Today I talked to a wonderful dancer in Texas and we discussed a topic that comes up quite often amongst belly dancers. It kind of sneaks up and shows itself in conversation because for most dancers it is a very important part of their persona; style.
What does it mean to have style anyways? Most women have style before they learn how to belly dance. So where does it go after we start taking classes? I’m thinking it stays in the car or decides to stay at home. I will hear so many dancers say they just don’t know what their style is and they don’t know how to get it. This is interesting to say the least because maybe we are talking about two kinds of style. So do we now have to have another style besides the one we leave at home? I’m thinking we like to make dance more complicated than it needs to be. It’s almost like our style doesn’t fit us when we dance so we have to create a new one. But I question this because “what’s wrong with the old style”?
If we define style than we have to look at how we are as women and men in everyday life. Most women have a specific way they dress and certain mannerisms that make them stand out and unique. This doesn’t go away just because we dance. As a matter of fact I believe our style is more enhanced with belly dancing because we have a new way to express ourselves. The difference here is that when we see dancers who are accomplished we see how comfortable they are performing. This enhances their style and it becomes more noticeable. So maybe as dancers we aren’t giving our style it’s due. It’s almost like an old dress that becomes old only because we want a new dress. Hahhh…….I do this all the time so I know what I’m talking about.
Style is a confidence that we have when it comes to being women and men. If we compare our style to other peoples’ style than this is when style gets left home or forgotten in the car. A long time ago I decided that no matter how far I would go in belly dancing that I would keep my sense of self, that part of me that made me look different. I kept my style all the way through 24 years of dance and I made sure that I was happy with my choices. But I know what a lot of you are thinking, that I am missing the boat and you are talking about how a person dances. No………I didn’t miss the boat, I just realized that style starts with how we feel about ourselves and usually this comes out in how we dress. When a dancer is up on stage performing and she is confident about herself and her dance than the end result is a comfortable glow that showcases her style. Style is really what you think about yourself, period.
Let’s be realistic here because we aren’t going to go and get another one of us. It would be very spooky if we could do this and I personally don’t think the world is ready for another me. So maybe style evolves as our dancing evolves. This is a good thing because we are in a world that is constantly changing. And besides that I like the fact that I can get a new dress now and than. But the difference is that no matter what I wear I know who I am and I don’t leave my style at home or in the car, I take my style with me everywhere I go.