Sunday, 22 June 2008

Belly Dance Faves

Middle Eastern dance or belly dancing is my principal hobby here in Oxford. It's a wonderful form of female bonding and expression, exercise, stress-reduction and confidence-boosting. I connect more with its female-only origins (fertility and marriage rites) than its relatively recent connotations as a public spectacle for men and I have found that people 'in the industry', both female and male, experience and perceive it as something beautiful, graceful and playful rather than bawdy or even primarily erotic.

For me, belly dance is a lovely excuse to wear sequins, coins, bindis, layered skirts, mermaidesque outfits, eclectic jewelry, feathers, flowers, veils, and gold ballet slippers. The sensuality, vibrancy, and fellowship of belly dance are especially dear to me while I spend most of my time by myself in front of a computer screen analysing things.

Just in case you're thinking about taking it up but are nervous about your lack of dance background: I was not one of those jazz-hands or tight-hair bun-with-glitter gel-and-scrunchie kids and I have rarely felt frustrated by it. You really can start at any level of ability and experience. Belly dance fits around you!

Here are two of my favourite performers at the moment who represent two very different forms of dance ('traditional'/ sensual and Tribal):


Samantha Hasthorpe

1 comment:

Alice said...

Wow! I see what you mean, they're such different styles, and both so beautiful.
Usher would have something to learn from Samantha!

Glad to see you're still belly dancing. After my one class with you way back when, I can appreciate what a wonderful and fun hobby it is...and oh my the accessories!!