How many of you have watched another dancer perform and became inspired to dance and create something of your own? It’s a given we have all been inspired by one particular dance, musical or expression of the body. I think Ruth St. Denis was correct when she said we are always looking for our perfect dance. The one thing we can’t do especially with ourselves is to cheat ourselves out of this pursuit of bliss.
This morning I was thinking about how many experts we have in our field and how many different ways we have all become experts. The road to belly dance expert-dom is as diverse as there are stars in the sky. Some of us have travelled on uncharted barely there roads or treacherous mountains with inclines perilously dropping off into the vast unknown below. Well, okay maybe I am exaggerating a bit here but at times it did feel this way for me. Others were born into a family business while some became so captivated by the dance they immersed themselves into all aspects of its true meaning. No matter what your story is I think what we all have in common is the veneration of a dance form that is not as easy as it looks.
It occurred to me after editing one of my chapters in my book that with a mostly one gender dance form we tread lightly with each other. There can be a price to pay if we don’t remember that everyone has the right to express their interpretation of this dance. Not everyone is in this dance form for the same reasons and as I have found out through emails, most women just want to get in touch with their inner femininity. The experts have to remember that not all dancers create interpretations of what they understand in this dance form for professional aspirations. Yet even I will look at the motives of some dancers based on my own self appointed expert view. It’s only natural to do so but we have to look at the change of times and why women are dancing now ………it’s evident it is a changing into a quest to look within.
I have a motto that states, “Creativity is not defined but lived,” so again as I was looking back at my chapter I began to wonder what it is that makes us devalue other peoples creativity. My chapter deals with stealing choreography, themed ideas or not giving credit to specific teachers and dancers. But I have to say that within all of this there is a devaluing factor that comes into play in order for any of the above mentioned can take place. Remember as teachers we can’t say one thing and do another with students. I can’t teach in a way I don’t understand dance just as I can’t offer all I know about this dance within a month. If I did I would be devaluing this dance form because if I assumed the true purpose of any of my students than I would become more than a mentor but a manipulator. The rite of passage is unique and different for every dancer including her personal quest for enlightenment, education and life meaning.
I guess what I am getting at is that every woman dances in a way that not only represents her life but showcases how she understands creativity. So why then in this dance form are there specified and measured views on what a dancers understands, how she moves, based on an individual vague idea of another’s meaning? I don’t dance like anyone but myself so why would I put another dancer down who doesn’t dance like me or who hasn’t learned my way?
I was thinking back to the Buhz thing because I heard through the grapevine that the whole topic has taken on a life of it’s own and people are bickering amongst themselves now. How can anyone of us keep on learning in this dance field if we can’t learn our own way and create according to what pleases us? It’s a tough question because at any given time we all have opinions on what we feel is our cup of tea. Saying how we feel in a way that doesn’t diminish someone else’s right to dance is the hard part. We have all been on both sides of the fence. I have taken a few stances in regards to this dance based on my personal feelings for living it, learning it and teaching it.
The audience is always full of dancers and as a dancer who has sat observing performances, I have seen, heard, and witnessed opinions being given with as much diverse and intense feelings as possible. Creativity can fall flat with any opinion and expression that is opposite of the desired result. In reality we can’t assume that our creating is fine and react negatively to others expression. I don’t like modern art but I can respect it’s complexities. I have sold many modern paintings in my day along with the styles of painting I do like. The bottom line for me was that selling all types of paintings made me a great commission. I was in the world of art and I understood it’s inter- woven and intricate connection to all forms of creativity. So I ask you as dancers, how inter-woven are we with each other and our creativity? If we put down another’s creativity, do we put our own right to create down as well?