The Belly Dance EducationAdd to favorites
Now that I am finally at the cusp of achieving and finalizing the last editing of my book,The Divine Unrest: My Stories, Advice and Personal Views on Belly Dance, I was thinking about the belly dance education I had over the years, and if it was the kind of learning process I expected.
Perhaps I ambled less on the general highway of dance and scuttled more on various hidden trails that lead me to conform my ideals in a way I never thought possible. I wonder if I am a traditionalist in my views with an underlying liberal attitude. Belly dance can take the naïve expectations of a beginner belly dancer and through time, change the unsullied mind with tainted experiences.
My goal here isn’t to spoil the belly dance experience for anyone, only to state that belly dance is a superb teacher and she will teach with an indifference to the outcome of the lesson. Since belly dance is life lived and learned, it is the best tutelage any student can have, even the hard knocks of life have invaluable lessons in them but that doesn’t make them any less painful.
As I have gone through this last edit, it doesn’t seem as volatile as I once thought it would be. I wanted to spill my guts for everyone to see and bring to the table my experiences, for what they were, perhaps raw but as real as I could remember. But as I have looked at them all, it is obvious that I had and still have wonderful experiences, that have outshone any of the negative memories. And even the negative memories had funny experiences to go along with all the insanity. Add in the spice of women in any art form or career choice and you have a recipe for a hot, spicy and sweet cuisine that lives up to it’s name. But sometimes with women, you get hot when you want sweet and sometimes you get spicy when you want something salty. I found that it just depends on who brings in the most embellishments along with them. Sometimes it’s important to make a recipe work with the ingredients that present themselves. I have often thought back to my cowboy days, when we would cook a cowboy goulash over the campfire. It consisted of whatever we had with us at the time and sometimes the end result was a pleasant surprise for the pallet and other times dissatisfying.
I have observed, that the one beautiful aspect about women, is they are born with an innate mystery that is as individual as the woman herself. Belly dance just brings this out, almost magnifying it to a blinding and glorious burst of brilliance. It’s not always accessible on command, so there is no telling when this mysterious brilliance will shine. But even though belly dance is able to coax this mysterious ambiance out of women, the end results can become intense and overwhelming.
“A woman can say more in a sigh than a man can say in a sermon.” Arnold Haultin
If life was smooth sailing all the time, there would be nothing to write about and as a woman, I have found that even within my own intensity, I tend to languish, to the point of losing myself in my own, self evaluation. It’s easy to blur what’s insignificant with what really matters. In the beginning, the reason for writing my book, was to find out which aspects of my career path were within, which category. In the end, I ended up taking paragraphs out and even shortened chapters because as I wrote, I slowly started to heal myself. It was almost like writing my book about my belly dance experiences, helped me take a good look at what really mattered to me and to let things go, like water under a bridge. For awhile there, because I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, I felt disassociated from something that had been a burning passion for much of my life. Belly dance entered my life at the early age of six, so I wondered how it could be that I had come to such a barren place, where I didn’t or couldn’t bare to even talk about it…this is when I knew I had to stand up to the plate and not just re-evaluate belly dance but put it in a perspective that held water within my own understanding. My foundation hadn’t crumpled, but it had cracks in various places that over time, became big gaping holes. I didn’t stop to think that my lack of motivation and care, helped to create my foundations expanding weakness.Belly dance can be the double edged sword that inspires many fantasies and fictitious novels, one side is magical and the other, is the normalcy of everyday life. This particular side can be like a death sentence for us as belly dancers, because within it’s walls we can feel imprisoned with obligations, creativity shackled with no way to create from our inspired thoughts or desires.
Belly dance is an all encompassing world of successes, failures, unwanted lessons and experiences of new heights of euphoria along with the downward spiral of despair. I really don’t think it can be any other way, otherwise women wouldn’t be so attracted to belly dance. It’s a way of living life not just to it’s fullest but gaining something that can allude us through out our lives, the chance to create from our individual artistry and to be accepted in a way that validates who we are.
So I thought I would share with all of you, one paragraph from my book because as I found out today, I have come a long way from where I started; the journey and return…back to myself.
Being in a state of awareness from an older and wiser vantage point, is the best part of being on my path now. Within our lives as dancers, we affect the connection we have with our dance form by accepting who we are as women and feeling comfortable with what we see in the mirror. This is where the duality of the two comes together and we dance from a place of freedom. It’s not about the audience or the applause; it’s about us coming in and placing ourselves where we belong, in the eternal circle of life. The, Divine Unrest sets in motion the first baby steps we take as dancers and it never leaves us until the fires of creativity burn out or the inspiration fades away to dust. I was born a dancer and I will die a dancer. As a Norman Cousins quote states quite well, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”
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Photography by the awesome and wonderful Michael L. Miller [email protected]
Ladies, please go to Mezdulene’s website www.jareeda.com and subscribe to her magazine. Let’s keep our belly dance history alive by making sure Jareeda Belly Dance magazine endures for generations to come. If you want to find out about Mezdulene’s annual dance camp or more information on the Belly Dancer USA competition, go to her website and click on the links.