You may remember, we touched on some of the myths about belly dance in an earlier blog post. We’re back today to cover a few more, so lets jump right on in with…
Belly dancing is about dancing with your stomach/belly.
You’d think by the name that this was true, but when you think about all the dancers you’ve come across… is this really the case?
The name “belly dance” is a bit of a misnomer in terms of what we actually do. The term “belly dance” is a western/English name for it, but in Egypt where the dance originates it is most popularly known as Raks Sharqi, but also has other names depending on the stylisation and region you are in.
When dancing, the dancer will use many, if not all parts of their body from a headslide (where the head seems to slide left and right over the neck), to a shoulder “shimmy”, arm waves, rib cage lifts and drops, stomach flutters and undulations, circle and figure 8 patterns in all parts of the body!
My belly is too big / too small to be a belly dancer.
There is no such thing as having a belly too big or too small to be a dancer!
The only thing stopping anyone from dancing at any level from hobbyist through to professional, is you! (and maybe your doctor if they suggest that you need to be careful due to injury or other health concern).
A lot of what stops people from dancing is their own perceptions for what society, media and others will think of them. It can be really difficult to put these thoughts aside (I feel a separate blog post coming on about this), but in the end what others think of you doing something that you enjoy (or feel that you could love doing) is only stopping you from having fun.
Looking around the local dance community here, there are dancers of all shapes and sizes and I personally love dancing with every single one of them. Everyone bring their own unique style and personality to the dance floor and that’s what makes it more fun to do.
You need to be able contort yourself to do (some of) the moves.
While it may feel like it at times, this is definitely not the case!
Something to keep in mind is that all new moves using muscles that you may not have met in your body previously, will feel awkward or strange on your body. This changes with time however and before you know it, you’ll be moving and grooving and feeling great.
I can’t dance or go to a class because I have two left hips.
When I went to my first belly dance class, I didn’t have 2 left hips. I had no body parts at all. I had to learn whete they all were and which side of my body was which (in classes I still even get confused on my left and my right!).
But by coming to a belly dance class, you are committing to learning more about your body. Even if you never intend to perform. It’s a little bit of a side effect of being there and giving it a go.
As adults, we have decided that if we don’t know something, or if we can’t do it perfectly, then its not something we should do. But many of us haven’t grown up with dance, either formally or as a part of our family and culture, so it will be a new skill to learn. In some ways we need to embody a child’s spirit of adventure. They just launch into new things and give it a try.
In my classes we are always up for a laugh. You’ll find laughter is the best way to help you learn and shed those thoughts on inadequacy and have some fun.