Why Bellydance? An article by Anna Nummelin, Tribal Belly Dance Instructor
“Imagine a time when the bounce and sway of a woman’s hips was thought to be so beautiful, it was put to music…” ~ Carolena Nericcio, FatChanceBellyDance
Belly dance is women’s art. It is truly an expression of feminine joy, creativity, wisdom, and strength. Not to mention, it’s fun! The dance is derived from the inherent movement of the feminine form. In a way you could say we were born to belly dance! Yet somehow with all the bustle of modern-day demands, expectations, and unending distractions, we’ve lost touch with ourselves. Our roots, spirits, and bodies yearn to be rediscovered. Belly dance helps to breathe life back into the dormant areas through movement, shaking, dancing, and celebrating the feminine form in all her glorious shapes, sizes, ages, and seasons.
For thousands of years, belly dance has been an integral part of the daily lives of women. It is not a dance to excite or entertain men, rather it is a dance enjoyed and experienced by women gathered together with other women. Generation after generation, belly dance was shared among women in the home. While performing daily housework, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and neighbors would tell stories, sing songs, and dance. Young girls would learn about important traditions and life-passages from their mothers and grandmothers; tying scarves around each other’s hips, clapping, and dancing freely. They danced for celebration, for grieving, for birth, harvest, first menstruation, pregnancy, marriage, healing, the sun, the moon, the rain, war, death, and everything in between.
Through the ancient movements of belly dance, we tap in to thousands of years of feminine wisdom; the joy, the tears, the laughter. These experiences are ubiquitous. They transcend time, place, and culture, speaking to women in all walks of life.
So why belly dance?
1. Belly dance is a great way to get fit, tone up, and move your body. And it doesn’t involve going to a gym! Belly dance is low-impact, with movements varying from fast and aerobic to slow and sustained. It’s great exercise, and it also develops body awareness, grace, and healthy posture.
2. One word: costumes! What other type of fitness activity encourages you to wear the most sparkly, jingly, outrageous, fun, beautiful, and shiny adornments? Enough said.
3. You’ll feel more confident. Through belly dance, you’ll fall in love with your body, explore how it moves, and rediscover it in a whole new way. It’s time to redefine what beauty is according to YOU, and replace negative self-talk and comparisons with self-love and positive encouragement. Then we can finally get on with being fully vibrant, unique, beautiful expressions of women in the world!
4. The supportive welcoming environment. You’ll find the women in belly dancing class are fun, friendly, and welcoming. It’s a place you can let your guard down and let the layers fall away. The experience is about exploration, silliness, celebrating one another, stretching our boundaries, and just letting loose!
5. Community. You’ll certainly make wonderful friends dancing together week after week. As a ‘tribe’ of women, we embrace the beginner’s mind; without expectation, eager to learn, open to both mistakes and successes, and fully embracing each other on the journey.
Belly dance is a great way to take a break from the bustle of every day life, dress up (or dress down), relax, move, shake, laugh, and de-stress. It is a mind/body/spirit practice. The ancient wisdom of the dance will begin to open your awareness to your own strength, joy, and sensuality.
So what are you waiting for? The candles are burning. The drums are beating. So grab your scarf, tie it around your hips, and come join the circle!