I have been studying belly dance for almost two decades, and I know it as a fascinating and empowering art form. I believe belly dance has always been at the cutting edge of female sensuality and expression. The dance studio is my home outside of the page.
For the average contemporary woman belly dance represents a paradox—a lot of them—about female identity and body image. Most people think belly dance equals titillation, but the movements you see—shimmies, undulations, sinuous arms—require serious training and practice. To dance to it well requires dedication to fully inhabiting your body as a form of artistic articulation.
After class or rehearsal, I feel the way I do after a thunderstorm on a hot day. The circulation inside my head calms. The wind and rain have pounded the earth, and possibility slants through the trees.
Read about my recovery from sexual assault and my relationship to belly dancing in my essay “Read My Hips,” The articlewas chosen for the 10,000 Takes column in the Star Tribune. Link to read the article.