Trowbridge celebrated its annual May Fayre event this weekend. The event took place in Wiltshire, England. May Fayre and Faerie Festivals are happening as the summer approaches in the states as well: Maryland had its own Faerie Festival this weekend, and Capetown South Africa was home to an international belly dance day celebration. And who could forget the Maryland and Pennsylvania Renaissance fairs?
With warm weather come all kinds of arts and music festivals, which make for popular belly dance venues.This is the kind of thing that I get really excited about during sweltering months of summer. Festivals are great for many reasons, of course. There are funnel cakes, arts and crafts, live music and time to spend with friends and family. But more importantly for me and you, there’s belly dancing!
Belly dancing began as a social type of folk dance, so venues like this are great for belly dancers at any level. You get more performance experience and you become exposed to other dancers and the festival atmosphere. You can also use this opportunity to network: meet other dancers and instructors in the area and strike up a conversation! To really immerse yourself in the belly dance community, you need to realize that’s what it is – a community. Not only does getting to know other dancers help you learn from them, it makes you new friends. You can make plans to collaborate or just hang out. The possibilities are endless!
This aspect of community is one of the most wonderful things about belly dance. There’s a deep sense of sisterhood among dancers, and a sense of respect for the art form. Just from these articles you can see how incredibly widespread belly dance has become: from England to South Africa to the United States, belly dance inspires people from all over the world. For whatever reason you choose to dance, be it for entertainment, personal enjoyment or performance, this dance connects people. Whatever name you call it: danse du ventre, raqs sharqi, oriental dance, middle eastern dance – it’s a community.
Belly dancing is also a way of practicing mindfulness, or being aware of the present moment, without negative thoughts or judgments clouding our minds. To quote Hans Bos: “When I dance, I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole, that is why I dance.”
You aren’t just making movements with your body, you’re dancing as a part of something much bigger and much older than yourself.