Many years ago when I was just starting out in belly dance, I can remember certain dancers telling me to get out of belly dance because I wasn’t any good. You have to wonder why dancers who themselves have goals and aspirations would want to diminish mine. But the reality of our dance world can be shocking to a novice and a cautious endeavor to a veteran.
Unfortunately this is our world but only a small part of it. As time went on I kept on practicing and training with dancers who I felt were exceptional. And 24 years later I’m still belly dancing and creating a path along the way that other dancers can join along if they so choose. I remember one time a reporter asked me how I would define myself as a dancer and the only thing that came to my mind was the word “lone wolf”. Ok, yes I am romantically infatuated with wolves but in my heart this felt like the best description. Since than I tell people that I am a lone wolf in this field because I am unconventional in my way of dancing. Dancing for me is a creative expression that cannot be contained in a box. How would you define the Universe if so asked? This would be hard to do because there is so much of the Universe we haven’t seen. And I believe that there is so much of dance to be discovered. So than I ask you a question, why would you want to be certified in an art form that has to do with the creative mind which is vast and full of new and boundless discoveries? Oh I’m sure there are those dancers who would say that if you are learning a cultural dance than you should learn to dance it correctly. I’m one of them and I totally agree. Ok so I’m going to play devils advocate here; with so many dance teachers out there how do you know you are learning the correct way?
Here’s my thought on this, a certification usually comes to people as a completion of something. Our dance is a life time study and there is so much to learn and discover. What does a certification do for you? Does it make you feel more accomplished? I know there are dance teachers in our field that are amazing who give certification classes but does this mean that you are certified in their type of belly dance style? Everybody has their favorite teachers so say if you have three teachers that you really like than would you need certification from all three? Does this really make you feel better about yourself?
Well, if you are my student you won’t get a certification from me instead you will get a dance coach who will make sure that you find your style of belly dance. I will make sure that you understand where your dance comes from which is inside of you. We will go over what makes you tick and what makes you passionate about your dance.
I don’t want to teach you my way of dance, I want to help you find your way in dance. And this is why I don’t agree with the certifications. But there are students out there who want and need to know that they succeeded in class and I totally understand this. I would just rather my students feel the success within themselves and for them to know that their creativity isn’t certifiable. Because there is no end to self discovery and there is no end to the opportunities that come our way once we understand that our dance represents how we live life. So for me I would rather see life performed on stage that is artwork in progress. Is any artist truly satisfied or are we always looking for the perfect dance. I haven’t found my perfect dance yet but to tell you the truth I’m having so much fun looking and creating that I don’t really care if she ever appears. The day she does appear will mean my journey is over and I’ve come to realize that the journey is what makes the goal that much more sweeter. In some ways when we are on stage we dance the journey which is life.
So I’m an out of the box kind of dancer who teaches creative expression that is limitless. And as this lone wolf carries on she knows; to each her own and live and let live.