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The Urban Gypsies from the Glossop Victorian Fair in September.

5 Ways to Make Your Bellydance Artful

A Tribal Belly

Tribal Fusion Belly Dance is a modern Western form of belly dance which was created by fusing American Tribal Style belly dance and American Cabaret belly dance. Artists frequently incorporate elements from Popping, Hip Hop, 'Egyptian' or 'Cabaret' belly dance, as well as movement principles from traditional forms such as Flamenco, Kathak, Odissi, and other folkloric and classical dance styles. | Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, Flamenco, Kathak, Odissi, Tattoo, Stomach, Abs, Beads, Belt, Bellydance,

5 Ways to Make Your Bellydance Artful

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[Comments] Most of us who Belly Dance experience artful or entertaining performances. In one instance we are doing a gig, and in the other a performance. Can it be both? Yes of course, dancing for someone's birthday party might not be as challenging as performing in a stage production that takes many months to prepare. However, both are part of belly dance history. This dance is capable of being very intimate, and very large. Either way, if you are dancing for one person, or for a crowd of many, at an event or party, what makes it art?

Elbert Hubbard, an author in the early 1900's wrote "Art is not a thing- it is a way." Thomas Merton says "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." And Tolstoy, in his essay on art, discusses the receiver and the producer as sharing the same impression. In my early years in art school the professors used to love to ask "What is reality?" Since art dabbles is the real and the invisible, it seemed a fair although confusing question. But how does all this relate to your belly dancing show?

First, You are the art in dance. Unlike a book which is read, or a painting that is viewed, or a song played on an instrument, you are the dancer and the dance.

Here is how to make your dance ART if you but choose to do so:


1. Surrender to the muses. The dance does not belong to you, you are asked to be the vehicle of expression. Creativity comes. Receive it. The gifts you have honed are for you to share. Open your mind and heart to the experience. This is what Merton meant by finding and loosing yourself at the same time. This is the work of the artist. Be unafraid about making mistakes. See them as part of how you learn. Open to the creativity that is arising.

2. Feel the dance, and share your feelings. With practice you acquire a greater sense of feeling. This requires trusting your body and the innate knowing that it bestows. Avoid rote practice, and learn to practice until you feel good. It is like acquiring a taste for fine wine. At first it may feel strange. You are asking to do something extraordinary. You are being asked to express your deepest emotions and to share them. This takes courage.

3. Find the embodied meaning in your dance. What are you trying to say or depict? Are you being the Temptress, the Goddess of Love, Mother Earth? Whatever symbolism this particular piece or dance symbolizes to you, become it. Maybe for today you are the one who is giving a birthday blessing. Then you are not just entertaining, but giving them cause to celebrate their life, and dancing about that.

4. Remember that you are unique and universal at the same time. You are an individual having a transpersonal experience. The more you "be yourself" the more people can relate to you. That is because you are expressing truth. Only you can do your dance.

5. Find supportive creative friends who understand your artistic nature. Few of us do wonderful things alone. Your belly dance community can help support and sustain you with inspiration, technique, encouragement, and all sorts of sisterhood beauty. Stay connected to other artists who nourish your quest. You are doing that now by reading Bellydance Superstars magazine. We are connected. The next time you dance, realize that you are the art and the artist of this ancient dance. You are supported by all the women who dance now, and all those who have danced before you.


Meredith Zelman narissi

Meredith Zelman narissi, Contributor: Meredith Zelman Narissi is a mystagogue: a person who initiates others into the knowledge of sacred mysteries. She does this in her Mind body Polarity therapy practice, when teaching meditation, yoga and belly dance classes. She holds a double Masters degree in Art and Education. Having been an Art teacher, an interior designer, and a presenter, she loves dabbling in the arts. Meredith believes in the inherent healing nature of self-expression. With an extensive background in Professional... (more...)