Dance your Divine: The Healing Power of Belly Dance

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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!
jaklina-25Five 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..”

jaklina-11Although 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.

jaklina-5Having 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.

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~Jacqueline~

Photography by Dina Divine (Turetsky)

Styling: Layerd cotton scarf, extra Long Tail shawl by Lunara Design

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About Author

Jacqueline Shimmiezz

Jacqueline Shimmiezz immersed herself in the exploration of belly dance in 2004, and fell deeply in love with its sacred and transformative power. Music and dance have always been integral to her life, igniting her with strength, healing and connection. Interests in health and wellness inspired her to pursue nutrition studies at New York University, and led her to become a Registered Dietician. Jacqueline loves to perform and teach belly dance, and hopes to inspire healing, joy and creative expression in others. She can be seen shimmying throughout NYC, and has made television appearances on “Law and Order” and “Gossip Girl.” For bookings and information please visit www.danceyourdivine.com

6 Comments

  1. Whilst I hope that this piece inspires more people to learn about this beautiful dance, it is strange to see an article about bellydance that never once mentions or references the cultures the dance comes from. It would be easy for someone to read this and come away still with no idea that this was a dance from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. The photographers and even the accessory designers are credited – so why not the source cultures?

    If we don’t acknowledge the source cultures, then we are not giving due credit to the women and men in Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and elsewhere who have created and shaped this wonderful art that we now enjoy so much.

  2. Jacqueline Shimmiezz

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Rasha. I am happy to see that my article inspires others to question and learn more about this beautiful dance. My intention was to share how belly dance has helped me heal and continues to do so. The history of this dance is very rich and is not a product of one culture, and deserves more time and attention. There is plenty of information and resources available for those interested in delving more deeply into its history and culture. My focus and intention was to share the healing aspects of the dance from my perspective. I deeply honor and respect the cultures that have influenced this dance and continue to be inspired. Thank you and many Blessings!

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  6. hello,

    Jacqueline

    do you ever do tours around the usa? Like do you ever come to the Chicago area and do belly dancing would love to see it sometime. I also found the article very interesting that you like it for healing the bellydance and also you are a registered dietitian that to me is fascinating as well.

    Also you are a very beautiful woman,

    have a good safe and healthy holidays to come for you

    Sean

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