Jamila was one of the first teachers to allow male dancers to attend her belly dance classes in the late 1960s. For Jamila, it was important to find cultural relevance for men to perform belly dance, and she felt supported to allow men in her classes when she found a male dancer amongst the images from the 1893 Chicago World’s Faire.
In Jamila’s classes, males underwent the same training as female students. The first male dancers were included as Moroccan female impersonators, which maintained a historical relevance. Later, male dancers were found in the tray dance, Ouled Nail Algerian dance, and the Turkish Karshilama.
With Suhaila’s revival of Bal Anat, inclusivity is an important part of the Salimpour School. Dancers are selected for roles based on their abilities, not their gender identify.