Reconnecting the feminine in every woman through dance, healthful living, sisterhood and walking barefoot in the grass.
Dancing is a means of connecting with oneself and the goddess. Belly dancing, Chakra dance and temple style dance easily lend themselves to connection with ones higher self, all offer the chance to allow us to move freely, to flow in rhythm with the music, as we experience a falling away of self doubt and image conciseness. These forms allow women of all sizes and ages to come together without fearing judgement on their looks or weight or even any physical impairment that might hinder them from executing the gravity defying leaps and spins we so often see on TV program where the young and beautiful compete with each other to win money and fame.
I am a belly dancer and will turn 60 this Christmas. The style I've chosen to learn is the Tribal style, earthy and grounded, where the dancers stand more solidly rooted on both the balls and heels of their feet rather than elevated on the balls for the majority of the dance. Tribal does incorporate the Cabaret method as well as utilize other dances from various cultures. When we perform our Tribal Fusion dances we draw from bits of Jazz, Salsa, Bhangra, Temple, even country line dance if it fits the choreographed number for our performance.Our costumes are bright for the Tribal style with large flowing 25 yard skirts that swirl and move with us in a cloud of gauzy cotton. Scarves and belts adorned with bells, heavy silver jewelry, or beaded patches bring an emphasis to our hips. And yes, we dance to accentuate our hips, not to hide them, Often our skirts are pulled up and tucked into the waistband creating ruffled layers at our sides, or bustled in the back, drawing the eye to our hips, to the part of our bodies that support our young as we carry our babies to term. Our hips are goddess-like, and our bellies, and our costumes allow the movement of both to be clearly seen.
Belly dance teaches women to take control back of our muscles, to undulate our bellies, bump our hips out and in in, up and down. to celebrate our womanhood. To recall the original intent of the dance in preparing young women for childbirth. The dance allows us to tap into the Wild Woman in all of us. To seek Her out. We feel our own beauty in dance and we learn to dance with other women in a trusting, non-predatory way.
In the Tribal style we learn dance moves that have a set pattern, then brings these individual sets of moves into and improvisational cohesive dance with the addition of verbal and non-verbal 'cues' that alert us when the leader is about to change the pattern she's dancing into the next one. The women performing an Improv dance never know ahead of time what the leader may choose to do as she 'feels' the song being played until she signals us for the next change of movements. There are also signals that cue us into knowing it's time to change leaders and during one dance it's possible to cycle every dancer into the front position to lead her sisters in an original and heart felt interpretation of the song. We celebrate as one the joy of the dance, each other and expressing a sisterhood not easily found in today's competitive, money-driven society.
Dance can also teach us balance, and many dancers incorporate the practice of yoga, Tai Chi or other body arts into a daily meditation or workout. Dancers can branch out into balancing swords, candles, or baskets on our heads and still perform the focused muscles movement of our torso. This adds to the feeling of accomplishment, of pride in one's achievements where you strive to bring out your best.
For me, there is a beauty in dance, a overwhelming joy. I perform before audiences, but it's not necessary in order to reach a level of oneness with the Goddess within. Remember your dance as a child, when music played and it didn't matter who was around you; you just danced, freely and without embarrassment. We only learn to be embarrassed when we allow others to make us feel that way. When someone laughed at us as a child and said we looked silly, or berated us and told us to stop dancing, to behave, or to act 'our age'. And yet dance was and still is; a vital part of certain cultures, drawing people together to each other and to their deities. Dance is an unspoken language, one that can be understood through any spoken barrier. And dance is a language we must cultivate back into our own lives.
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