American Tribal Style – This Man Is Seriously Belly Good


“I simply adore the entire concept of belly dancing,” says Eshan Hilal an international sensation in the world of bellydance. The 24-year-old fashion graduate and professional belly dancer is in town for a special dance workshop where we caught up with him.

“Each style of this dance form has its own charm which is irresistible,” says the man going on to speak of the subtle intricacies of his craft.

We’ve seen a lot of Egyptian, Moroccan and Oriental belly dance on the big screen. What styles of belly dancing do you like to practice?

My belly dancing style is ‘Egyptian-based’. I’ve learnt authentic ‘Raqs Sharqi’ style and have been trained in American Tribal (ATS) bellydance style.  But I like to do a lot of fusion.

As I understand it, Tanoura is a religious dance performed exclusively by men in Egypt. Is there another belly dance style that you find is best suited to men?

I think American Tribal or ATS is a sort of bellydance style which looks absolutely stunning on men. It is all about masculine vigorous movement! It is dark, strong and powerful. It demands great strength to perform this style.

As someone who has studied fashion, what influences do you draw from for your outfits?

Fortunately, I’m a fashion graduate. And I love to design clothes, especially clothes that are unisex and aren’t bound by gender identities. I always design and wear attires that speak of my personality.

Recently, I wore a sassy look for Amazon India Fashion Week with a classic shirt, a dhoti skirt and 7 inches heels.

What kind of workout helps hone your body for belly dance?

(Chuckles) Honestly, I’m a gourmand. I eat a lot but yes, I follow an exercise routine. I practice all the basics of bellydance as a part of my daily exercise.

What is the first rule of belly dancing?

You know, unfortunately we’re extremely unlettered when it comes to bellydance! There is just one rule to perform bellydance and that is, ACCEPTANCE. Accept yourself, love yourself the way you are and dance!

Tips you would give an amateur in belly dancing?

Don’t be impatient.
Work on isolations.
Focus on more techniques than the glamour.

You have won several accolades for your art form, yet, if there is one accomplishment that means the world to you, what would that be?

Well there are a couple of achievements nationally and internationally but what really touched my heart is an incident.

When I wanted to learn this art form, I showed a video of a male belly dancer to my mother, for her approval and acceptance towards my passion. Similarly, there was this man who came up to me and thanked me for he had shown my performance to his parents to seek their approval.

The fact that I’d succeeded in touching and moving a family towards accepting bellydance is my biggest accomplishment.


# The artist is in town for workshops at Soulbeats Dance Studio in Kharadi and The Room in Shivajinagar. 


Aditi Balsaver

Aditi Balsaver

A rapacious reader and animal lover, Aditi is a traveler on weekends and a writer at night..
Aditi Balsaver