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  • Writer's pictureMarybellydance

Bellydance and me

Updated: Feb 21, 2020

When hearing the word "bellydance" some imagine sparkles and glitter, some picture slow and hypnotizing oriental music and serpentine sensual moves, and for some it is fast percussion beats and Shakira-like body shaking. To me bellydance is actually a little bit of everything mentioned, plus years of hard work, every day practice and dedication to this unique art form. What brought me into bellydancing? At first it was music. Hearing those oriental beats made me want to dance. I took my first belly dance class when I was twelve years old. Starting this year, I can proudly say that I've been belly dancing most of my life. I have always been a passionate dance student. From going deeper into the history of this dance to learn the origins of this art, to studying the newest trends and the most popular hits, I have always been learning. I have been all around the world studying with the best belly dance teachers to advance and perfect my dance skills and knowledge. Recently this form of art has became more competitive. Belly dance competitions are a relatively new trend, but they have been quickly gaining popularity all around the world, bringing hundreds, or even thousands, of amazing dancers to compete in order to advance in this dance style and gain following and respect in the dance community, and even outside of it. Entering multiple belly dance competitions gave me an opportunity to present myself as a professional dancer. It also pushed me to work harder and inspired me to be a better dancer and a better version of myself. Besides that I met many amazing, like-minded dancers, who share the same passion. With some of them we formed collectives and frequently perform together.

Over the last ten years I lived in three different countries and I managed to bring my belly dance passion everywhere I went. For the last three years I have been fortunate enough to bring my art to hundreds of different events all around California. I've performed at hundreds of festivals, concerts, weddings, parties, and other events. My job is not only to put on a good show, but also to make the event that I'm performing at more fun, memorable and enjoyable. While I truly love to present the art of belly dance to my audience in a classy and joyful way, my ultimate goal is to make people happy by engaging them in my performance and embracing them with the majestic rhythms of oriental music. One of the reasons why I love bellydancing so much is how different this art can be. I've studied many different Egyptian and Middle Eastern folklore styles that I frequently incorporate in my shows. Some of my favourite styles are Saidi - a folkloric dance from Upper Egypt that's usually performed with a cane, Baladi - a traditional dance of the people of Egypt, Iraqi Kawliya - a dance coming from a gypsy group in Iraq, and Khaleeji - a dance of the Persian Gulf states and Saudi Arabia. I also love that bellydance is a very progressive art form and lets dancers incorporate different modern props in the shows. Besides the traditional belly dance props like veils, canes or finger cymbals (zills), you'll frequently see dancers using LED wings, fans, swords, fire props like fire poi balls or fire crowns and even live snakes. I use all of the props mentioned, but my favourite ones are candle trays, LED fan veils and my snake (however I consider her more of a dance partner rather than a prop). I have had many clients with very specific needs, requests or ideas of what they want to see in a show. I'm always happy to let them know that I customize every show and that I've always managed to create something special for every client. Every show that I do is not just about dancing. It is about the energy that I give and receive when I dance for people, and the special connection that we make through dance.

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