Hyderabad: After having fought years of social ridicule and being labelled as a transgender, a software engineer from Vijayawada has come a long way as he woos his audience as a belly dancer.
Sravan Kumar, who is also an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) rights activist, says though the dance form is primarily dominated by women across the world, it has the ability to promote gender equality.
Inspired by performances of famous dancer Meher Malik on YouTube, the 25-year-old joined an academy based at Madhapur, Hyderabad, where he realised that he was after all, not the only “man” who enjoyed belly dancing.
There were others too. And, during a workshop conducted by Malik in Hyderabad, he met another male belly dancer, Eshan Hilal, from Delhi.
“Belly dancing has nothing to do with vulgarity. Nor does it discriminate. It’s like any other dance form like Bharatnatyam or Kuchipudi. My parents supported me when I told them about my decision. Though there were others who mocked at my choices, I didn’t bother. My parents are now proud of me.” he says.
Sravan now performs on a regular basis and campaigns for the dance form as a gender-neutral one.
“Belly dancing can also be beneficial health-wise. In fact, many doctors advise pregnant women to practise it,” says the passionate artiste as he desperately hopes that his art would one day gain the respect that classical dance forms receive.