When in class one evening one of my students asks “But… I don’t understand. Belly dance is sexy, isn’t it? Why do we have to try so hard not to be sexy?” I began thinking about a puzzling issue, one that has shadowed our art ever since it was brought to the Western world. Where does sexy belong in belly dance? And what are we to do with it?
We live in an era where nearly everyone has a social online identity and it’s difficult to separate one’s personal from professional life. It used to be easy to step out on stage under whatever name you pleased only to leave behind the oriental fantasy at the end of the night. Now there will always be Facebook photos and YouTube videos to connect her to you; the digital world is an unmasker of secret identities. So how does a dancer identify herself in the digital age?
It’s spring, which means it’s hafla season. If you’re into performing you probably have at least one upcoming show in the next few weeks. And even if you’re not performing I bet you’ll be attending one soon. So I thought it would be a good time to review the P’s and Q’s of performance etiquette.
It all starts with music. It’s the foundation of your dance. You can have great technique and stage charisma, but if you’re not connecting to the music then you’re not connecting to the audience. The best performances are the ones that blend all elements together seamlessly- the music complements the choice of movements, the costuming, the venue, and the dancer’s expression. Here are six tips for selecting and interpreting your next musical piece:
I hear this question all the time: “So will belly dance make me lose weight?” It’s a complicated response, the answer is both yes and no. Unfortunately, I think a lot of women are drawn to the dance by the weight loss marketing schemes adopted by many popular DVDs. The message is this: Shapely women with all the right curves belly dancing… buy this and join their ranks! So how come dancing to the video twice a week hasn’t made you lose weight? No wonder so many come to the conclusion “belly dance for weight loss just doesn’t work”…