If I had a dollar for every time I heard this!! I have written previously about body image but now realise that that is not the whole story.
So many woman approach me and tell me why they can’t belly dance – since I am not advertising at the time I can only assume it is because they secretly like the idea but really think they can’t. Today for instance I heard, ‘I can’t because I don’t have a good sense of rhythm’. Well if you don’t dance or play music where are you going to get one from?? Everyone starts somewhere and its usually not perfectly executed in time to the music! In fact there is only one person I can think of in 12 years of dancing that really did not ever get a sense of rhythm eventually – was she wasting her time? She was so upbeat and uplifting and when music was played without a beat – she became a goddess! She soared and all those dance moves that were a little jerky when she tried to hit the beat became fluid and magical. She danced her style and was magnificent.
Last week at the end of Travers Ross’s hip hop class he was telling his students to ’embrace their unco-ness’. He said ‘no one can dance like you as well as you can!’ He went on to say that it wasn’t until he found his own style (& danced like he had a carrot up his arse..his words, lol!) that he became famous and went on to do things like choreograph for So You Think You Can Dance.
This applies to Belly dance too. ‘I would dance if I was as tall and graceful as you..’ – is another style of comment I hear so often and I am shocked. I once felt this way too though. I thought I would never be a great dancer unless I looked more like my teacher. She was medium height, busty and hourglass shaped. I thought I looked like a big, gangly uncoordinated dork next to her. To start with I fell over in turns, I struggled with steps, I even cried a few times but I kept working at it and I got better. Now people think they can’t belly dance because they don’t look like me! It’s not about dancing like me, you will dance like you because that is who you are. Belly dance is a wonderful style to learn because you can be any shape or size or age and still have a great time.
So if you start to think I can’t because…. (I am not great at moving my hips, I don’t want to perform, my belly is too big or too small, my rhythm is not perfect, I’m too old, etc)… consider who are you comparing yourself to. In the beginning everyone feels a little unco and it takes time to learn and refine your moves but eventually you get to embrace your own unique way of moving and being. You won’t be too anything to dance because your style will suit you perfectly.