Friday, February 19, 2010

neutral "ready" position/posture for bellydance

this can more commonly be referred to as the "Tuck and Push" - a tip I gleaned from Jeela (aka Annette Mason), a lovely dancer from Arizona.

Just like a tennis player has a "ready" stance, so they can easily reach the ball in any position, also a bellydancer has a neutral ready position to easily enable their body to get back to a stance for the next move.

Here's how to do get the tuck and push working for you (from Jeela's website):

What is this Tuck & Push??

It is the balancing of the front and back of the torso creating a foundation for good posture and power in your dance. It also makes you look great in pictures!

How To:

1. Stand with feet hip distance apart, knees soft, weight centered over the arches of your feet.

2. Roll shoulders up, back and down.

3. Use your lower abdominal muscles to pull your belly button in towards your spine: this is your Tuck

4. Use your upper back muscles to draw shoulder blades together and Push rib cage straight forward out over your hips.

5. Hold. Feel your torso lengthen and your chest open.

6. Breathe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

waxing poetic

some days i just can't express in concrete thought the abstract flow of my mind, so i let a poet like e.e. cummings do it for me:

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

~ e.e. cummings

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

why we bellydance

In short, because it makes us feel beautiful!

I asked a lot of fellow shimmy sisters to chime in on why they love bellydance and here are some answers I got...

"it makes me feel fantastically beautiful and great about myself! :-)"

"I am not a dowdy female."

"it helped me discover a part of myself that was dormant!"

"it empowers women to be more self accepting and celebrates joy of femininity, as we meditate with movement." <<< super stellar answer!!

The truth is, we all need to accept ourselves and feel comfortable in our skin and bellydance helps us do just that. It's a fact that someone is more attractive when they are confident and also when they let their inner inspiration and beauty shine through (see Owning Your Sexiness).

Bellydance teaches you to isolate and control every muscle in your body and with that comes an enormous sense of empowerment and freedom. Once the muscle memory takes over and the movements begin to click for you, I promise it will be in your blood and you'll be addicted forever!

I take this further and say bellydance also promotes a spirit of sisterhood, community and perpetual youth. No matter where you go, pretty much every country in the world (and every state in the U.S.) offers bellydance classes. For women it is a great way to make friends AND get exercise while also exploring femininity and working through self-esteem issues.

Every woman struggles with self esteem issues. For me it's my mid-section and by golly that's just the area that we bare for bellydance! Talk about putting your insecurities under a microscope. I'm not gonna lie, it's a continual struggle for me to bare my belly but it's also motivation for me to work on my fitness and also work on my attitude about myself. We all have different bodies - and every movement will look different on each lady.

We need to accept our nuances and embrace them and bellydancing in essence has really taught me how to do that.

I also mentioned perpetual youth and by that I mean that this art-form really does keep you young and keeps women joined together no matter what age. I know a woman in her 70s who can go back into a full back-bend while balancing a tray of lit candles on her head....

Then there is the still youthful Helena Vlahos who in her 60's still wows audiences with the belly-roll quarter flipping trick that landed her in the Guinness Book Of World Records. Talk about still sexy and exciting!

Bellydance has also become a unique form of self expression with the forms of fusion and creative costuming that have emerged over the years. Women are abandoning more traditional middle eastern costuming and adding aspects of their own flair and personality to their style.

What is interesting is that in middle eastern cultures, bellydancers are not necessarily respected women --- but we have Americanized it and made it an empowered art form.