"Belly dance for weight loss!" is a popular marketing approach to belly dance, but it's not the real reason most people teach or take.
At its heart, the art is about community, and Covid hurt the souls of those of us who started and continued to pursue the cultural and artistic understanding of this dance.
Most of us didn't really realize how much in-person mattered to us until we tried to move our classes online.
I can do yoga, tap, broadway--all online. In fact, I did better online with some because I didn't have to travel and I didn't have to look good (or worry that I wasn't keeping time with the tap).
Belly dance though, didn't go so well. Some people made more money going online, and online is great for those who don't have nearby classes.
For those who can, though, being together, learning together, learning the music, improvising, watching growth, feeling the moves--we craved the communal!
Even as an instructor, I struggled practicing belly dance on my own without the group incentive or with the wonder of when we could perform again.
That changed when another belly dancer asked me to perform with her at a local creperie now that our area is completely open due to vaccines (and everyone else having had Covid).
I jumped at the offer and finally spent the time practicing in the morning. Of course, I felt better in my heart, spirit, and body and had renewed creativity throughout the day. Plus, my sleep patterns were better because I went to bed earlier to wake up earlier.
Bonjour Crepe is a tiny restaurant, but the patrons were happy and loved the dance. It's run by a woman from Europe, so the clientele was an awesome mix of local and international.
My friend and I performed to respectful admiration with one small hiccup. The song order got mixed up in the transference from playlist to DJ, so the sword dance below is to the wrong music and a much longer song than I anticipated!
I had so much fun, and I'm ready to continue my journey.
If you have ever wanted to take belly dance, I encourage you to take at least one class. Even if it's not for you, the experience is delightful.