Belly Dance Myths Debunked
DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING TMZ TELLS YOU!!!
Shimmy's here to set the record straight on all Belly Dancing fibs, fabrications, and fables!!! Let's get started!
1. Spelling B-Sting
I'm a belly dancer, so you'd think I'd know...but au contraire, my little ones! The most common mistake, mishap, and myth that we ALL blunder happens to be the misspellation of belly dance, belly dancer, and belly dancing!
It's like our brains are programmed to think "compound word, compound word, compound word - let's make EVERYTHING a compound word"!!! Who's to blame though? I say it's the fault of those Language Arts and English Department adages preached to us in grade school (I'm kidding!)!! But truthfully, WE are the ones who should be held accountable for this unflattering flub! :( If we can easily separate tap from dance, dancer, and dancing, then I know we are fully capable of doing the same when considering all things belly and dance (regardless if it's suffix ends in -ing, -er, or -e)!
2. The Burgeoning Belly Battle
To be quite candid with y'all, this iZZZ called B-E-L-L-Y Â D-A-N-C-I-N-G - meaning having a pudge filled with fudge and other goodies is more of a necessity than you all may think. You see, whether you're on stage shimmying or in a more intimate environment belly rolling till your heart's content, the more you perform, the more you will notice how not only your choreography and stage presence matter, but you also begin to understand the importance of your audience and how they perceive your performance.
See, the thing is, the smaller you are, the less pronounced your moves look from afar meaning that your shimmies, shakes, rattles, and rolls, ain't getting noticed, Sistah girl!! :P In other words, your loved ones and accompanying audiences are basically looking at a bedazzled board - a bedazzled board wishing on her Hamsa that she had a little less tuck in her tummy!
3. Cheese and Striptease, Please
"Sooooo it's basically stripping without taking your clothes off, right?"
"Seduce me, please..."
"Can I get a private dance?"
I can't tell y'all how much those unnecessary comments and questions are besprinkled upon us belly dancers on a daily basis. The moment we mention we are belly dancers, ignorant word vomit seems to spew from the listeners' mouths without any regard for our emotions, our love of dance, or the oppression belly dancers work tirelessly to overcome. It literally makes us cringe and loathe conversing with them any further...we even feel like ranting, yelling, and shouting our disgust from the mightiest rooftops...as a matter of fact, I feel like going off right about ...NOW...!
But seeing as time is of the essence and taking into consideration that my soapbox can only withstand so much, I will only candidly but quite explicitly address the repugnant sentiments above and completely extirpate this darn myth...
#1 Belly dancing is NOT stripping or even a softer version of such.
#2 Seducing is synonymous with luring into sexual intercourse, being tantalizing, and even corrupting. However, belly dancingÂ is synonymous with portraying creativity through rhythmic art, being mythical, and most importantly - dispelling the demeaning and over-sexualized ideals society has placed on women.
#3 No. Just No. (cue Meghan Trainor)
From strengthening your core alllll the way to chiseling your arms, this dance does it all! Unfortunately, most only think this dance and prance is a simpler or less rigorous form of Zumba, but even our presidential candidate, Bernie, knows there's SO. MUCH. MORE. TO. IT. :) In fact, to date, there hasn't been a practice where I didn't leave oozing pools of glitter and sequins of sweat! And don't accidentally have us shimmying to some Habibi in a studio where its windows are sealed shut...it's like RANK city! jk...belly dancers don't stink! ;)
But seriously, if you'd like to sculpt, tone, or just plain 'let loose,' then consider belly dancing. This interpretive art is jam-packed with everything you need to ultimately transform your body!
Seeing that belly dancing has literally been around for centuries, with its origins in the Middle East, its styles, traditions, and even garb have evolved drastically! In the olden days, dancing to atypical 7/8 and 9/8 rhythmic beats, performing at religious and matrimonial services, and wearing those 'I Dream of Jeanie' pantaloons were the ISH! Now, however, we sport the most bedazzled bras and skirts as we rock our hips, wave, then sit to the sounds of Alternative Rock, Rap, and Indie at LGBT, Black History Month, and various charitable events. When you really think about it, it's honestly uber neat how belly dancing has not only outlived many other forms of dance, but has also attuned itself to the changing times as its performed around the world.
Thankfully, since my belly dance Shimmy Sistahs and I are all so very different in our own fantastic ways, incorporating these many styles (old & new) into our routines is pretty much child's play (not the Chuckie kind though!) ! ;)
Comparatively, a few of us are more inclined to the tribal styles of belly dancing which means we enjoy the slower and more melodic movements using mixes of Alternative Rock, Afro-Beat, or Electronic sound infusions. Our garb consists of sometimes colorful costumes but along the darker side of the pixel wheel with accompanying adornments of flowers, chains, and you guessed it - COINS! :D
For the rest of my troupe, we have a tendency to enjoy being bright and colorful; therefore, we rock skirts, sequins, glitter and LOADS of golden glimmer! Contrary to our tribal counterparts, our dances are more whimsical and upbeat with Latin, Hip Hop, and Pop influences.
As far as other troupes are concerned, it honestly varies. We have some who enjoy rocking colorful yet full-embodiment costumes as they shimmy to the more traditional sounds of belly dancing mixed with a-cappella drumming beats while we have others that fancy a more antiquated style of belly dance characterized by all black attire with a more enigmatic and cryptic appeal!
There's basically something for EVERYONE! :D
As y'all can tell, belly dancing and its plethora of wonders are more than near and dear to my beating heart, so it was only a matter of time before I began not only debunking myths, but also educating ya'll on the subject as well! Did you all enjoy?!? I surely do hope so! :)
Before you leave though, be sure to join the convo by debunking any myths about your beloved craft, hobby, or art by commenting below!
Remember to Live Life, Beautifully ♥