Mind & Body Wellness: Community Dancing

american tribal style belly dance portland oregon
tribal belly dancing

For about three years while I was living in Portland, Oregon, I felt a desire to shake my hips, so I took up tribal belly dancing. American Tribal Style Belly Dancing is different from what you might think of as traditional cabaret dancing in that it is performed as a group, and who leads, the sequence, and choice of moves are not decided in advanced. American Tribal Style Belly Dance uses improvisational choreography so you dance without knowing what is coming next. There is a vocabulary of moves from which the group draws, but you never know what the leader is going to do, so you have to pay careful attention to body language, gesture, and vocal cues. This dance helped me uncover the lost art form of communicating only through my body and not through words.

Belly dancing with a group of women was an incredible healing and learning experience for me. I've since moved on, but I still have the poetry and vocabulary of this dance in my body. Every time I have music on at home, I start to shake my hips and feel myself use belly dance to express words that are inexpressible.

Dancing and specifically dancing as a group brings together your mind, body, and spirit. Dancing your own groove at a bar or partnering as a couple for ballroom dancing are both fun and have their benefits, but they feel different than dancing as a community. Try to recall the feeling of dancing the Hokey Pokey as a group at weddings, and you'll have a sense what I'm talking about. It's joyful and by dancing as a group you learn to resonate with each other, pay closer attention to each other, and see each other more clearly.

Here are some ideas for learning to dance as a community:


  1. i see your beautiful smile! i admire you so much - and have missed being away... thank you for being so open about your path... you are a bringer of light -

  2. I have always thought it would be fun to try. My daughter just rolls her eyes when I 'attempt' to dance anything. I just recently bought a workout DVD that is a belly dancing focus. I have yet to crack it open yet, but I would love to do it with my daughter if she is game! It seems like such a freeing and supportive type of dance. Not to mention a great ab workout (do I need to find my abs before I work them out? That might be the scariest part!) Thank you for sharing this. It is now on my to-do list to test it out this next week! Enjoy the day! Erin


I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)