Last Thursday morning, while Tammy and I were out and about on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley, we met a woman around our age. We gave her a postcard about our classes and invited her to join us. She studied the card, looked at us and looked back at the card again. She paused, smiled widely and exclaimed, “Oh, I’m too awkward to bellydance!” The feeling she expressed was familiar to us. We encouraged the woman. Bellydance is a dance for everybody and every body.
We have met too many women who perceive that bellydance is not for them because something is wrong with them. Some deficit. This feeling can be paralyzing, backing us into corners we feel trapped in. I think about all the times I have stopped myself from something new because I’m too _________. Really, just fill in the blank. Too awkward. Too uncoordinated. Too shy. Too fat. Too proud. Too poor. Too busy. And on and on.
What has gotten me out of the “I’m too…” corner is to really challenge myself and look inward. When I say I’m too awkward, what is behind that? Where is my block or fear coming from? For me, it has definitely been attached to how others view me. Before I took a chance on bellydance, I allowed myself to be consumed by the perceptions of others. Other voices directed me. My own voice was there, but barely audible to myself. Bellydance has helped me to connect, listen and be gentle with myself. By listening to myself, I have learned that I’m not too anything. My own voice is now at my center and guides me.
In our weekly group classes, there is no place for judgment or competition. We are building a supportive community of women. At the close of every class, we have a Your Body Raks “Soul Train Line” where women zaghareet and cheer each other on as they take their turn down the line. This is a space to allow yourself permission to try something new. Join us for bellydance ~ moving to an African beat, body justice ~ uniting women of every size and joy ~ embracing who you are. “I’m too awkward to bellydance” will be transformed to “I feel too awkward NOT to bellydance my way out of this corner.”
Keep up with us daily on Facebook, “like” our page, Your Body Raks!