I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to perform in a concert after learning belly dance for only 6 months. It was petrifying and exciting and I worked very hard at the parts I was in so that I could feel proud of myself. I still have a video of the concert, and although some of it is quite cringe-worthy, I still feel a great sense of pride (plus it is a great record of some choreographies I was taught).
Since then, I’ve been bitten by the performance bug! I perform Raqs Sharqi whenever I can and love seeing how the crowd gets into it. I especially love it when they clap along in time.
I have had people ask “how do you deal with the sleazes?”. Occasionally I have had an uncomfortable feeling and notice that it is not a cheerful gleam in the eye but a sleazy one instead. I don’t see belly dancing as sexy, I see it as celebrating how the body can move in amazing ways and the joy which comes up from the soles of your feet and pours out of every part, so it always surprises me when somebody sees it as a sexual dance. How do I deal with it? Easy, I smile straight at them and pull a bit of a face in time with the music in appropriate parts, such as at a strong percussive beat I will lift a hip and an eyebrow at the same time. Very soon, they are smiling too hard and their whole attitude changes.
I love sharing my love of belly dance with others, and consider it a very special privilege to do so. I love the feeling of being connected to the earth, feeling the rhythm go right through my body. I do set choreographies as well, but I love improvisation where I have to let the music take over my body and just go with it. My thoughts and worries melt away, I feel powerful, in control, beautiful and all woman!