Empowerment Through Belly Dance!

Quite a thought but it’s part of an ongoing discussion I have been having with other belly dancers and with women outside this particular dance form.

One woman wrote just this morning quoting something I wrote in an entry:

I think of my own practice, and I know that dancing transforms my thinking, my moods and in some very fundamental way, grounds me. It also transforms me, my body over a period of time, but my head. too. I think my head even more fundamentally.

this is the heart of it for you. You are lucky you can feel this way about something. It really is good for you, Jane.”

Sometimes I have led myself astray. I have tested the waters of different things, disciplines I was either not prepared for, was seriously lost, was a detour, or I should have stayed on the porch. There are a lot of ways I can sum up a number of recent experiences.

Recently this came home to me and I had to take considerable stock of what I was doing and where I was going.

When in “trouble” it is sometimes best to fall back on the very things that have brought us forth and have proved to be valuable in that progress.

My friends and family know that I am both a writer of erotica (mostly) and a belly dancer. Sometimes I am primarly one thing, and other times….I am the other. The trick is not to discard one for the other, because both are now integral in my being. I pull from both for life and creativity.

Actually I am more than just those two, I am a wife, mother, environmentalist, a painter, a seeker, and sometimes a royal pain in the ass.

But I want to pose some questions to my friends who are joining me in this “dance of life” which I see belly dance.

What are our aims in coming into this particular dance? I know that I have struggled with many issues over the past 5 years, but it varies for every woman. Is it ego identity as to who and what we are, or is it to ‘heal’ deep wounds brought about by a lifetime of abuse and self-abuse, do we just see it as a ‘creative’ outlet?

Do we come from a place of self-loathing? Do we feel non-sensual or lacking in our beauty? Do we give so much to others that we have nothing, or little for ourselves? Have we become disembodied where we live in our heads and our bodies are just….there?

All this above will be present if it exists and we will bring that into the dance. And that’s ok. We work those issues out within the movement.

We can work these issues out piece by piece by being ‘present and mindful’ in the movement. And the movement will transform us, slowly at first, and then, one day, you look back and you shake your head in wonder. How much you’ve grown!

And this issue of self-loathing? Over and over I hear from women who ‘hate their bellies’. I can totally relate! I went through a long stretch of hating my belly, too. Then I suddenly made ‘peace’ it it. I will never be flat bellied, but then again…

Belly dance isn’t ‘long hair’ dance, or ‘arm dance’ or ‘hidden feet’ dance….it’s BELLY dance…and for a reason.

The belly is the seat of our femininity. It’s not the hidden vagina, it’s the outward expression of our bellies, as they grow with children, shrink back with stretch marks, and we seem all to define ourselves by trying to make it disappear. We hold our stomachs in tightly until we can’t move….

Or breath!

Well, along comes Tribal Fusion and here is presented the BELLY in all it’s glory! Those stomach movements that Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, all of them, are very liberating…Snakes in the belly! Undulations that express the very essence of our femininity, our being women. As generators and cradles of life.

We are not flat assed/bellied/titted men…We are full blown women with dangerous curves and belly dance gives us a dangerous attitude, too.

Given enough time, it’s called Empowerment. A realization of our Femininity, a fulfillment of our innate Sexuality.

And we should have fun dancing….it’s not all sweat, sore muscles (but it is in the beginning…) and serious attitude.

This is a very funny video….I screamed with laughter, because that is good for life. Laughter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwK2NTt-MBc&NR=1
More later….
Teela (cause she’s in charge today)

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8 Responses to “Empowerment Through Belly Dance!”

  1. shia1 Says:

    Jane,

    I know we talked about the belly dancing. I think for me it is to feel like a woman and be in touch with my femininity. It seems that for so long I walk around like a non feeling zombie. I want to feel again! Something, anything! I think it is a beautiful dance for a woman to answer some of her personal issues about herself. Her body, her looks, her self esteem. For me, I want to find all of those things that made me a woman. I want to feel proud of myself for learning, and in touch with me.

    Thanks Jane for writing these articles, they make me think and I look forward to belly dance together someday!!!

    shia

    Like

  2. Jane Says:

    Hi shia!

    I can’t think of something that strikes at the core of us as women that is so…comprehensive. Inclusive.

    Totally restorative. And in the very best sense, restoring ourselves as women, complete in all of what our femininity really means.

    Our seductive powers as women (and I argued with a man about this very thing, being such a tight ass about this issue..me not him…) are embodied in our learning belly dance.

    It is expressive and alluring, and we change, transform even in our attempts to come to some degree of competency here.

    It doesn’t take a lot to change a mental image and then ….the physical image…that happens over time.

    I do know that my walk is very sexy now…when I embrace my femininity. It’s an issue of the roll of hips, the carriage, and sums up what I feel about myself.

    Even a mental change in attitude is the first step. Embrace yourself as a woman, because all those things that you want to express and claim about yourself are already in place.

    You just have to work to access and make things become ‘muscle memory’.

    This next few weeks…or at least this next coming week..I am going to be exploring a lot of the issues we all face as women…and try to weave them into essays on Belly Dance.

    It’s restorative to the max! At any age!

    Hugs,

    Teela the Belly Dancer…..

    Like

  3. Lilli Says:

    Belly dance or any form of dance is a bodily expression which brings closeness to ones spiritual connection to Being for we are but all a magnificent mass of energy intertwined with the Goddess of the Universe. (WOW) where did that come from? It’s what I FEEL inside when I embrace myself and go within and transform myself inside the sounds of music. Womans BELLY is the center of “life” let’s rejoice in our womanhood and accept and love our body, as it is only the shell around our beautiful souls!

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Lilli!

    One of my favorite HUNGARIAN Belly Dancers! Good to see you here!

    You got it right…that transforming energy abounding in us girls.

    And yes…our bellies are the center of ‘life’…

    I’m trying to think of something not crude in my limited Hungarian…(lofozh comes to mind…)

    so I will say, Szeretlek…and mean it!

    Hugs, Jane

    Like

  5. Sirena Says:

    So nice to see someone celebrate that word “belly”! I am a little tired of people trying to rename belly dancing by other, more “authentic” names, as if the word belly was something to be ashamed of. Let’s celebrate our centre!

    Like

  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hiya Sirena!

    So glad to hear from you!….

    Yes, I agree, we call it everything under the sun…Oriental Dance, Middle Eastern dance (as if that is the ONLY place it is done…LOL) etc.

    Yes, I further agree….our bellies are our core….and we need to make peace with our core…

    and our selves at that centre.

    So good that you made it here. More this week on Belly Dance and Empowerment….

    I hope!

    Teela

    Like

  7. Angela Cameron Says:

    Wow. So many belly dancers. I’m jealous. I (unfortunatly) live far from any belly dancing group, or I’d be taking lessons by now. Well, that and I have no waist. I’m all legs. LOL.

    I envy your beautiful dance. I do believe that it is a very open expression of femaninity and sexuality. One which the world needs as we become a more and more uni-sex environment.

    Keep calling it belly dancing. We all need you guys to.

    Here’s another dance, though a little more exotic. And it’s one that I’ll be using for writing inspiration soon.

    Angie

    Like

  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Angie!

    Thank you for that video…that’s Tribal Fusion…kind of an updated version of the classical Belly Dance.

    That’s Rachel Brice of the tattoos~ LOL!

    That, and she is very inspirational….

    A couple of us here know Tribal Fusion, and it’s a kick. I love the makeup, hairdos…and costuming.

    It’s very belly centered….thats’ “Snakes in the Belly” movement that they are doing…looking like pythons are traveling around their stomachs.

    Look: I’m not in class right now because I’m making a transition…from classical Turkish to Tribal…and I am watching videos along with others here off YouTube.

    IT’s an easy and cheap way to prepare…the muscles are all the same, we just have to discover them…especially in the belly.

    THAT is hard…and after almost 5 years…I am not that good in the belly department….in part that is why I am going to Tribal, because it’s so centered in the stomach muscles.

    Thinking here: better late than never….

    I wonder if they have stick-on tattoos?????

    Hugs!

    Teela of the sore muscles this day….

    Like

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