In a time where body positivity has become a global movement, and gender stereotypes are being broken everywhere, it is people like Aditya Tawde who are setting an example and becoming inspiration for everyone out there. Aditya’s story is a rather unique one. You know how belly dancing is only associated with slender, ravishing women? Aditya is one of those rare men who chose belly dancing as his calling, without caring about people’s opinions.
Aditya faced the difficulty of being overweight for almost all his life which did not deter him from taking that one leap of faith based on just an accident – learning belly dancing. When we look at Aditya now, he can perform some killer moves with the oomph required to belly dance. He day job is that of a financial consultant in one of the leading firms in Mumbai. However, belly dance and his fitness routine are two things he absolutely loves.
“Belly dancing is generally perceived as a woman’s dance form, but that is not true. Men perform it too. There are two way belly dancing has evolved into two different styles – one from Egypt and another from the Middle East. What I perform is a dance that has come from the Egyptian culture,” he tells us. He says that in a country like India, this dance form is considered to be gender specific and sometimes those unaware of its origin and cultural history feel it may be a vulgar dance form only performed to entice men but “that is not true at all. Women used to teach this dance form to their daughters to strengthen their wombs,” he explained.
Both Bollywood and Hollywood have been portraying a particular type of women doing this dance. “The fact remains that this is a dance form more than 5,000 years old, and has its roots from Turkey to Egypt, and Lebanon to UAE,” Aditya explains adding that Originally, the gypsies who performed this wore an Abayah-like costume for this called Galabeya. ‘Tribal Fusion’, a variation of belly dance has those typically bling-like costumes to enhance the dance movements of the artist.
Aditya’s brush with belly dance happened years ago when he was at his uncle’s place in Dubai. “We had time to just loiter around, so I ended up picking up some DVDs on belly dance. When I came back home, I began practicing,” he said. Aditya became a self-taught belly dancer, and it was a couple of years later that he enrolled for a workshop here in India to perfect his moves.
Aditya had been fat-shamed all his life for being overweight. While it had stopped bothering him, little did he know that dance form he picked up during a summer vacation would help him lose up to 10 kg weight in a month only by belly dancing, “Which is what has kept me going. The results I have had along with working out are phenomenal,” he says. So far, he has managed to lose more than 35 Kg weight only because of belly dancing.
Aditya expresses his thoughts that he has realized there was nothing about one being branded for their sexuality if they became a belly dancer. “Some of the most masculine choreographers today worldwide are belly dancers,” he said. His parents were initially not as supportive and he had to face opposition at home to pursue dancing.
Currently, Aditya has a couple of students in Germany learning from him. “One of my friend enrolled there along with her friends over there. They did not exactly like the way the lessons were being taught so now I send in videos showing techniques and do live interactive video sessions to teach them the basics like core conditioning, muscle groups etc,” he told us.