Conquering fears – what inspires me to blog.

Well it is obvious that belly dance is my main inspiration for blogging but what aspect of the dance inspires me most took some thought.

One of the main reasons I have stuck with belly dance is that I have achieved more than I ever could have imagined. Every time I reach one of my goals and do the impossible, I hunger for the thrill of the next challenge. I wonder “How great will I feel after I conquer my next fear?”.

Jade reflected in her studio mirror

The mirror is no longer my enemy.

For me, belly dance has encouraged me to face some of my biggest inner demons. I still maintain that I started out as one of the shyest dancers ever. My students do not believe me but I was a handful for my first teacher.  I couldn’t even face the studio mirrors when I first went to class, my self esteem was so low I wanted to cry when I saw my own reflection. I would run out of class whenever we had to improvise (the thought of it made want to throw up) and sneak back in when that activity was over. I flatly refused to perform for 3 whole years, even in a group piece at a student hafla!!! I am sure my teachers wondered why I even showed up at all.

Flash forward to now – I perform regularly and some of the  time I don’t even get nervous at all. I happily solo, I teach others to dance and I have my own home studio with a wall of mirrors that I can smile happily into, even when I am not wearing make up!! New situations and scenarios can still trigger off anxiety and fear – e.g. performing at the Utopian Dream International Dance festival in front of national and international dance star and choreographers from ‘So you think you can dance?’ had my heart skipping so many beats I thought I might have a heart attack! However, the more I keep dancing and facing each new challenge, the easier they are getting to conquer. I write this blog not because I am the greatest dancer in the world but because I want to help other aspiring dancers with what holds them back and be able to answer their questions from the perspective of someone that has struggled and overcome them.

If you have any questions about belly dance, stage fright, natural make-up, etc. please leave it in the comments below and I will do my best to help you on your journey. love Jade.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Busanee Dominguez
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 15:57:14

    Great photo! I love it.



    • jadebellydance
      Nov 22, 2012 @ 23:33:15

      Thank you! It’s the mirror in my studio. I spent one evening after a gig mucking around trying to capture the reflections. The pic just seemed to fit the post.


  2. Thea
    Nov 23, 2012 @ 09:03:24

    Maybe there’s hope for me, then! I have been beating myself up this week, after my performance at a big hafla last weekend. It was my fifth time performing that routine: I can rehearse it at home and be step perfect, arms, angles, the works – but put me in front of an audience and my nerves get the better of me. Funnily enough, I’m fine if I’m dancing solo, because I can improvise if I get it wrong – but when I’m in a troupe, I know how vital it is to be ‘in sync’, and I feel the weight of responsibility for not letting the other girls down.

    You’ve got me thinking that instead of seeing that as a failing, I should try to see it as a challenge – maybe that will help me overcome it!



    • jadebellydance
      Nov 23, 2012 @ 22:44:44

      It’s easy to be harsh on yourself. I do it all the time. It’s a hard habit to break.
      Something that helps me is to remember the occasion I was dancing at an outdoor event and a person in the audience lost control of a giant inflatable whale. It decided to join me on stage, at that point I just had to laugh and my dancing came so much easier. (Envisaging the audience naked has never worked for me at all). So when I get particularly nervous, I imagine a giant inflatable something hovering about and it helps me not take myself too seriously.
      Unless you are dancing with a super troupe, chances are that everyone will make some kind of small error or imperfection. I know you are an experienced dancer so I would suggest you look back at some footage and get a realistic view of how everyone else is doing. It may help you take the pressure off yourself. Dancing with a group does come with the added pressure of not wanting to let the team down but it also comes with the benefit that it is not just you the audience is looking at. Even if your arm is off slightly in one bit – it may go unnoticed, there are other people on stage to look at after all. One final tip (I am obviously feeling a bit preachy tonight!LOL), remember that the very best performances are usually the ones with great emotion. In group pieces you have watched, which dancer do you prefer – the dancer that is technically perfect but has a grimace on their face because they are so nervous or the dancer that makes a few minor errors but is having a great time, smiling and feeling the music???? I can totally relate to the former but the latter is really living. (PS for other readers – this is not the advice I would give someone that hadn’t practiced!)


    • Thea
      Dec 01, 2012 @ 21:49:33

      Thank you SO much for that comment! I’m actually feeling a little better this week because I performed at a hafla a couple of weeks ago, and made a couple of (I thought) obvious mistakes. So I was really thrilled when a photo of me was posted on the events page, the comment being that I was “in the moment”. So your point is absolutely right!


  3. Trackback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections « Jade Belly Dance

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