2010, Look back 70’s, 80’s, 90, 2000’s
I’m usually pretty positive but actually I do worry these days.
The state of belly dance is turning into a ghetto my friend says. She says she’s lived in ghettos and she’s seen other subcultures turn into ghettos. She says the signs are here.
My stomach tightens up. I have been in belly dance for 35 years. I am protective of it. It’s my family and I want to see it grow healthy and thrive! As belly dance has demonstrated time and again for me and thousands of other dancers it has shaped my core belief that the potential is great. If channeled correctly it can benefit women in so many ways. It can make us self reliant, strong and able to express ourselves more openly and exercise our goddess given right to creativity. I don’t see these benefits as the end result either. When women are strong and healthy these benefits radiate out into benefiting family and community. To hear her say these words is painful to me. I contemplate them as we passed the blue moon eclipse on Dec 31st 2009 and meet the new year 2010.
In a ghetto everyone is suspicious of their neighbor. Things get run down. No money for up keep. Things degenerate. Gotta have bars on all the doors and window so even if you aren’t in jail, it feels like it. People are on the dole and stop thinking for them selves. Smart people act stupid. Despair and poverty and violence against women dominate. Folks get disenfranchised. They resort to crime and gang mentality. Poverty consciousness is a viral infection. A pair of tennis shoes become status symbols and meanness and profanity becomes a way of deflection, thus self protection.
Oh my Goddess! Belly dance ? No !
Everything has it’s dark side. We dance in and out of shadow, yin and yang and it is all a part of the universe. Of course I like to dwell on the light side but one cannot ignore the dark. It gives brilliance to the light. It’s foolish not to embrace wholeness.
I think hard. I think about the past 38 years I have witnesses belly dance and how our dance (as is all art) is a product of our social and political environment. Our bodies are vessels moving through this stew. How we feel is wordlessly reflected back.
The signs. The internet chat groups are painful much of the time. Often it feels like people are lining up for their chance to through stones. They say things they would never say face to face or in public. They have no social editing alone with our key boards. They activly crave the next bruhaha! It’s fear based insecure and sometimes very dangerous. Words can murder people.
All I can say is I look forward to it’s passing.
As I was saying the art of belly dance is always shaped by the culture that surround it. Of course, all art is. This is a life dance and what you know and experience is what your dance is made of weather you know it or not. Course if you just do some one else’s choreography, then it’s not even your life, your dance is made of (think on that).
I have been in belly dance for 35 plus years. I have seen all sorts of climate changes. A talk with Audreena who has been in belly dancing a lot longer than me was enlightening. “This too will pass” she said wisely. “The strong will survive, I’ve seen it more than once come around”.
When I first began belly dance in the 70’s it was the end of the Vietnam war, we ousted a U.S. president for wrong doings. We had a sense of social justice, a climate of free love, the birth control pill which meant so much freedom to women, thus women’s lib and bra burning. I was free to choose a career and postpone a family. In contrast my Mother’s generation was all about kids, family and station wagons. In the 70’s belly dance in American got it’s foot hold big time. It grew out of this culture of freedom and hope.
In the 80’s. Bingo! We got the aids epidemic. So many famous faces in show business fell. By the late 80’s many people decided to marry and settle down. Many changed their politics and went from hippy to corporate. Fear of aids changed peoples attitudes about love and relationships. This became the generation that was afraid to kiss and exchange liquids. This played hard on the psyche of young people born and growing up. My daughter for instance. It was dark, bleak and insulating. Home video came in. People became conscientious about drinking and driving. Laws became much stricter. Folks stayed home to watched videos and did their drinking. These two factors were a big change on the live entertainment industry that was dependent on alcohol sales. Clubs didn’t have the income to pay for live music like they used to. Wages did not keep up for performers. Interestingly another thing was women’s studies departments began to get stronger. (I have a theory on this but I will save it for some other post). I remember people investing in art more. Many of my friends sold art in galleries. Drum circles and goddess imagery was everywhere. I started my family in these years and got my first home computer. In the 80’s woman heard the call of the goddess to belly dance.
By the 90’s we were visionary. Creative visualization, meditation, yoga and Buddhist teachings. The dot com age came about. The end of the cold era and the birth of the internet was growing. People set up their own camps on line. To many womens regret they found that their birthing opportunity years had passed them buy. Antidepressants were on the rise like candy and high school shooting began. We went back to war. Belly dance grew steadily. Tribal style came into being out of the insulation that was birthed in the 80’s. It felt safe to dance in groups. Skin clothed in tattoos with prickly looking piercing were were imitations of natures warning signs; beware here. Women became more openly gay and exploration was accepted in more circles. Anorexia was on the rise for men. Transgender ideas draw to the surface.
In the 2000’s we got 9/11 terrorist attacks that changed everything. Fear not freedom would be the new over riding activation of belly energy. Belly dance didn’t suffer from 9/11, it grew faster! However it grew as fusion. No longer dependent on middle eastern music. Tribal belly dance set up their own festivals and belly dance grew and divided. Our constitutional rights have been eroded. We all got cell phones. Air travel became a night mare. We are kept pretty distracted on computers around the clock with internet social networks, computer games, you tube, wiki pedia, text messaging and twitter. Old established newspapers died. Things are changing at the rate of nanoseconds. By the end of this era we vote in social change and Omaba is President but we are soon constricted by economic factors we are helpless to fix. Those responsible for huge social injustices seem to keep going . We feel helpless and that there is no justice. This is a very bad situation for women right now when compared with the 70’s. It’s hard to feel strong, self reliant and focused. We need to constantly wake each other up. When women feel scared and with out resources they get very competitive thus contests have risen in popularity, and stone throwing behavior on the internet forums. Ladies ladies ladies!
The disease of poverty consciousness is attached to money, love and beauty. Women get so many signs from popular culture. Such as: It’s money that makes you secure and gives you value. Love is finite, thus jealousy takes hold. You are only loved if beautiful, only beautiful if young, blonde buxom, skinny. . . OMG what bull shit! So many movies depict women as men’s masterbation devices. Ugh!
Today many women are desperately seeking permission from outside. From perceived higher authority. They crave credentials and discipline so they will know their own value. Sadly because they do not know their own value. Women are right to fear. The world situation and power base has not changed for women like they hoped in the 70’s. I just think we gotta stay wake and work harder to change the world and no one is saying its going to be easy. We gotta keep dancing. The hope for the world as the Dalai Lama said in Oct. 2009 is in the hands of Western women.
Please, beware of sitting on the internet all day and still believing you are a dancer. Stay clear make sure you dance every day!