Hello my dear chocolate chip cookies!
If you’ve followed my blog for some time now, you’ll know that I’ve started belly dancing 2 years ago. The reason I love belly dancing is because it confronts you with yourself and your body. I’m in no way an athlete, nor do I have the perfect size. I have proportionally big shoulders, smaller hips and anything but a tight belly :p. I remember the first time that I started a belly dance class and was wearing a top revealing my stomach. While dancing, we had to look in the mirror and I remember that I was cringing each time I looked at myself. But I got over it, because there are so many different shapes and sizes in these classes, that it just didn’t matter. We are all women, trying to learn a beautiful dance style and we’re all embracing ourselves just the way we are. I’m not saying that I don’t want a tighter belly, but I now actually like looking at myself. I don’t cringe seeing the imperfections…
I think that about belly dancing, there is some misunderstanding, which I’d like to clear out…
1. You need to have belly lipids in order to dance
Yup, you read it, I’m not going to use the F-word, sorry. Many seem to think that you can’t shake your belly without having some lipid on your belly. I’d like to set that straight. Anyone, I repeat, ANYONE can do belly dance: no matter the age, body type or size of any part of the body… The dance can actually be adapted to your body type.
Take Didem Kinali, worldwide known Turkish belly dancer, has a super flat stomach. Her choreo’s are strong and feminine. Her movements are sharp and clear.
Elis Pinheiro is a Brazilian belly dancer known for her soft and elegant moves and strong hipwork with beautiful layers. She combines amazing arm movements with a lot of creative travels. She’s a huge inspiration!
Rachel Brice is one the first belly dancers that made me discover American Tribal. She’s super creative and uses a lot her upper body to dance. Her arms are quite long, which makes her snake movements the more intriguing, something that not everyone could pull off.
Tamar Bar-Gil is a beautiful lady, who brings joy and fun when doing her choreo’s. Her movements are creative and smart and really not super difficult, but well thought out. It’s a joy to watch her dance.
And yes, there are also male belly dancers. Watching Horus Mozarabe is hypnotizing and inspiring…
2. Belly dancing is only belly work
I’ve done hip hop in the past and I now also do latin dance and standard ballroom dancing. Every dance requires your whole body to move. There’s no such thing as only dancing with the belly: there’s hipwork, legwork, arm movement, shoulder, head, chest movement and of course belly work. The use of several layers with different body parts at once is called belly break. Combining these different layers is harder than you can imagine.
April Rose can do 5 layers (arms, hips, chest, knees, head) at the same time, it’s crazy!!! I barely manage 3 layers… Check out the vid below! She’s so talented!
3. The only real belly dancing is Arabic Belly dance
According to my half Lebanese BFF, the “real” belly dance is the Turkish belly dance. I prefer to say it as follows: the original belly dance may be Turkish belly dance, however it has led its own life in other countries: there is Egyptian, Indonesian, American Tribal, Baladi,… Soooo many different styles. Not acknowledging it, is like saying that only British English is the real English and that Australian and American English are not… Which style you like, I’ll leave that to up you to discover. To each his own…
Someone recently told me she thought belly dance was always the same, because it’s always the same type of music, always the same type of movement, referring to the upbeat Arabic belly dance moves. I totally disagree with that, because as I’ve explained there are still so many styles to discover and the beauty is that everyone does their own thing, whatever fits their personality and body best.
This is why I love belly dance so much. It’s so versatile. Belly dancing can brighten up a party, but can equally be mysterious and elegant. I’d like to go further and say that dancing is moving to music. And it’s up to us to hear the story in the melody. At least, that’s how it works for me.
what do you think of belly dancing? Are there things you associate with belly dancing that you’d like to talk about? Shoot ;)!
Hope you like this little read! Be sure to check the vids if you have time! The artists mentioned above are insanely talented!
Enjoy your weekend lovelies!