Bringing Bellydance Back to the Community

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Tammy's HeadshotJust as we were wrapping up our day of dance, a mom and her little one joined us at the Lake Merritt pillars. The baby girl came bounding out of her stroller toward us, clapping to the beat of an Egyptian Shaabi tune still playing on the boom box. Etang and I just had to join her! The more we shimmied, the louder she giggled. We giggled and shimmied even more. I couldn’t tell you who was having more of a good time, Baby Giggles or us.

The last week of March was a blast for Your Body Raks. The women in our Monday and Wednesday classes were nailing the choreography, even improvising a bit, laughing and high-fiving all along the way. On Friday, we joined dancers all over the world in taking dance to the streets during Dance Anywhere. Then we topped it off on Saturday by helping Destiny Arts raise a few dollars during their daylong Move-a-thon, where one budding eight-year-old bellydancer, in particular, kept wowing us with her intense snake arms.

Enjoying high praise from a great audience.

And it felt good, real good. What all of these gatherings have in common is that they are essentially about building community. And that’s what Your Body Raks is all about, really. Our classes are about nurturing a community of women who support each other, creating a safe space to move our bodies and enjoy ourselves. Events like Dance Anywhere and the Move-a-thon put us in front of people who may not be familiar with bellydance or us. So we are out there with our hip scarves and hip bumps, inviting them to rethink their assumptions about “normal” body types and have some fun while they are at it.

Bellydance was, after all—and still is, in Egypt—a community dance where everyone gets to shimmy to the beat. So we’ll keep doing it. Have boom box and hip scarf, and will travel. See you at the next community mixer!

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