never damage our bodies or self-esteem.

Regardless of its origin or history, belly dance is a popular activity, and yes, even sub-culture, today. It spans the globe with its many different styles and interpretations. And each dancer comes to it with different goals, aspirations, preconceived notions and emotional wherewithal. All of these things are valid for the dancer to have and she/he has the right to feel the way she/he does about belly dance.

Therefore, all belly dance classes, workshops and events shall be free of hostility, bullying, discrimination and diet talk. Dancers should not be shamed or bullied. Belly dance teachers have a particular responsibility to ensure the safety, both physical and emotional, of their students. Belly dance teachers who do not treat each and every student as equals should be boycotted. Students who do not feel they are being treated acceptably by their teachers or fellow students have the right to speak out about any bullying or discrimination without fear of negative consequences.

We affirm this to be the Belly Dance at Any Size Manifesto and we will work to ensure that these principles take precedence in the belly dance community.

See who has signed the manifesto here.