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 replied to an entry blog 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 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 discovery of self. My friends and family know that I am both a writer of erotica and a belly dancer. I just published my first book, A Seasoning of Lust, available at
Sometimes I am primarily one thing, and then….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, 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 as 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, or 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 and we will bring that into the dance. And that’s ok. 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!
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, 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….
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.
(I attended a 4 hour workshop in Montreal in late January. 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. Laughter.
Lady Nyo who is also Teela when she dances
A poem that speaks to belly dance. Will be in Volume II of “A Seasoning of Lust” out this June.
Waves on a dark but sparkling sea
They cluster together
And with the sounds of the first drums
Sail into position
Striking a pose.
Stretching out in formation
Gentle waves of skirts flaring
Breasts lifting in sweet provocative gestures
Hands arched in arabesques
Like leaping dolphins.
The coins on their bras
Catch the lights and sparkle
Like Sun lighting the whitecaps.
Like a nautilus shell
Eternal in movements
From long fingertips.
Now the Sea roils
With stomping feet
They mark the tempo
Increase it with breakers
Crashing over their gleaming heads
To fall together in
The Sea finally
Calm and restored.