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Transcription from talk on “Absolute Beginning Bellydance with Delilah”

(7 minutes)

Belly Talk: Delilah’s words of advice and inspiration to aspiring students

Bellydance is for women of all ages shapes, sizes, races and cultures!. Bellydance can help heal a women's sense of wounded self-esteem and body Image. It allows women to be more fully in touch with their own bodies, therefore allowing women to live a more natural life. Whether you are just beginning bellydance, or need a refresher course, or want to start over in your approach, this tape is a valuable teaching aid for understanding the deep foundations of the dance.

At first, the call and recognition of this ancient dance form can be overwhelming. It speaks to something intrinsic in our being. Then, we find ourselves in our first class and we may find it more difficult than we first anticipated. In this day and age of immediate gratification, we sometimes find it hard to be patient with ourselves. Relax. These are simple exercises. With daily practice and review, you are on your way.

Don’t give up! Don’t be critical of yourself! Don’t compare yourself to others. These are ways of moving and being in your body that women have not had access to for some time. The physical intelligence and freedom of the body is your birth rite. This dance is within your grasp.

There are many rudiments, styles and interpretations under the umbrella of bellydance, also known as Raks sharqi, Dance Oriental, Baledi, Dance du Ventre. Aspects of this dance come from many cultures; but the common denominator throughout time is that this is a dance wholeheartedly done by and for women! The common motivations are our life experiences and our connection with nature.

As you learn this dance I encourage you to be creative and artistic in your expression. This is not a strict cultural folk dance. This is an art form.

To be a truly authentic dancer you must always bring something or yourself to the dance. To learn the basics it is important to surround yourself with the dance. Watch your sisters in class and in performance, be supportive and be gentle with yourself and look in the mirror. Rewind your instructional video tape. It’s important to see it over and over again. In addition to weekly class, you just can’t get enough emphasis on watching the dance over and over again, especially the shimmies And then, it’s almost like through osmosis, your hips will shimmy!

The first muscle we are going to address is our mental muscle — our ATTITUDE

I teach women of all ages to bellydance and what I notice over and over again is a sense of heaviness in their physical identity. I think this is because it’s been a while since a woman has been really physically active and she may have to reacquaint herself with her energy level as well as her own body. Also, we are living in a computer age and that doesn’t help us stay in our bodies. However, it may give us more impetus to be bellydancing.

I would like to share with you a couple of stories that may illustrate what I’m trying to convey to my students.

And the first one is. . . remember back to the merry-go-rounds that were back in children’s playgrounds. You are standing next to one that is moving slowly and it’s starting to spin and you want to get on while it’s moving. You want to pick up your energy and jump on that merry-go-round. You have to anticipate the speed and there is a certain body identity that you take on. If you don’t, if you just stand there, and have a set sort of (heaviness), you are not going to be able to get on that merry-go-round. You are going to actually bump your elbow or your knee. You have to pick up your body to match that speed and that’s one thing that we’re doing when we are dancing. We are matching the speed of the music in the very same way, picking up our energy.

Another story that I would like to share is one my daughter, Laura, taught me when she was in grade school. We were in the forest and she said, “ Mom I can walk through the forest and not crackle a leaf. I put my weight in my head.” And she showed me she could walk across the forest, not crackling any leaves. What she meant is: you don’t take your weight and make your head heavy (chuckle), what you do is mentally absorb the idea of weight. And it worked. It’s incredible. You can walk across the forest very lightly.

In my ritual warmup, I’m always talking about the concept of extension, the flow of energy up and through the body. I like to think of it as like turning on a water faucet and then the energy is just flushing through my body, or the strong current of a river. It makes you feel kind of electric, and illuminated, and light. As so that’s what we are doing, even when we are doing floorwork. We are not thinking of ourselves as heavy, and glued to the ground, however, we are very much connected to the energy field of the earth.

The Foundation of my approach to bellydance is found in my various “Ritual Warm Ups” that I’ve put on this tape (as well as Volume I and a future tape) or that I have guided students through in class, workshops, Retreats (here in Hawaii) or practiced myself.

  • First, the goals in each ritual warmup are to bring yourself more fully into the present moment, the physical body, and to cultivate a greater sense of of kinetic awareness. In this way, we really learn to know our instrument.

  • Second, we want to connect ourselves to the grand web of life, inside and outside. We want to open ourselves up to active creativity and self-expression.

  • Third, we want to call on our body’s emotional, and physical intelligence. We want to open to our body’s wisdom and intuition. These are new ways of moving and new ways of expressing. We want to give a voice to every part of our body. We want to allow the various parts of our bodies to tell stories and describe, and share the wordless experiences that are common to us all.

. . . More on energy is covered in the basic alignment section of the video.

Order this production on-line on either VHS or DVD from our Instructional Videos page or call Visionary Dance, 206-632-2353.

A Companion to Absolute Beginning Bellydance with Delilah


Visionary Belly Dancing
4115 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 USA