All bodies deserve love and acceptance. Your Body Raks encourages love and acceptance for bodies of all sizes and shapes. So many of us, of all sizes, have been impacted by body image deterioration. In Your Body Raks classes and workshops, we do not promote an “us” vs. “them” value system. The often-promoted language of “real women” is false, harmful and divisive. All of us, with all of our unique experiences, are “real women” with “real bodies”. We acknowledge the self-image struggles that women and girls of all sizes face. We do not erase anyone’s truth. Our intention is to build a community, a movement of women of all sizes embracing who they are through bellydance.
The dance movements will look different on different bodies. When we work with beginner bellydancers, it is necessary that the dancer learn to feel and experience the movements for herself. We prefer not to teach in spaces with mirrors. It is so easy to get caught up in the mirror reflection and how we look as we are practicing a new movement. As a baby dancer, when I took classes with mirrors I was taken with my image. I was mesmerized with myself. It’s a noteworthy change because for so long I avoided mirrors and my image. At that time, I could not get out of the mirror–I looked at myself and everyone else. I was inwardly critical of myself and compared myself to others. I was in my head and not in my body. I connected to what I looked like rather than to what I felt. “My shimmy does not look like your shimmy”. And I know now, that is ok–our bodies are different sizes, and we are shaped differently. There’s no way we would have the same shimmy.
Now, when I practice, the mirror is there, but I look beyond the mirror. I project and emote my own story and the story of the music. We encourage women of all shapes and sizes to join us for body love. Dance at every size!
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