Belly Dance is one of the most celebratory dances of the female form. It is an art that is available to women of all ages, backgrounds, shapes and sizes where we can learn to love and appreciate our bodies while gaining strength and control through dance movement. Science has told us time and time again that dance is therapeutic. It helps build our confidence, self-esteem and enhances our overall well-being.
Why then will a dancer still get the blues?
I consider myself somewhat of an extremist. Meaning when I do things, I do them full out. Whether it’s a performance or I’m teaching a class or what have you, I typically put out 110% of what I have physically, emotionally and mentally. It is something I am proud of, this ability to give so much passion and energy into what I do. There is a high that comes with performing and sharing art on a platform, a certain euphoria arises from releasing that creation into open space for others to see, interpret, feel, etc. I have found that with every such high, there is a low that is soon to follow. The accompanying adrenaline crash and burn.
Whatever the cause for the dancer blues, there are remedies tried and tested to help push those dark clouds away. Obviously the first thing a dancer should consider is introspection. Strip away the layers of who or what you think you need to be outwardly or how you think others may need to see you as and spend time with yourself. Nurture your well-being and reflect on what is really important to you.
Another idea a dancer with the blues can consider is to step out of your comfort zone and take a class in something out of your element. Maybe it’s another dance class. I love jazz, hip hop , flamenco and classical Indian dance. I seek them out when I am entering a period of dancer darkness because they challenge me and help me strive to be creative and expressive in an unfamiliar way. One could also nurture hidden talents or longings like painting, rock climbing, underwater basket weaving – whatever it is that to take you into a new and unchartered territory.
Sometimes what a dancer in the dark really needs is to be with loved ones. As an American dancer living abroad, I don’t always realize that I’m homesick until I go home. It’s important to spend time with people who love and appreciate you for you, apart from the glory of the stage, lights and glitter.
We must always be kind to ourselves as dancers and not get caught up in the game of who is more famous, beautiful or beloved than whom, which is easier said than done in the dance world. We all want to be great and appreciated for our efforts and for the love and passion that goes into our work. Let’s not forget to nurture the spirit along the way, because the body is only the vehicle we use for our expression. The true power of our art must come from within and that essence of our being needs to be nurtured so that you can continue to offer your art and inspire throughout your lifetime. Embrace the darkness the comes as an opportunity for growth and expansion and you will find that even in the depth of the night, a light shines from within.