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Monday, September 28, 2009

the many lessons of belly dance

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard, "I hate my body" from a woman.
Let's face it, unless we're genetically blessed, we all basically hate our bodies. Girls in our society are taught at a very young age about the "American Ideal" of beauty through their peers, advertisements, shows & movies, videos, etc. And while men face similar struggles, I feel that women are always judged more harshly than men by their physical appearance.

One thing that woman struggle with in bellydance is the whole process of becoming comfortable in their skin... accepting their bellies and their curves as part of what makes them beautiful and accepting our individual nuances. It's hard to see an incredible bellydancer, knowing that those movements will look totally different on our bodies - and that's just because every body is different.

My bellydance classes start Saturday Oct. 3rd at Studio 21 (yippee!!) and I am going to (in addition to focus on technique, fun and education) also have a brief quote of the day regarding female empowerment and studying how bellydance can teach us many things about ourselves.

I found this article that is a personal narrative on issues that surface while mastering bellydance.
she mentions:
1. Freeing my Pelvis and Spine
2. Shame and Negative Body Image
3. Intimacy and Opening my Heart
4. Sexuality and Empowerment
5. Anger and Judgment

One thing I want to try to emphasize is that bellydance is NOT about being a sexpot. Ava Fleming said to me once, "bellydance is sexy by accident" - you don't need to sex it up.

I don't want women to take bellydance to be sexy for their men... I want women to truly understand how mastering every muscle in their bodies gives freedom and a feeling of empowerment like NONE other.

(And incidentally you will just become sexier by accident :)

I also want to try to foster a spirit of COMMUNITY NOT competition among women. Women tend to get very competitive with one another and I don't believe that has any place in the world of bellydance. I see this art-form as a sisterhood; and as such, we should help each other along our journeys instead of tearing each other down.

Anyhow, I will probably be blogging more often on this subject as I prepare my lesson plans for dance class.

Why do I have the sudden urge to yell "Ya Ya!" ? :)


  1. I like the idea to incorporate empowerment into your classes. I find every time I am away from bellydance too long, my old insecurities come creeping back. Being active in the dance community really does do wonders for the body and mind!

  2. I liked how Ava would have us do "scream therapy"... I may give that a try at some point too :P

  3. I am truly envious... I wish I could live there so I could take your class. I've always wanted to take it but am incredibly shy about how I look, but I think with your class I would feel comfortable.

  4. I think you should take a weekend trip here sometime! Getaway with your hubbie? Then you could take a one hr class w/me on a Saturday :) I think bellydance would benefit you a lot. It really helps women work through body issues.