I fasten my beaded belt, and feel its heaviness upon my hips. A cold chain of coins cascade from my bra; they brush my bare belly and send a quiver through my body. With a final pout of my ruby-stained lips and dusting of fairy gold, I close my eyes and take the deepest breath. It’s showtime!
I witnessed my first enchanting belly dance performance at a wedding in my late teens. My eyes glued themselves to the dancer’s earth-quaking hips; they shook at lightning speed. Her feet glided gracefully across the floor along with her beautiful, billowing veil. Her joyous expression and the light in her eyes cast a spell over me and everyone else in the room. The throbbing drums and soulful sounds penetrated my core. This foreign music pulled at my heart strings and I was forever smitten with what I now lovingly call “shimmiezz.” I felt like the patron in that famous orgasmic scene from When Harry Met Sally. Yes, I’ll definitely have what she’s having!
Five years passed before belly dance and I embarked on our life-long love affair. The stars aligned and our worlds collided with a burst of shimmer. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. My heart was broken and life had taken a tormented twist. My saddened spirit needed a boost and belly dance embraced me into her beautiful bosom. When I first stepped into the dance studio I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited to find out.
I observed my teachers in awe and was inspired by their grace and beauty. Their sensual body waves and gorgeous music transported me to worlds beyond. An ancient magic beckoned me. And the Priestess spoke to me.. “my child you are OK.. Dance your Dance.. Shine your Light.. You are Free..”
Although my body took some time to process these new movements, I somehow felt at home. My body began to comprehend a deep wisdom, awakening with each undulation. Slowly, the isolations and vibrations revived my broken spirit and I felt a sense of healing. My “shimmiezz” released my sadness and rapture replaced my despair. This dance became my religion and I prayed my heart, hips and soul out!
As I watched my belly create beautiful serpentine shapes, I became enamored with how beautiful this dance made me feel as a woman. I felt a greater appreciation for my unique physical expression as a female and I fell in love with my curves and stature. The pelvic thrusts, circles and contractions connected me to the sacredness of sexuality. I understood how this ancient, sensual dance honored the body and the cycle of life.
Having become a part of a beautiful tribe of dancers with whom I share this communal and sacred experience, I continue to dance through my joys, sorrows and fears. I feel more alive with each voluptuous breath and vibration. It is the only time I can both lose and find myself at once. My thoughts abandon me as I surrender to the bliss of movement. To silence the inner chatter and allow the somatic body its full expression is a powerful moving meditation. The creative process of belly dance allows me a safe place for self-expression and deep emotional and energetic release. Belly dance is my umbilical cord to the Divine. My spirit and body unite in harmony.
I live in deep gratitude for the strength to dance through the darkest moments.
I dance with my demons and angels and offer them room to play.
Each bead of sweat holds an intensity and energy as I dance my breath. I feel safe and alive, and at that moment life is OK. Belly dance continues to carry me through this adventurous journey we call life, as I shimmy down my yellow brick road.
“Dance, and make joyous the love around you. Dance, and your veils which hide the Light shall swirl in a heap at your feet.” ~Rumi
May you all Shine your Light and Dance your Blessings.
Photography by Dina Divine (Turetsky)
Styling: Layerd cotton scarf, extra Long Tail shawl by Lunara Design
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