I started belly dancing class in early February. My reasons for doing it were pretty basic--I thought it'd be fun and sexy. What I'm learning, however, is that it's much harder than I expected--both physically and spiritually. (Yeah, I said spiritually.)
During the first class, my teacher told us that belly dancing is about feminine power--not about men, although they like to think otherwise. She said it's about telling a story of who we are as women, of connecting to a tradition that goes back for centuries and about accepting ourselves for who we are, as we are. We had to look ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge the positives, rather than negatives.
Then she gave us an assignment--come back to class with a feminine Divine mentor that models our inner beauty, motivates self-expression and inspires us in every role we play as women. She suggested we ask ourselves the following questions:
- What qualities, states of being or understandings about yourself does she reveal to you?
- What does she call forth from you?
- How does she help you understand yourself as a woman in all of your roles?
As I've listened to the other women take turns presenting their Divine mentors, I've heard qualities of compassion, empathy, determination, fierceness, love, peace and strength emphasized. It's all quite beautiful, really. We, as women, are stunning and fascinating beings.
Aha! Now I get it! The art of belly dance is more than the shimmy and snake arms--which use muscles I didn't know I had, by the way. The dance is about knowing yourself inside and out, about confidence, about expressing your inner beauty through outward expression, telling your story and accepting yourself. It's about tradition, power and grace.
This week is my turn to present a Divine mentor and highlight a feminine quality for us to focus on during class. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. My ideas are all over the place, but I'm excited at the process.
We laugh a lot in class. We're learning not to take our mistakes seriously and to accept ourselves for the outstanding women we are from the inside out.
Belly dancing is liberating. It's fun. It's sexy. It truly is an art form. And I absolutely love the sound my coin belt makes when I shimmy...makes me smile every time.