Why I Love to Belly Dance
By Shannon Robertson
Belly dancing allows me to express my femininity. It's moves range from fluid and graceful to bumpy and provocative. I've noticed that each woman brings her own style to belly dancing. Although we are following choreographed steps, we can move our bodies in the way that the music makes each of us feel, our personalities bursting through into the dance.
The moves of belly dancing are women's moves. They were created with women's bodies; you can feel that when you do them. They make you feel sensuous. When I began dancing, some of the moves felt natural, intuitive, like my body had always known how to do them. Others were difficult at first, but with practice, many begin to feel natural or right.
Belly dancing lets me strut my stuff! This may sound vain, but the truth is, its wonderfully good for the self-esteem. It has made me really like my body again. Just watching yourself practicing moves in the mirror puts you back in tune with your body, its curves, its bulges, its long and short lines --- its natural grace. When I move and walk in everyday life now, I feel that I carry myself more proudly, more confidently. And the confidence extends beyond physical form. Perhaps because I know that I have learned a new skill, and so can meet other challenges. Perhaps also because belly dancing permits the sensual, feminine side of a woman's personality to flourish. Since society often pressures good girls to suppress that aspect of our femininity, the fact that belly dancing celebrates it gives us back confidence in ourselves. It's a thrill to perform! There's no need to if you're not comfortable doing so. But it's such an ego boost for me to get up there and perform (reasonably) well what I've worked hard to learn.
Belly dancing is a huge relief from stress. When I began belly dancing, a year and a half ago, I had just come through several stressful life events, some were still affecting my spirit. I recognized that I'd almost been overwhelmed by them and had taken some steps to learn to cope better with stress and grief. Belly dancing came near the tail end of that learning process. I began it only to try something new, a fun form of exercise, but it turned out to be one of the best stress relievers I could have chosen. Its fun you laugh a lot while learning at yourself, at first, when you can't get some of the moves, and often just at the sheer, honest seductiveness of what you are learning. I never notice that I'm getting exercise while dancing because its just so much fun learning the moves. And you DO get exercise; the combination of moving abdominal muscles and your arms and legs at the same time is definitely aerobic. You feel it when you stop in your rapid breathing and tired muscles.
I've met a lot of other friendly women who enjoy dancing, and I've had the great fun of taking classes with one of my close friends. I love to see the beautiful costumes that people have made and found and I really enjoy making and wearing belly dance costumes. I'm having fun with this other creative side to belly dancing I hadn't sewed anything on a machine since high school home ec, and now I'm on a roll! My little boy loves to come to performances and see all the glitter, and both he and my husband seem to enjoy the home shows!
Why do I belly dance? Because its good physical exercise. Because it brings more music into my life and lets me move to it. Because it makes me feel sensual, womanly, proud of my body and my abilities to learn. Because it has given me back some of my creativity through costume making. Because for a busy mother of a five year old, it gives me back a part of Me. I love belly dancing!
Thanks Satu, for teaching belly dancing in Thunder Bay! Thanks for teaching it patiently, in a way that lets us learn step-by-step, and gives us the satisfaction of putting all the moves we learn into a new dance by the end of each session. Bravo!
I thought that I could not get my hips to move like a bellydancer. I had a friend whose sister took bellydancing in town back in the early seventies and thought that it was fascinating but I just couldn’t do it. Anyhow, a few years ago, I took the opportunity to take one of Satu’s workshops. Well, I couldn’t throw my money at her fast enough. After the workshop I shouted, “Where do I sign-up.” I was so excited to get going with it. Satu danced so beautifully. I wanted to learn those dances too.
I took a course with Satu right after that. We had a great time. I took-up drumming as well. I did the best that I could and we drummed for the dancer s at a Finn Festival at the Universty on a beautiful summer day. We played at the waterfront on Canada Day and at the Dragon Boat Races. It was so much fun.
The commraderie of the girls in it is great. They are really nice ladies. We all really love bellydancing. Sometimes we do need a break from it but a break is all we do before we go back –sometimes with gusto. We are a fraternity of ladies interested in an ancient art form.
Someone asked me why I was doing it. Did I think that I was going to make money at it? Didn’t I realize how silly I looked up there at my age-50-drumming. What a most peculiar thing. Had I gone batty?
I had no idea that I was doing a wrong!
In answer to those questions lets just look at where it was coming from. Would I be all the more smarter and more normal by sitting around complaining about life and other people over a coffee or beer. Is there more fun doing that? Or maybe I could be playing darts. Or maybe I could just clean my house some more. Maybe I could take up knitting or fishing. Do people make money doing those things and is that why they take them up? Oh!! And is there an age limit as to when you can have an interest in the arts as a participant just like the other things? What makes there a cut off? Maybe that is someones cut-off but not mine whatever that is. Maybe they are basing it on some old worn-out notion about life. Don’t put an idea down until you try it yourself-find out for yourself whether it is a good idea or not. You probably have already thought to yourself that you didn’t want to get proven wrong . Then again, maybe I have just opened a door of possibility for you.. You may end up really liking it. Since you inquired, maybe it is your lucky day. Maybe you will now enter into a whole new more healthy, more fun lifestyle because of your questions. It is a lifestyle of healthy passion.
Now why do I call it healthy. It did wonders for my hips and yes I got them going quite nicely thank you very much. Also, it is quite a workout. You don’t realize how much energy that you are putting out because you are having such a great time. It gives you very good body awareness. It also makes you feel more lady-like. Women should feel their femininity but a lot of women don’t. Hey, and guys can discover their masculinity with it-cause guys dance in it too. Here is your chance.
Another question you might have is, “Where did you ever dream up the idea of going for bellydancing and drumming with passion and interest in the first place? Well, when you live a more free life style and you get to travel a bit…. You take note of things-intelligent curiosity. You see that there are people doing awesome things that you would like to do too. You see that there is a cool happening going on in the world and you want to do it too. The ladies and guys in Thunder Bay have now brought it to you so that you too can join.
We have a great time. If you are at all curious about these amazing art forms, middle-eastern drumming and bellydancing, then take it from me if you will, come and join us. Join us with a common spirit of cooperation and fun-get some great exercise, get your hips moving, and join our camaraderie.
One of the great things about bellydancing is Satu. She is a wonderful teacher. She puts so much into her classes. She does a lot of research and brings to us awareness of the traditional dress, music and dance. She also brings back the most coolest and always different stuff for sale from Egypt. She is a very good teacher. She is very kind in the way that she corrects us. She also watches us attentively. She is a true teacher in that regard. She challenges us to learn a lot. She also allows us to be individuals and to do our own interpretation. She has a great nature. She is always friendly and kind.
One thing to note if you will. She puts so much into each class that it would be nice if the ladies this year, could help her when you see that she needs it.
I think that sums up my story about it. Come and have fun so that you too will have your story. I hope to hear some very cool and fascinating stories from the other ladies.
Why I love to Belly Dance
It all started when my friend Donna enrolled in a belly dancing class with her young daughter...I was intrigued! I went to their recital and fell in love with the music, the moves and the costumes. I signed up for the very next session...that was 3 years ago and I'm still here!
I enjoy the social aspect...meeting ladies with common interests, the workout and expression in dance and the creative costume making. Belly dancing has given me the overall sence of well being and has inspired me in other creativities within myself. It is a joy to dance with Satu and the girls.
~ Lisa Kachor Dec. 24 2005
I am e-mailing you my outlook of the Belly Dancing. You said you wanted to include this in your web site.
I originally joined Belly Dancing with my girlfriend. I wasn't expecting it to be as much fun as it was. Our instructor takes the time to teach individually. She is a great motivator and makes the class fun and enjoyable. She always makes herself available to help us with any cheograph or dance movements/technique that needs improvement. Our instructor obtains workshops for us to attend to better our techniques.
I use to be extremely shy and now that I perform in the Public and get good compliments. I found that my self-confidence and self-esteem has really elevated. My Boss and co-workers also said this dancing has really benefitted me and they noticed an improvement in my deliverance of my self.
Belly Dancing is a good cardio-vascular workout. It helps to increase flexibility, no matter what your body shape is or your age. Belly Dancing improved my sense of well being and my confidence. I enjoy the times we practice, the friends I've made and the flexibility of the class. Our recitals are great experience and lots of fun.
Thank you Satu,
MARIE MACCABE June 3 2005
"I joined bellydancing because my friend was taking it and it seemed to be a lot of fun. Through bellydancing I have become more confident and more self assured. I enjoy the challenge of learning new choreography and performing it. I made some great friends. I have a lot of fun in the class and enjoy a challenge with the more difficult dances."
Donna Insley 2005