Don't Kick Ms. Perfect Out of Belly Dance Class Yet
By DC Sargent
Why is she in our bellydancing class? Ms. Perfect.
We've all seen her: she has slim hips, tone thighs, and firm abs. She never gets winded in class. She remembers all the choreographed steps, has all the right curves, and knows how to manhandle pop-locks. Show-off!
She shimmies to the beat, doesn't get tangled in her veil, and never drops her zills. Disgusting, right? Even her snake-arms look boneless. She's perfect, perfect, perfect. Are you ready to throw up, too? So why is she in our class?
Who is Ms. Perfect? Well, let's retract our claws, unflatten our ears, and go find out.
To figure out why she's here, we have to take a step back and look at the history of Oriental dance. To put it simply, the art we now know as belly dancing was born many years ago in the Middle East by women, for women. Many of the lifts, tucks, slides and shakes were originally designed to develop and strengthen the muscles in a woman's body in preparation for childbirth.
However, the benefits of the art went on and on and on, extending far beyond its original intent. By exercising, a woman stayed healthy. By toning muscles, she stayed strong. By dancing, she shared beauty, history, and musical expression with her audience and demonstrated an inner peace others yearned to possess.
These benefits continue today and they begin in class. What we learn in class comes together to form an understanding of the art. Eventually, the dancer evolves into a teacher who looks out at the younger women striving to create the beauty they see in her. It has nothing to do with who's the skinniest woman in class. It's about womanhood.
Here's The Deal: The more mature the belly dancer is the more ideal she's become to guide us. We're looking to the one with the knowledge to hone our skills. Does this qualified woman have dimples on her thighs? You bet she does! So why are we picking on Ms. Perfect?
Size, shape, height, color of skin, length of hair, weight: none of that matters. That's the magic of belly dance. Whatever style of human body we possess, the dance looks beautiful on us. Why? Because we're women. Still have flaws? Of course we do! That's what the costumes are for.
If we personally have areas to work on, it's because we're not perfect. Tha's why we're in class, right? Well, that's why she's in class. We're the ones who gave her the label "perfect" not her. Just like us, she's trying to stay healthy and, yes, she has to work at it constantly.
So who is this woman? This is the same sister who needed our encouragement to lose the weight, our motivation when she hit rock bottom, our strength to conquer the depression after that horrible life-changing tragedy.
She's one of us, and she's here to experience the same magic we're after. The magic is in the belly dance: the art, the history, the beauty, and the sisters. That's why she's here.
(Our belly dancing brothers have not been forgotten here; however, it must be pointed out that the men's origins originated for reasons other than childbirth.)
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about the author, DC Sargent