When you hear the word “bellydance”, what comes to mind? Sparkly costumes? Glamour? Fashionable and Sexy?
Of course, with anything, there are some expectations that some students have as they begin learning this dance form when the reality is really quite different.
Expectation: This Will Be Easy!
Reality: It Takes Years to Get it Right
We all started with the idea of this dance being easy. The reality is…. it’s not that easy, at least some parts of it. For most of us, the movements in Raqs Sharqi (bellydance) are not everyday dance moves we are familiar with or have come in contact with. Westerners don’t normally move their bodies in this way.
So, when you enter a class after seeing a dancer and thinking it’ll be a cakewalk, think again! It’s really hard, just like learning any dance. Most of us don’t get it after a few classes…. hell, some of us don’t get it after years and years of dancing and studying. And, that’s OK! It’s OK to not become a superstar dancer after a month of class!
If you are thinking this way, you might want to revisit WHY you are taking the class in the first place.
Expectation: Once I’m Professional, All I Have to Do is Dance!
Reality: You Do More Than Dance….
Dancers don’t just dance. Obviously, it’s our job but we are also a bookkeeper, social media strategist, social media manager, script writer, teacher, director, videography, costume maker, costume designer, marketer, website creator and designer, blog writer, manager, and so on…. and so on….
When you decide to do this yourself, you find that the amount of hats you have to wear to run your dance business is astronomical. If you only want to dance, then you are going to have to hire someone for each of these jobs. But you better be making a ton of money to be able to pay them.
Expectation: I’ll Be Turned into a Goddess!
Reality: You are Amazing as You Are, Right Now.
As a dancer and a teacher, I never push the “bring out your inner goddess” or “release the goddess within” narrative when it comes to Raqs Sharqi. Some of us who dance never feel like a “goddess” or any other outer worldly being. This dance is all about having fun, and connecting to yourself and others. You may connect more with your feminine side. You may learn new things about your body and connect to it better. You may make new friends. You may gain confidence or build self-esteem, along with all the amazing physical benefits of dance.
But, building up the “goddess complex”, I think, sets people up for failure. We’ll start thinking “I don’t look like her…”, or “My body doesn’t look like hers” or “I can’t move like that”. The negative thoughts start coming in because we aren’t becoming that “goddess”. Maybe that’s just me. I always wanted to know that I was dancing correctly, without pain, and as a respectful and knowledgeable dancer. I never wanted to be a “goddess”.
Plus, what is a goddess? There’s so many types of goddesses- sexy, strong, feminine, masculine, soft, tough, rugged, sweet, vengeful… the list goes on.
Remember, you have always been, and will always be, amazing just as you are. And, this dance definitely allows for that self-love to grow within you.