Sometimes it’s really important to look back at our beginning years of dance so we can retain that naïveté that pushed us in the direction of the inquisitive enthusiast. There was no blemish on my dance persona so I moved from a purist perspective that in retrospect wasn’t very realistic because I was looking at dance from an inexperienced point of view. As the years have progressed I found that with my ambitious goals and dreams that I have definitely paid a price for my way of dancing that is epitomized by the Divine Unrest.
An underlying question that enters my mind and stays there is probably one that has been around since the beginning of dance. Does experience in this dance form come at a cost and if so why do we have to pay an unknown toll? Are there trolls waiting to ambush us at the slightest hint of a supposed blunder? Since I know nobody wants to be thought of as a troll I wonder at times why some dancer’s in our field focus on the lack of achievement rather then applaud the effort of a dancer. Maybe its human nature or maybe it’s a sign of the computer age that has created the troll mentality. Anyone can hide behind a computer and spew out negativity but in the end it not only says a lot about their lack of character but their lack of self worth. Being an entertainer takes more back bone then the regular job but in some ways it intensifies our inhibitions, fears and phobias. The more a dancer invests in her dancing, the greater the chances she has at achieving her goals. But put together an insecure dancer hiding behind technology and you have a nemesis bent on opposing any dancer’s accomplishments. To put it bluntly to be the target of negativity sucks!
There is no greater waste of time in any dancer’s busy schedule then having the need to defend her right to create and choreograph dance. Every dancer who is inspired by the divine knows that to be in direct contact with such inspiration is the root desire and purpose of their artistry. This is a main reason why I feel so many women love belly dance because the end results of their efforts are showcased in a way that frames and enhances all the senses.
Ultimately our communities are bustling with the excitement of creating masterpieces that visually affect the audiences with awe and delight. On the opposite side of this, statistics show that we as women already have a slight dissatisfaction that burns inside of us based on outside influences from an early age. Maybe this is another piece to the puzzle to consider when dealing with negative Nellie’s.
The old adage of, “I dance for myself so what others say doesn’t matter,” is a given for most dancers. Some might be thinking that opinions can be mistaken for gossip but usually opinions are an end result of our observations of what we like or don’t like without an undermining agenda.
With the YouTube generation there are so many videos out and with online instruction available at the drop of a finger, pretty much dancers can find anything they want on the internet. This can create a two headed monster because it can dehumanize viewers and turn them into the Ms. Hyde personas of their belly dance image. I’ll be frank here, I’m talking about dancers who have been dancing awhile and become the self imposed critics of our dance. Chat rooms are notorious for this and I often wonder who these women are because no one usually knows who they are that is until they become the target of their pessimism.
It’s obvious the pop culture of today wants to be informed, directed and encouraged but the tactlessness of some in this group can affect their need to devalue the very thing in which they themselves want to be accepted in. The universe is constantly listening to what we say and there is a lesson to learn in every word that is spoken. The lesson itself is usually based on the power of a person’s intention of their words. So I wonder how people who degrade and diminish other’s creativity can then think that they are immune to their own impertinent words. Words will always come back to haunt us and usually in ways that will get the message across candidly with no misunderstanding.
Since so many of us are belly dancers for life, I think we need to figure out how to be our own unique representation of our dance without comparing, demeaning or insulting anybody else’s expression. The Divine Unrest comes from searching for our own testament that keeps us traveling onward ceaselessly looking for our inspiration. We hear, speak and move according to how we discover life and live it. So the motto, “live and let live,” means more to us as a dance community. It means we are tolerant of each others self expression and as we pass on the torch of humility and compassion, we inadvertently strengthen our communities foundation as a whole.