!"#$%&'"()*& +",-.)).&+/#012&!"#$%&3.))4&5/#,. by Victoria Whitecotton !!!"#$%&%'()*$+
Victoria: When, and how, did you begin to combine your belly dancing with your interest in pinup? Michelle: While I was becoming acquainted with the stylization of Tribal Fusion belly dance, my performances consisted of my Mardi Love creations and electronica music. However, I did not listen to electronica music outside of my involvement in the belly dance community. As much as I adored and admired my dance inspirations, I never felt comfortable emulating their costuming and musical choices. My first performance at the Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival consisted of Tribal Fusion attire accompanied by electronica music. As I became most comfortable with my dancing, I started to experiment [by incorporating] elements of my regular wardrobe into my costuming and old jazz and rockabilly music into my choreographies. I felt the new addition to my personal stylization was an accurate reflection of my personal style and interests. It also appeared to appeal to the tattoo/hot rod audience that patronized the event. I also started incorporating the poses and facial expressions of the classic 40s and 50s pinup girls into my act. At the time I really didn’t have a name for my stylization and was just enjoying the feeling of creating within the dance. In the fall of 2007 I received an extremely generous invitation from the producer of Tribal Fest, Kajira Djoumahna, to teach at Tribal Fest 8. I named the class “Pin-up Bellydance” in my workshop description. As if the idea of teaching at the largest festival of Tribal/alternative belly dance wasn’t exhilarating enough, I was thrilled to learn that my class had sold out only one month after registration had been posted. Since then, I have been honored to teach at Tribal Fest 9, 10, and the upcoming Tribal Fest 11, as well as other festivals within the genre of Tribal and alternative belly dance. I continue to research and actively participate within the art of pinup
modeling to enhance my performances. I also continue to study belly dance on a regular basis with multiple teachers at home—as well as in out-of-town workshops and weeklong intensives. V: Who is your favorite pinup girl, and why? Who is your favorite pinup photographer or artist? M: Without a doubt, Bettie Page for my favorite pinup girl! I believe that she exhibited all of the traits of beauty, sensuality, friendliness, and innocence that embodied the essence of the classic pinup girl. My favorite pinup artist is Gil Elvgren. I enjoy the works of Earl Moran, as well, because quite a few of his works featured images of belly dancers.
Michelle Manx stands out in the Tribal belly dance community—for me anyway—because she is so unique! She followed her passion and interest in pinup girls, then blended it with her dancing. The result is Pin-up Bellydance. Read on to discover what makes the pinup sensation tick.
V: Who would make the better pinup girl: Princess Leia or Counselor Deanna Troi? M: Well, I’ve always loved Princess Leia, but can I put my vote in for Oola the Twi’lek dancer? V: About ten years ago the Pentagon forced the U.S. Air Force to remove the pinup girl art from all of their planes on the basis that it was considered sexist. What do you think about that decision? M: I believe that if a citizen volunteers to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, they should be entitled to have their choice of images on their planes (within reason, of course). However, I do believe that the solider must consider the customs of the country where they are stationed, regardless of their personal beliefs.