THUNDER BAY – Belly dancing seems to have ‘had’ its big time in the sun. Why is this? First of all why did it become such a sensation? We have been so focussed on the middle-east that we couldn’t help but be curious and intrigued with the beauty of their culture. I think that within our collective consciousness, we are aware of a beauty of belly dance in its more ancient roots form though. As well, their music is truly rich. There is a quality to it that supersedes the norm.
However, like when politics and religion get in the way of culture-it degrades as that which has been coming out of Egypt. My belly dancing teacher stayed the winter in Egypt and sought out a roots dancer and found that they were hidden away from tourists. Also if you hear the kind of music that the belly dancers are dancing to in Egypt and that we learn our choreographies to in belly dance classes, it as well is…terribly commercialized. I don’t like it-never did. It wasn’t my concept at all of belly dance music. Belly dance classes always gave me a bit of a giggle but there was fun and beauty to it for me ‘cause I made it that way as all of us girls do.
What politics and religion have agreed upon is that tourists should not view belly dancing that is sensuous. The moves should be done in an exacting way instead. The dancer should have a big smile all the time. The costumes will all be glittery and pretty-like pink. Then no one will see the middle-east as a disgusting place of sexual debauchery nor a place where women wear black, gray or white and live in poverty. Fair enough. It is nice to see good things but so that a good view is being exported-their best foot forward-they have used control…on the arts…a thing that can’t be factored into the equation….
Consequently the art of middle-eastern music and dance has been tampered with to the point where-it has been restricted from being a true art expression. More so for the women than for the men who are usually the musicians. Good middle-eastern music came to our awareness thanks to Ravi Shankar and his drumming buddies in the late sixties. He really did a lot to awaken the western consciousness of the heart and soul of middle-eastern music-thanks to the Beatles. But I also remember back in the fifties and sixties seeing a Humphrey Bogart movie shot in Morocco and other movies about adventures in the middle-east and you could see the culture at its finest then it seemed. I just remember seeing him in a smoky tent with a really earthy looking dancer and other people around.
Fortunately America has not been restricted from dancing freely and so certain dance masters who have studied belly dance have discovered the roots, the ancient, the heart and soul of belly dance. They have travelled the world and found this. They have found dance and music not as a commercial thing but as a spiritual journey which is what being a true artist does. So a growing new art form has been developing and flourishing amongst a whole new group of people who connect to a trance tribal cultural. Their expression has been called fusion amongst other names. It has connection to all cultures and times because it includes ancient sounds with techno at times. These people-a lot of them are in their twenties and early thirties, a time when people are usually the most inspired.
This group is ready to take more prominence I think. It would be so timely. It takes the slices of culture from time and place to become a whole. Only true freedom can accomplish this. This group of people is highly creative and they have gatherings around the world. These young people have just naturally put it all together. It is like a coming together of the tribes and having a big celebration of the spirit of our existence… our dance… our walk upon the earth. If we are a part of a larger collective consciousness and if we can tap into time travel through meditation then we can be connected to all that was and will be. Some of the things that we naturally know may not be from a past life, or from a spirit guide but rather from the vast pool of collective consciousness.
It is time to reconnect ourselves to more wholeness of being and recognise that we are one big collective and this does not mean that we want to be controlled by some world government but rather that we all live in peace. It is time to realize our connection to more than our walk upon the earth. This can be learned through the arts such as dance . Too much of the negative, the controlling, the manipulating, the dominating, the selfish, the greedy has made our existence smaller and sadder. We learn uncreatively so that there can be control and then we work uncreatively and then life becomes downgraded to less than human…which is where in some ways it is headed. This affects the arts the same way. By the way, we can learn to find our wild selves again through befriending animals who have not being emotionally and mentally caged like us. My cats are an example of this. Gawd I have loved them so.
Now look at this and see how it has affected belly dancing and why people are bored of it just like they get with yoga sometimes. You will see why people have gone on to the next thing…the new drug or the next baby-sitters. Belly dance is just a slice and a slice that has been doctored down at that. Look at most of the belly dancers on the net and ask yourself do they really appeal to you or is something honestly missing.
You look at the slice and you get good at it and then what. If an art is restrictive-like you can only do these moves …this way then that sense of fullness of being that you unconsciously are looking for while dancing is getting missed. That is when people go on to the next slice and on and on. It is not until one really taps into a connection to that larger part of themselves which can only be found within- which is when people really find what they are looking for.
How do you do that? It is fairly easy but it should be the skill that you are developing instead of more classes on the slices. The way is through meditation and yoga-or Tai Chi-some kind of spiritual practice…as long as it doesn’t become a ritual practice but rather something that is more deeply meaningful. Meditation opens us to all dance possibility and yoga readies the body for when that stream of consciousness flows through.
Besides there is no way that you could ever take a study class to learn all the moves done , within say ten minutes, while dancing in the light of fullness. It could be so incredibly complex that you might as well unburden yourself and just let it flow through as an experience. Besides without the spiritual experience of the interplay of divine consciousness within you-you just can’t fake it and come out making it look or feel like the real deal.
The new kind of dance will encompass many forms and meld them together in a menagerie of movement. There will be no rules because rules get left behind in a lightning speed hurry when dancing in the light of divine consciousness.
I don’t know how to say this differently. I am just describing it the best that I can from my own experience. Actually if you talk to these young people who are doing this new dance, you will find that they talk just like me. They know this stuff not from a book, not from a course but through true understanding. If it means doing the work to get there so be it because you can’t fake the real deal.
So keeners, it is not just from an accumulation of theories and repeating them to others for cash so that you can make up the money that you spent taking all the courses to find enlightenment . It is from actually living the life and putting it into action so that you can do the new dance.
My name is Elizabeth LaDouceur and I live here Thunder Bay doing workshops on Yoga dance Ecstatic Dance and a whole bunch of fun things. Check out my website: inwardjourneyhypnosis.net or call me at 768-8955 for private yoga classes.