Posts Tagged ‘Flamenco dance and musicians’

Empowerment, Trance Dance and the “Belly” in Belly Dance.

April 7, 2011

something was making me laugh....

I came across this older blog entry last night and upon reading it, I realized there were some good things in this entry that bore saying again, but with an update for Spring, 2011.

Lady Nyo

Empowerment and Transformation?

This has been a part of an ongoing discussion I have had with other belly dancers and with women outside this particular dance form.

One woman replied to an blog posting recently:

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.

Sometimes I have led myself astray. I have tested the waters of different things, disciplines I was not prepared for. I should have stayed on the porch. There are different ways to sum up these experiences.

It is always good to take stock of where you are and where you are going.

When in “trouble” sometimes it’s best to fall back on the very things you love best.

Those things have been writing, painting and belly dance. Gardening has potential, but I let the sun and rain do the major work. I just add compost.

Sometimes I am primarily one thing, and then….I am the other. The trick is not to discard one for the other, because all are now integrated into me. I pull from these things for life and creativity. This, I believe, is the usual path for creative women. Sometimes it’s a problem of the Quaker saying: “Hiding your Light under a bushel.” We are embarrassed with our hard earned riches. We shouldn’t be.

I posed some questions to friends who have taken up this “dance of life” , also called belly dance.

What are our aims in coming to this particular dance?

I know I have struggled with many issues over the past 7 years; it varies for every woman, but there are some commonalities. Is it ego identity as to who and what we are? Is it to ‘heal’ deep wounds brought about by a lifetime of abuse/ self-abuse? Do we just see it as a ‘creative’ outlet? (It probably is all the above.)

Is it from a place of self-loathing? Do we feel non-sensual or lacking in 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? (This can be a problem for writers…we can develop lard asses and dull complexions from sitting so long and writing.)

We bring EVERYTHING into the dance. We work those issues out within the movement.

We can work these things 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, we look back and we shake our heads in wonder. How much we’ve grown, how far we have traveled.

On second thought, this issue of Hyperarousal Trance (Dance) isn’t ‘being present and mindful’ in the movement. It’s quite the opposite. It’s exactly what it is named: trance….in this case through dance. But 4 or 5 years ago, I discovered it in belly dance, and a few of those older dancers out there understand what I am talking about. I got the best reinforcement and explanations from some very handsome Flamenco male musicians one night: they deeply understood what the zar trance dance was, and were glad to talk about it. It made me investigate this phenomenon for two years and out of this research came “The Zar Tales”, published in 2010. )

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’ with it. I will never be flat bellied again, but then .…

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 to define ‘it’ and ourselves by trying to make it disappear. We hold our stomachs in tightly until we can’t move….

….or breathe!

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, indeed!

(Undulations that express the very essence of our femininity, our being women. As generators and cradles of life.)

I attended a master class in Montreal a few years ago and I was glad to see that the teacher, Audra Simmons from Toronto, had a belly on her. She has 4 children and this is the natural way of things. Our bodies expand and contract with 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. We should have more laughter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwK2NTt-MBc&NR=1

More later….

Lady Nyo …who has moved beyond the name….”Teela”.


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