belly danceIt takes a Braveheart to allow oneself to be vulnerable. As uncomfortable as it may be, vulnerability helps us grow and deepens our connection to self.

I’m currently practicing vulnerability with my body — and my femininity — through a new dance form: belly dancing. Many years ago, I lived in the Middle East, and in that culture men and women did not mingle unless they were married or were immediate family members. So it was very common for women to gather in groups for fun and entertainment. One of the ways we entertained ourselves was dancing. The dance of choice? Belly dancing!

I have loved dancing all my life and have been in and out of training, across various styles of dance since I was in high school. I can salsa, mambo, merengue, bachata, hustle, west and east coast swing, waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, rumba, cha-cha, samba, Viennese, and tango (Argentine, International, or American, thank you very much). While I’m sure I’ve left something out here, I think you get the message. I like to dance.

And while I loved watching the beautiful belly dancers, I was not ready to move my body in that way. It was seductive and erotic and sexy in an incredibly feminine way. Who was I to allow myself to be that kind of woman?

It has taken me 50+ years to figure it out, but guess what? I am that seductive and beautiful woman — whether I feel fully empowered to claim that part of myself or not. This means I’m naturally feminine and erotic in the way only a woman can be. 

This feels vulnerable. And that’s okay.

In belly dancing, your body is the instrument that accents the music through isolated hip and torso movements. Every woman’s instrument is unique and perfect. In belly dancing, I allow my mid-drift to be what it is, without judgment. My soft flesh jiggles with joy during a shimmy and the scars from my latest surgery do not detract from the flow of movement. I accept myself completely and trust the music (and my instructor) to guide me.

Let me just put it out there — belly dancing is addictive. I took one class, and I’m hooked. 

Are you interested in giving your divine feminine a little release with some belly dancing? My instructor, Karen Barbee with Karavan Studio, teaches from her San Antonio studio and online! You can sign up to learn this dance without ever leaving your home. Karen has a lot of videos on her website and Youtube channel that you can watch to get a better idea of what you’ll be learning. If you do, watch closely, in future videos you might see me in one of her beginner classes. I’ll be in the back moving my hips and torso until my feminine self is all shimmied out.

Want to see more? Because I absolutely adore Ellen, you’ve got to see the clip where she belly dances!

Worried about the size of your belly? Don’t! As this lovely lady shows, belly dancing is for any belly!

Here’s my personal favorite — tribal belly dance meets dubstep!

Go on Braveheart! You know you WANT to!!!

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