I’ve stopped bellydancing. For now, anyway. I’m keeping this website and still following dancers who interest me in case I decide I want to be part of the bellydance community again, but for now my interests lie elsewhere.
That doesn’t mean I don’t still think about dance and guess what, I have opinions!
Since I am still (online) friends with dancers I see dance posts and I thought I’d watch a little. I gave up: not because the dancing was bad, or watching reminded me of what I’ve given up. No, I gave up because I was BORED.
The dancers were beautiful and had good technique but that was all they had. Some of them filled up every part of the music with their good technique! There was no room left for FEELING. Their dances were sterile. Superficial. Boring.
I think the value that dancers place on being beautiful and having good technique – especially when every photo and video, good and bad, will make its way online – has made them scared of feeling. People talk about the “ugly cry”, well, facial expressions are many and varied and noone looks like the Mona Lisa all the time! The bland pageant smile that is plastered on for the performance represents the merest sliver of the range of human emotions. I don’t care about beauty and so I have a wonderful collection of unflattering performance photos, but I also have an audience who FELT SOMETHING when I danced. If you are afraid that your beauty will be compromised then you will always be holding back and thus will never connect with your audience.
As an audience member this is all I ask: make me feel something. “She looks nice” – if I want to look at nice things the internet is full of kittens. Are you so in love that you have to shout it to the world? Is your heart breaking and you fear it will never mend? Be excited, be naughty, be unexpected, be crazy, be still. Breathe. Feel. Express. Make me happy. Make me cry. Make me afraid. Show me hope in the depths of despair and make me believe in love again.
Being beautiful and having good technique will take you a long way both within the bellydance community and outside it. It’s easy and safe. If that works for you then why should you care what an ex-bellydancer thinks? I’m probably just jealous after all. It couldn’t be that the overwhelming blandness of western bellydance has isolated me from an art I loved.
Come back to me when you’ve got something to dance about.