The erotic art of belly dancing is enjoying a resurgance in popularity in the ancient city of Istanbul.
Male belly dancing is not new, but for the past three years demand has gone up. Everywhere I look, it’s zenne, zenne, zenne as if there’s less interest now for female belly dancers,” said 26-year-old dancer Zenne Segah.
Dressed in skirts decorated with coins and shimmering tassels, male belly dancers are back in vogue, jerking their hips and trembling their abs to hypnotic Turkish rhythms. Known as “zennes,” the performers were once a mainstay at the courts of Ottoman sultans, but they have been largely out of sight for decades. Their renewed popularity comes amid a broader revival of Ottoman-era culture that has spread to television, fashion and politics.