Belly Dancers... Their Stories, Their Experiences and Their Confessions

Record or not, Melanie White is going to keep shimmying

A determined belly dancer's attempt to shimmy into the record books on January 8 was initially reported a success by local newspapers until news reports indicated that a video recorder walked out of the project before completion, leaving the record invalid.

melanie white, belly dance, world record, australia, hipmix.net, featured artistMelanie White, from Mossy Point, New South Wales, Australia, has been a belly dancer since 1997 after finding belly dance in a newspaper ad. With a background in dance, she thought trying belly dance would be a fun change. Her first teacher, Belyssa, remains one of her biggest inspirations.

"She bubbles with an amazing confidence and spirit, her technique is beautiful and as a teacher she has great attention to detail and an objective eye," said Melanie in a recent interview with HipMix.net.

Today, she dances spontaneously, letting moments and music draw her into a dance. Her most structured dance classes involve either her and a mirror, focusing on technique, or a belly dance CD and cooking dinner, where she notes the dinner always gets dropped. Though her remote location makes finding in-person classes difficult, the motivation to keep dancing comes from her personal experiences through dance.

"Thinking back, my dance experience has been peppered with 'Ah-Ha' moments," Melanie shared. "Some include my first successful Egyptian walk; linking a hip drop to another move without wondering 'what do I do next'?; converting nervousness to excitement to complete a flawless troupe choreography in front of 10,000 people."

What occurred in the aftermath of her January 9, 2012 record-breaking attempt will hopefully serve as just that - an 'Ah-Ha' moment that inspires her to move forward.

melanie white, belly dance, world record, australia, hipmix.net, featured artistThe original record was for a 100 minute continuous shimmy. Melanie shattered that record with 180 minutes of non-stop shimmying, all with a smile on her face according to a story by the Narooma News.

The requirements to break a Guinness Book of Record's request for three judges to be present, one of which must be a professional belly dancer, two time keepers, and a continuous recording of the event.

Melanie cites her husband and the dance community as her biggest supporters, and for three hours while she shimmied in front of an audience, many of them joined her in shifts to dance encouragement. While everyone was cheering her on, it seems the video recorder quietly danced away before Melanie broke the 100 minute mark.

Ever the gracious belly dancer, in an interview with the Bay Post, Melanie simply stated, "I'm going to repeat the performance at a local event sometime soon and this time I'll make sure that the video recorder has had the same amount of preparation as me."

Considering her only drawback to the event was sore feet, a night of restless legs, and one less glass of champagne in her home, it looks as if Melanie has the stamina to break the record for a second time.

Certainly, she has the right tools: her brain. When Melanie started this attempt, she only planned to break the 100 minute mark, somewhere into her record she thought maybe she'd break two hours, and then a time keeper told her that she could go three hours. So she did.

It's the same advice she gives to all newbies in belly dance, that your mind is the biggest obstacle you have to overcome.

"Before Roger Bannister, nobody believed that a four minute mile could be run. After he did it, so could a bunch of others," said Melanie.

"Trust that with time, your body will show your mind – prove to your mind - what it can do. That those limitations were only perceived," Melanie said. "Stick with it and beat your mental barriers."

Melanie was attempting the record-breaking feat at Broulee Community Association's Art on the Path, which is a quarterly event that showcases the wares of local artisans. The event raises money to keep another group of people moving, providing a safe route from the aged care facility Banksia Village to the ocean. As a result of the event over $2,000 was raised.