Belly Dance, Spiritual Connection, Muscle Memory and Summer Heat!

Jesus!  It’s hard to get back to it in this sultry heat.  Even air conditioning doesn’t make much difference when you are working hard and fast.

The summer is always the dead zone for classes, and my students and I (the few I have…..we aren’t talking hordes here…) have agreed to ‘can it’ for the duration of the heat.  Late September is when I go back to studio or dancing in public, and my students are welcome back then.

However, I realize that there is a deep and enduring body/mind connection for me with dancing.  And in particular, belly dancing.

I’ve been dancing for a little over 5 years now, and people would have thought that I would have lost interest by now.  At least some.  But belly dancing is something that goes deep in your body.  Five years of moving in particular ways means that muscle memory is  up and working, present even when you aren’t.

And then, there’s that spiritual connection that is intangible but we feel it.  The flesh made Spirit.

It took me a couple of minutes, putting on music and listening to ALL of it….not just the tracks I like, but the ones I don’t like.  When you dance in clubs, venues, you don’t get the privilege of choosing most of the music you like.  Sometimes, but that is  not always.  But the music goes deep (most of it) and the body on a very primitive level starts to respond.  It twitches.   The  shoulders go back and down, the shoulders start to rotate, the breasts lift, the arms come up and at least the upper torso starts to come alive.  The neck and head perk up.  Something responds at a very deep level, and you find movement and satisfaction in this beginning movement.  It floods the senses and soon you are on a different ‘plane’.

I think it’s this ‘hyperarousal trance’ thing.  After a few years of training your body to respond to movement, and particular, repeated and enforced movements…something clicks in the brain.

Something magnificent and and transcending.  Little zars running around your brain and body.

Yeah.  I have missed this fundamental part of my life for the past few months.

Just enough to make me realize what is bedrock in my life.  Today I’m going back to self-classes, to regain that power and confidence that all dancers have…at least those who recognize the inherent power of their bodies and movement.

Some good dance music a la Arabic/Turkish style:

“Beats Antique” tribal derivations.

“Wash Ya Wash” Sharif & Hassan  (takes a bit to get used to: warning: Popular Egyptian music…but of some merit for dancing, especially the middle passages of most songs.

“The Kabila Project” Eventide Productions

“Alif” Omar Faruk Tekbilek  (a personal favorite, for listening to  and also dancing…)

Part of the problem with most canned music is finding songs, tracks that are SLOW enough to really work the zones.  So much of bellydancing music is too fast.  You end up doing some weird things.  Slowing down the tempo makes for a concentrated application of movement particular to a zone that can be repeated again and again to develop muscle memory.  The second track on Wash Ya Wash is a pleasant surprise.  Slow enough, and with repeat phrasing to go decently through combined movements, or just single movements.

And the fact is — you can dance until they place coins on your eyes.

Teela/Lady Nyo

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