Seven years ago, at age 29, I discovered belly dance. I had been dancing professionally for 11 years at that time, seven of which I spent as a member of Whiplash, a professional jazz dance group. While I knew hip hop, jazz and ballroom, belly dance struck a different chord. It taught me how to embrace my femininity and maturity and it quickly turned into my passion.
Today, as a 36-year-old mother and Pilates teacher, I turn to the ancient dance to become healthy, less stressed, and more confident. Indeed, belly dance has become my overall health and wellness escape.
Awaken your mind and body
Belly dance moves may need some getting used to at first. Unlike other dances that use the limbs as movers and the torso area as a stabilizer (e.g., ballet dancers need to keep their hips square and unmoving as they internally or externally rotate their legs to create the long lines that is required of ballet), belly dance is different: the torso is expected to move, with arms framing the body and the legs and feet supporting the movement.
Belly dance also isolates the muscles. Basic moves like sliding, lifting, dropping, twisting, pushing, pulling of the ribcage and hip area while articulating the spine and arms (from the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joint) create the undulating movements. As in any endeavor, constant practice will make the joints more flexible.
For more information about belly dancing, check out our March issue.