Updated: Jan 7
Shimmy, hip circles/bumps/drops/figure 8’s, undulations, twists and turns! Bellydance is good for the heart, body, mind and spirit. Bellydance as a healing movement therapy helps relieve stress and slows down/prevents certain illnesses by improving the dancer’s immune and circulatory systems. Bellydance as a healing remedy is a positive mood enhancer, generating increased levels of positive energy, physically improving mobility, muscle strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Bellydance is a moving meditation. It is grounded in the idea that movement and emotion are strongly interconnected. The breath of Bellydance is in the divine feminine.
Bellydance is borne from the energy of many generations of people, mostly women, coming together in communities of mutual support. Women uplifting one another through various stages of life, bringing children into the world and raising daughters to womanhood. The roots of this movement are in the African rhythms and rites of passage which traveled up and throughout the Continent, north, west and east all through the Diaspora and around the world - wherever women came together in support of one another. We often forget or for political reasons choose to not recognize the connection between North Africa and the rest of the Continent. However, the dances of the cultures throughout remind us of the connection. Using movement to heal, bring joy and lift spirits is Universal.
Bellydance is the energy of the Goddesses. Wherever cultures gather the feminine goddess concept exists and celebrates woman, fertility, abundance and family. It was in this energy that the dance found ways to heal and offered paths to building positive self and community images. These dances healed the dancers and those around them through rhythms created in the music, movement and breath.
Bellydance styles in western culture still at their core have these same elements. Though stylized in more popular form there has been a recent movement back to the folkloric and cultural roots of the origins of the dance. There is room for all. That is the beauty of Bellydance. Bellydance is a community dance. One where children are welcome and where men can either play instruments or even join in the dance. There is healing and joy for all.
The current Pandemic has required all of us to rethink how we come together and how we heal. We have learned to pivot and create new ways of thinking. Technology has become our tool and we have not missed a beat. Virtual Bellydance classes, performances and communities are a natural progression. We still build communities where women come together to support each other. Though we are not in the same room we are in the same energy and that transcends time and physical boundaries. Learning to support others, uplift their spirits and heal can happen anywhere and the healing is still the same!
So whether in person or online the breath and beauty of bellydance is the “why” in why I dance. It is a no judgement zone where uplifting joy and restorative provision is abundant. It is a moving meditation.