|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:
- Contra Dancing
- Square Dancing
- Irish Dancing
- American Tribal Style Belly Dance
- African Dance
- Hula Dancing