Tribute to a great dancer: YOU!

I want to honour the everyday dancer. There are so many tributes out there to stars or to heavy dancers strutting their stuff or to disabled people overcoming adversity and they are all very well deserved.  BUT I want to say – ‘You are awesome’ .

Whatever your dance experience, shape or size. You are choosing to do something healthy for yours body and soul and you deserve congratulations. You are beautiful and you are loved.

tribal students share a laugh after a belly dance performance

Sharing a laugh after a performance – Urunga 2011
Supporting each other is what it is all about.

Yesterday I found out a friend died. She wasn’t a close friend, just someone that touched my life and that of so many others.  She was a friendly creative person that spread light and happiness through so many local events as Faerie Emily. She had painted my daughters face in whimsical designs many times. Emily killed herself.

Belly dancing mother and child

With my daughter after world belly dance day 2011 – face painting by Faerie Emily

It got me thinking about how it could happen to such a beautiful, talented and giving person in a small town where we are supposed to care for each other. I started to think of my friends and was amazed when I realised there were many women I knew – gorgeous woman, caring women that had told me they were finding it tough, that they are just keeping their head above water, that are suffering from anxiety and depression.

So often we celebrate the champions, but I think it is also time we celebrate ourselves and each other – champions or not.

It is easy to fall into judging other dancers at events, thinking you know a person or their story.

face painted belly dancing kids

Friendship is part of what its all about – 2 of my gorgeous dancers at World Belly Dance Day 2012

“Well it would be easy for me too, if I looked like her” or “She has a supportive partner, that makes all the difference”, “She obviously hasn’t had children”, “I hear they have heaps of money that’s how they can afford those fancy costumes”, “ What were they thinking wearing that”, “if I had started younger, I could dance better than that”, “ the amount of training she’s had , you think she would be better” , “oh, they dance with that group” blah, blah, blah. I have over heard many such comments at performances in the last decade. Have you stopped to wonder – Is it true? Do you know for sure?

Do you know what issues that dancer has faced to get where they are today?

I remember one of my dancers seeming a bit off one day only to find out shortly after that they had been in and out of hospital all week with their child seriously ill. I performed at one event showing signs that I was miscarrying. I chose to dance because I knew that avoiding dancing would not save my baby’s life if it had already died. The bleeding stopped, all was fine and my daughter was born loving dance but they weren’t my most joyful dance performances ever. Only a few close friends knew of my dilemma during that concert.

Jemah -World Belly Dance Day 2011 – face painting by Faerie Emily

As I have gotten older the less and less I judge people. How do I really know what is going on in their life?

I am not saying you have to love every dance piece you see or every dancer, just that we could support each other and our journeys a little more. Next time you see a dancer giving it their best shot, maybe clap a bit louder, say something nice after the show, zagareet. Our dance community is diverse but most of us are not the best dancer, youngest, most flexible or whatever but we are all worthy of kindness.

I would love it if our belly dance community (actually the whole global community too for that matter) got to the point that no one wanted to kill themselves. That they knew that people loved and cared for them because people told them so often and helped when they were struggling.

Thank you for reading

RIP Faerie Emily. Lets bring joy to each other so no other bright sparks go out.

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